Faculty

Ph.D., Mass Communications, Penn State
M.A., Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S., Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Lee Ahern, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has nearly 20 years of experience as a marketing manager and a financial writer in New York and in various communications capacities on Wall Street. Ahern directs the science communication program; he also developed and coordinates the Digital Media Trends and Analytics minor. He serves as a senior research fellow at the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication. Ahern co-edited the book Talking Green: Exploring Contemporary Issues in Environmental Communications. He teaches digital metrics, advertising, and research methods.

Ph.D., Mass Communications, Penn State
M.S., Communication Studies, Shippensburg University
B.A., Communications/Journalism, Shippensburg University

Dr. Michelle Baker, assistant teaching professor of advertising and public relations, worked as a journalist, freelance writer, and assistant editor of Bucknell University’s alumni magazine. She serves as the director of online programs in strategic communications. Her research focuses on vaccine hesitancy and refusal as well as the effect of inoculating messages on decision-making, specifically within health and religious contexts. Baker also explores the effects of communication messages designed to reduce stigma associated with health conditions and treatments. She teaches courses in strategic communications.

Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of Florida
M.Ed., Educational Psychology, University of Florida
M.A., Mass Communication, University of Florida
B.A., Writing, Geneva College

Dr. Denise Bortree, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of advertising and public relations, worked for more than 10 years as a communications manager, public relations manager, and marketing manager. She directs the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Relations Research and the Journal of Public Interest Communications. Bortree has co-edited two books: Talking Green: Exploring Contemporary Issues in Environmental Communications and Ethical Practice of Social Media in Public Relations. She teaches public relations, research methods, and ethics.

Ph.D., Communications, University of Florida
M.A., Mass Communications, University of Florida
B.A., History, Georgetown University

Dr. Colleen Connolly-Ahern, associate professor of advertising and public relations, worked as the promotion manager for USA Today and as the managing editor for the magazine Marine Log before starting her own marketing communications firm, Abbey Lane Marketing, which served clients in the banking, publishing, and education business areas. A scholar of international communications, Connolly-Ahern is an expert in the area of applied communications research, with a focus on refugees and communication. She served as the co-editor of American Behavioral Scientist Special Issue: Refugee Communications in the Digital Age. Connolly-Ahern also has expertise in science communication and conducts grant-funded research in the area of nutrition. She teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level research methods courses as well as international and intercultural strategic communications.

Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of South Carolina
M.A., Mass Communication, University of Florida
B.S., Telecommunication, University of Florida

Dr. Frank Dardis, associate professor of advertising and public relations, worked in advertising and marketing communications for several large corporations, including an Anheuser-Busch subsidiary, a golf course/community developer, and a professional baseball team. Dardis’ research explores the psychological and persuasive effects that informational messages have on individuals, primarily within the sociopolitical and marketing/consumer-related contexts. A faculty affiliate of Penn State’s Media Effects Research Laboratory, Dardis teaches courses in advertising, research methods, and strategic communications.

Ph.D., Journalism, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
M.S., Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S., Journalism, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Dr. Ann Major, associate professor of advertising and public relations, worked as a promotions coordinator and a vice president of public relations and corporate communication. She is an accredited member (APR) of the Public Relations Society of America and has served in national leadership positions. Her research focuses on the intersection of public opinion, news discourse, and emergency response. Major is co-author of the book Good-Bye Gweilo: Public Opinion and the 1997 Problem in Hong Kong. She teaches public relations, advertising, strategic communication, and risk communication.

Ph.D. (ABD), Arizona State University
M.S., Mass Communication, Arizona State University
B.A., Journalism, Central Michigan University

Renea Nichols, assistant teaching professor of advertising and public relations, has held public relations positions with the City of Phoenix, U-Haul International, Arizona Special Olympics, and the ASU Alumni Association. She has served as a public relations consultant to the National Kidney Foundation and the Maricopa Association of Governments. Nichols has also worked as a reporter for daily newspapers in Michigan, Maryland, and Ohio. She is the author of four books on interracial dating and multiracial populations and has appeared in national news media discussing the subjects. Nichols teaches courses in public relations, gender and diversity, and strategic communications.

Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A., Journalism, University of Montana
B.A., English, East China Normal University

Dr. Fuyuan Shen, professor of advertising and public relations, is head of the department of advertising and public relations in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. An affiliate faculty of Penn State’s Media Effects Research Lab, Shen explores the effects of messages on individuals’ information processing and attitudes related to health communication, political communication, and risk perceptions. Shen has taught as a visiting professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He teaches courses in advertising and strategic communications.

Ph.D., Mass Communication, Indiana University
M.A., Mass Communication, University of Florida
B.S., Telecommunication, University of Florida

Dr. Matthew Jackson, associate professor of telecommunications, has worked in both commercial and public radio, where he earned regional awards from the Associated Press for his radio features. His articles on internet copyright have been included as recommended reading at Harvard Law School and Catholic University, and his expert commentary has appeared in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian. He researches the impact of copyright on free speech and teaches courses in telecommunications policy, media programming, and strategic communications law.

Ph.D., Journalism and Public Communication, University of Maryland
M.A., Broadcast Journalism, University of Missouri
B.J., English Reporting and Editing, China School of Journalism
B.A., English Literature, Sichuan International Studies University

Dr. Bu Zhong, associate professor of journalism, is a faculty affiliate at the Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques, Media Effects Research Lab, and the Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) Consortium. He is a senior research fellow of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. His research applies decision-making theories to how judgments and decisions may be altered by information processing and the use of media technology. His research projects have practical implications, such as how social media use may enhance health care quality and well-being. He teaches social media communications.