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Graduate Research

Graduate students

COMM graduate students develop and conduct independent research projects presenting their work at national and international conferences as well as publishing their work in leading communication and interdisciplinary journals.  The department provides both travel grants and research enhancement grants to support graduate student research.  A list of recent doctoral dissertations from 2015-2021 is provided below.


  • Chante Anderson, “Feared and Desired: A Rhetorical Analysis of Media Representations of the Black Male Athlete.” Advisor: Kristan Poirot.
  • Adam Bajan, “The Technique of Religious Persuasion: Digital Media, Evangelicals, and Liturgical Design.” Advisor: Nathan Crick.
  • Rebecca Costantini, “The Constitution of Reproductive Health: Understanding the Communicative Tensions of Space, Identity, and Organizing.” Advisor: Anna Wolfe.
  • Kate Siegfried, “Rhetorics of Exile: Black Proletarian Cartographies During the Cold War Era.” Advisor: Kristan Poirot.
  • Elina Tachkova, “Parameters of Scansis: Exploring the Interconnectedness of Crisis and Scandals.” Advisor: Timothy Coombs.
  • Asha Winfield, “‘Say Her Name, Tell Her Story”: Exploring Black Collective Memory, Nostalgic Narratives & Critical Representations in Black Women’s Biopics.” Advisor: Srivi Ramasubramanian.
  • Qiwei Luna Wu, “Improving College Students’ Mental Help-Seeking: From Cross-Sectional Evidence to a Longitudinal Intervention.” Advisor: Richard L. Street, Jr.


  • James Cho, “Those Asian American Woke Kids: Asian American Hashtag Activism, Identity, and Interracial Solidarity.” Advisor: Srivi Ramasubramanian.
  • The Militarization of Women’s Reproductive Bodies.” Advisor: Tasha Dubriwny.
  • Yikai Zhao, “What Deep Learning Could Bring to Frame Analysis.” Advisor: Kirby Goidel.


  • Grace Brannon, “Privacy Management in the Family and the Workplace: Understanding Information Management Processes of People with Diabetes.”  Advisor:  Richard L. Street, Jr.
  • Gemme Campbell, “The Diagnosis is Just the Tip of the Iceberg’: Family Storytelling about Hereditary Cancer.”  Advisor:  Emily Rauscher.
  • Feifei Chen, “Understanding Paracrisis Communication: Towards Developing a Framework of Paracrisis Typology and Organizational Response Strategies.” Advisor: Sherry Holladay.
  • Elizabeth Earle, “‘With Weapons of Burning Words”: The Rhetoric of Miguel de Unamuno’s Newspaper Writings.” Advisor: Nathan Crick.
  • Caitlin Miles, “Living and Performing Journalism in Turkey: Community, Affect, and Hegemony.” Advisor: Cara Wallis.
  • Alexandra Schuur Sousa, “This is My Texas A&M:’The Interplay of Institutional and Individual ‘Narratives of Difference’ in Higher Education.” Advisors:  Kevin Barge & Anna Wolfe.


  • Robin Bedenbaugh, “Slouching Towards Alexandria: A Critical Analysis of the Scholarly Communication System.”  Advisor:  Patrick Burkart.
  • Marco Erhl, “The Rhetorical Crisis of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Forgotten Narratives and Political Directions.”  Advisor:  Nathan Crick.
  • Jennifer Freytag, “Three Studies of the Communication Ecology of Advance Care Planning.” Advisor:  Richard L. Street, Jr.
  • Ivan Gan, “Career Construction and Narratives in the Nursing Profession: Nurse Managers and Registered Nurses on Alternative Work Arrangements.”  Advisors:  Kevin Barge & Richard L. Street, Jr.
  • Jessica Gantt, “Unaffordable Rights: Neoliberalism, Reproductive Justice, and Technology and Media Activism in Texas.”  Advisor:  Cara Wallis.
  • Katharine Hodgdon, “Why Good Games Go Bad: Exploring Consumer Engagement in Video Game Communities.”  Advisor:  Sherry Holladay.
  • Adam Key, “In the First Degree: A Study of Effective Discourse in Postsecondary Prison Education.”  Advisor:  Matthew May.
  • David Munson, “Margaret Fuller and the Rhetoric of Transcendental Nationalism.” Advisor:  Nathan Crick.
  • Ryan Rigda,”Rhetoric, Sport, and Queer/Theory: Gender and Athleticism in Queer Sports.” Advisor:  Tasha Dubriwny.
  • Kellie Smith, “The Communicative Ecology of Caregiver Burden and the Moderating Effects of Emotional Intelligence.” Advisor:  Richard L. Street, Jr.
  • Rachel Whitten, “A Call for Revival: From Discourse of Renewal to Crisis Revival, A Crisis Management Approach for Brand Communities.” Advisor:  Timothy Coombs.


