Graduate Research Award

 This award is given every year by the faculty of the Department of Communication to a deserving graduate student (Ph.D. or M.A. student) for excellence in academic research. Students may be recognized for published academic research, which they conducted on their own or as a member of a team, for research presented at major academic conferences (e.g., NCA, AEJMC, IAMCR, ICA, AoIR), for scholarships, fellowships and/or grants received, or for any other significant scholarly accomplishments. (Note: Graduate students cannot win the award twice for the same research work.)

The student selected will be:

  • Given a financial award that might be used toward costs associated with participating in an academic conference (e.g., registration, travel) or other research-related expenses (e.g., data collection, transcription);
  • Presented with a special certificate of recognition by the Department;
  • Profiled on the Department’s website.

Nominations are submitted to the designated departmental committee by graduate students’ academic adviser. The deadline for submitting the required material is usually early March. Advisers should submit: (a) a brief cover letter (1-2 double-spaced pages) explaining why the nominee deserves the award, and (b) a copy of the student’s current curriculum vitae.

The criteria for judging the nominees include coherence of research; publications and presentations (quality, quantity and impact/prominence of journals/conferences); and independence in research (selection of topics and conducting research).

The award committee will meet and review all nominations, and subsequently make a recommendation to the faculty. Presentation of the award is usually made at the Proseminar meeting before the end of the spring semester. This student’s name appears is the university-wide commencement bulletin.

2019 winner

Zhuozhi Shao

Zhuozhi Shao is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Graduate Student Communication Research Award. Ms. Shao was selected for showing a promising research trajectory. She has or soon will have presented at 4 different conferences within a time span of about 1.25 years. Her recent scholarly work includes a full paper presented at the Eastern Communication Association, a paper presented in a poster session at the International Communication Association in 2018 and another full paper presentation upcoming at the ICA 2019 convention, and a poster presentation at the 10th Annual International Conference on Social Media & Society.

Previous winners

2018: Xin Zhou and Bryanna Hebenstreit

Xin Zhou and Bryanna Hebenstreight are co-winners of this year's award.

Ms. Zhou's recent scholarly work includes a papers presented at the 2017 NCA Conference and the 2017 annual meeting of the American Public Health Association; for both, she is first author. In addition, she once again has a paper accepted for presentation at the 2018 ICA conference. She has a paper published (in Press) in the Journal of Health Communication; again, as first author. Last, she has a co-authored publication in the proceedings of the 23rd Americas Conference on information Systems.

In the last year, Ms. Hebenstreit has presented or had accepted for presentation, three papers; two are single authored and on the other, she is the first author. The venues include International Pragmatics Association Conference (2017) and the International Association for Communication and Sport Conference (2018). She also has secured three book chapters which are in preparation; significantly, two of these are invited chapters. Last, she has also had been invited to give a talk on her research at TELUQ University & University of Montreal.

2017: Xin Zhou and Chendan Cui-Laughton

Xin Zhou and Chendan Cui-Laughton were co-recipients of the 2016-2017 Graduate Student in Communication Research Award. They were selected for showing a promising independent and collaborative research trajectory.

Ms. Zhou’s recent scholarly work includes a paper accepted for presentation at the 2017 ICA Conference on “The influence of health-related psychographic factors and social media activity on exercise maintenance and well-being.” She has a paper under review by the Journal of Health Communication.

Ms. Cui-Laughton’s recent scholarly work includes a paper, “Fighting chaos and noise: How organizational creativity requires less talk and more bodily practices,” presented at this year’s NCA and another one accepted for presentation at the 2017 ICA Conference on “How the Body Participates in the Communicative Constitution of Organizations.”

2016: Jamie Campbell

Jamie Campbell has been awarded the 2015-2016 research award. Ms. Campbell was selected for showing a promising independent and collaborative research trajectory. Her recent scholarly work includes a paper presented at the 2015 NCA Conference that examined the impact of gender cues on evaluations of political candidates and public policy proposals.

2015: Crystal Brandow

Crystal Brandow’s many achievements to be proud of, including her participation as a research assistant on an NIH-funded project, Overcoming Barriers to African American Women's Reproductive Healthcare Seeking, and a FRAP supported research project, Reproductive Healthcare Disparities as a Function of How Women Communicate in Small Ethnically Diverse Communities. As a participant in the FRAP funded project, she played an essential role in participant recruitment, data collection, as well as the process of analyzing data. Ms. Brandow has also led our efforts to present initial findings of this work.

She was the lead presenter at the D.C. Health Communication Conference, a specialized and well-regarded academic meeting that takes place every two years, and the lead author on the related paper. Additionally, she presented a revision of her master’s thesis at an academic conference sponsored by UMASS-Amherst and is preparing these revisions for publication. Ms. Brandow has demonstrated a strong commitment to quality research, and engaged academic participation that can serve as a model for our Ph.D. students.

2014: Muriel Scott

Muriel Scott received the Department of Communication’s 2014 Graduate Research Award for several reasons. Muriel, who successfully defended her dissertation earlier this year, has several achievements to be proud of, including two publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, a third manuscript under publication consideration, and several presentations at academic conferences, such as those of the International Communication Association (ICA), the National Communication Association (NCA), and the Eastern Communication Association (ECA).

While at UAlbany, Ms. Scott also worked as the lead research assistant on an NIH supported project. Muriel has served as a great example to her fellow Ph.D. students in our department throughout the time she has been in our program and is a deserving recipient of this award.