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  • Department of Communication

Alumni News

Professor Hepeng Jia Ph.D. ’19 was ranked as a provincial key talent in China. This marks the first time a faculty member of the School of Communication, Soochow University (Suzhou, Jiangsu Province), received this honor. This recognition highlights Dr. Jia’s outstanding achievements in science communication and his significant contributions to popularizing science in China. Hepeng has been dedicated to researching China’s science controversies, most notably studying why different science controversies—genetically modified crops, hydropower resistance, and nuclear power debates—have evolved to quite different patterns despite the similar public outcries in authoritarian China.


Hepeng is pictured center (wearing a tie) with his science & technology communication research team. Faculty team members come from Tsinghua University, University Of Sheffield, KU Leuven in Belgium, and other leading universities. The remarkable building behind and to the left is Soochow University’s library.


Associate Professor Andrea Stevenson Won et al received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The grant sponsors the project “Virtual Reality at the Point of Care to Increase Uptake of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder in the Emergency Department,” on which Andrea serves as Co-PI and advisor. The objective of this project is to develop and test VR-Choice, an immersive virtual reality experience designed to motivate eligible patients to agree to treatment with buprenorphine in the emergency department.


Research Associate Dominic Balog-Way was elected the inaugural Chair of the Board for the Society for Risk Analysis’s Strategic Endowment Fund. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Society’s strategic investment portfolio (‘The Fund’), proactively identifying new strategic initiatives that seek to advance the Society’s mission, and using investment income to fund those initiatives. As Chair, Dominic is responsible for ensuring the continued functioning and operations of the Board and Fund and pursuing a strategic vision for funding high-quality initiatives.

In the Media

Graduate student Ria Gualano was interviewed by the Voices of VR podcast at the XR Access Symposium poster session. Ria’s segment starts at 7:23. Following her poster session, Ria led a breakout session on inclusive avatars