  • Wendi Bellar, “iPray: Understanding the Relationship Between Design and Use in Catholic and Islamic Mobile Prayer Applications.”  Advisor:  Heidi Campbell.
  • Hongliang Chen, “Third Person Effect and Internet Privacy Risks.” Advisor:  Kirby Goidel.
  • Travis Cox, “(Re)Conceptualizing Neoliberal Health Discourses as Constitutive Relationships.” Advisor:  Kristan Poirot.
  • Nina French, “Contemporary Representation of Race: Mediating the New(s) Politics of Blackness in the Obama Moment.”  Advisor:  Antonio LaPastina.
  • Robert Hinck, “Towards Cooperation: An Organizational Rhetorical Analysis of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.”  Advisor:  Randy Kluver.
  • Shaohai Jiang, “Promoting Online Patient-Provider Communication in China: An Internet-based Intervention.”  Advisor:  Richard L. Street, Jr.
  • Sara Kitsch, “Lady Citizen: Gender, Memory and Civic Identity.” Advisor:  Kristan Poirot.
  • Aya Yadlin-Segal, “Online Homelands: Israeli-Persian Identity Between the Online and the Offline.”  Advisor:  Antonio LaPastina.
  • Jonathan Shipley, “Becoming ‘Community Engaged’: Engaged Scholarship, the Carnegie Foundation, and Tenure and Promotion at R1 Universities.”  Advisor:  Charles Conrad.
  • Andrea Terry, “The Rhetoric of Political Time: Tracing the Neoliberal Regime’s Ascent.”  Advisor:  Jennifer Mercieca.
  • Ruth Tsuria, “New Media in the Jewish Bedroom: Exploring Religious Jewish Online Discourse Concerning Gender and Sexuality.”  Advisor:  Heidi Campbell.


  • Brian Altenhofen, “Sharing’ the Catholic Faith: How Priests Establish/Maintain Religious Authority on Facebook.”  Advisor:  Heidi Campbell.
  • Brady Creel, “Rhetoric of Heroic Loyalty: Portrayals of Scottish Jacobites as Rebels, Reprobates and Romantics.” Advisor:  Jennifer Mercieca.
  • Eleni Gesch-Karamanlidis, “Examining Difficult Conversations in Environmental Conflicts.” Advisor:  Kevin Barge.
  • Ariadne, Gonzalez, “El Trabajo Duro: Mexican Immigrant and Transnational Domestic Workers Negotiating Work, Identity, and the Texas Border.”  Advisor: Kevin Barge.
  • Paul Sommer, “The Communicative Accomplishment of Knowledge Work in the Construction Industry.” Advisor:  Joshua Barbour.
  • Jordan Ziemer, “Entrepreneurs of the Church World”: Investigating Intersections between Enterprise Discourse and the Occupational Identity of Church Planters.” Advisor:  Rebecca Gill.


  • Christopher Cudahy, “Health Care Policy Making in Canada as Rhetorical Transcendence 1944-2014.” Advisor:  Charles Conrad.
  • Jacquelyn Chinn, “Communication Power in Israeli Digital Diplomacy: Towards a Networked Theory of Geopolitics.”  Advisor:  Randy Kluver.
  • Misti Carter, “Physicians and Medical Malpractice: Why do Doctors have Unwarranted Fears?’  Advisor:  Charles Conrad.
  • Brittany Collins, “Framing Difference and Leadership: An Analysis Of The Framing Processes of Emerging And Practicing Leaders.”  Advisor:  Kevin Barge
  • Kevin Cosgriff-Hernandez, “Opening that Trail in Their Mind”: Communicative Practice of Trailblazing.”  Advisor:  Charles Conrad.
  • Eleanor Lockhart, “Nerd/Geek Masculinity: Technocracy, Rationality, and Gender in Nerd Culture’s Countermasculine Hegemony.”  Advisor:  Kristan Poirot.
  • Gregory Ormes, “Anything but Trivial: Trans-contextual Identification and Control among Participants in the World’s Largest Trivia Contest.”  Advisor:  Rebecca Gill.
  • Catherine Riley, “The Rhetoric of Homiletics: Preaching, Persuasion, and the Cappadocian Fathers.”  Advisor:  Charles Conrad.