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2018 CCSE Research Conference

Conference Panelists

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Matthew L. Bergbower

Indiana State University
Panel 2: Congress, the Judiciary, and Immigration

Dr. Matthew L. Bergbower (Ph.D., Southern Illinois University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana State University. Prior to that, he served a year-long fellowship in the Illinois Governor’s Office. Dr. Bergbower teaches courses in American politics and has published a variety of articles and book chapters on state politics, campaigns, and voting behavior. Dr. Bergbower’s most recent work on politics is called A Profile of the American Electorage: Partisan Behavior and the Need for Reform (Routledge).


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Ray Block, Jr.

University of Kentucky
Panel 1: Rhetoric and Congressional Elections

Ray Block Jr. is an Associate Professor of Political Science and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. He specializes in the areas of racial and ethnic group politics, political behavior, and public opinion. Dr. Block’s current research explores how members of non-dominant demographic groups translate their psychological attachment to politics into political actions.


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Heather Cann

Purdue University
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Heather Cann is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University. Her work explores how different political actors strategically communicate about contentious political issues, like climate change, and investigates the influence of these framing strategies in on-the-ground policy conflicts.


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Christina Haynes

University of Kentucky
Panel 1: Rhetoric and Congressional Elections

Christina Haynes is an Assistant Professor who earned a PhD from Ohio State University in Human Ecology and Education. She is currently a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky while on leave from her position at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.  Dr. Haynes examines the intersections of race, gender, and exemplary status among African American women. Her primary research focuses on narratives of academically successful African American women attending predominately White institutions (PWIs). Also, Professor Haynes does research on Michelle Obama and how she is perceived in the media as the first African American first lady.


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Jennifer Hoewe

Purdue University
Panel 2: Congress, the Judiciary, and Immigration

Jennifer Hoewe (Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University) is an Assistant Professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. She studies media psychology and political communication. More specifically, she researches the media’s ability to create and perpetuate stereotypes and in-group, out-group relationships, while also considering the influence of political orientations on media creation and consumption. Her research has been published in Media Psychology, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, the American Behavioral Scientist, and the Journal of Social Issues, among others.


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Janel Jett

Purdue University
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Janel Jett is a graduate student in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University. Her major field is American politics and her main research interests are political communication, political psychology, and public opinion. More specifically, her research focuses on understanding how nontraditional media sources serve as sources of political information and how those sources shape policy attitudes.​


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Alexandra Johnson

University of Arkansas
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Alexandra Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science and is pursuing her Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Arkansas. Her research interests include political communication and campaigns. Ms. Johnson has conducted research analyzing individuals’ reactionary beliefs after the 2016 United States Presidential Election and was a research assistant in the University of Arkansas Psychology Department. Her current research involves the study of political discourse in press conferences and journalistic questioning techniques. ​


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Farah Latif

George Mason University
Panel 1: Rhetoric and Congressional Elections

Farah Latif is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. She also serves on the faculty at the Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Her current research focuses on health communication in diaspora communities and issues of reputation management and its counteragent, character assassination. Her past research has focused on international public relations and the U.S. public diplomacy, particularly the role it plays in countering violent extremism. She has held strategic communication positions in corporate and nonprofit organizations. ​


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Stephen Llano

St. John’s University
Panel 1: Rhetoric and Congressional Elections

Stephen Llano holds a Master’s degree in Rhetoric from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh. He is the founder and former director of the St. John’s University Debate Society. His work on debating has appeared in Contemporary Argumentation and Debate and Argumentation and Advocacy as well as The Palgrave Handbook on Critical Thinking in Higher Education. He has twice won the National Communication Association award for Top Paper in the Argumentation and Forensics Division at their annual conference. He is co-editor of the book Adjudication from IDEA Press. He has served as a member of the NCA’s Committee for International Debate and Discussion helping to plan the British Debate tour of the United States. He has assisted in the coordination of international debate tours of the United States from Slovenia, Australia, and Ireland. He has taught rhetoric and argumentation to diverse audiences in Slovenia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Hungary, and Ukraine. He studies the pedagogy of argumentation and debate, Buddhism and rhetoric, Burkean rhetorical theory, and the history of intercollegiate debate. He hosts a podcast on international debate “In the Bin” available on iTunes and keeps a blog about the pedagogy of debate and rhetoric, both available through his website, sophist.nyc


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Amber Lusvardi

Purdue University
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Amber Lusvardi is a second year PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University with concentrations in American politics, public policy, and communication. Her main research interests are in political communication and women and politics. She is also a research assistant for Dr. Laurel Weldon on a project funded by the American Jewish World Service and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Lusvardi holds a Master of Arts degree in political science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. She was an instructor of political science at Eastern Illinois University and Millikin University.​


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Nichole A. Russell

University of Arkansas
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Nichole A. Russell holds a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Arkansas. Her research interests include political communication, media studies, and conversation analysis. Ms. Russell’s work on journalistic questioning and political equivocation has appeared in The Washington Post and The Conversation. Her current research looks to dissect the pressures of aggressive journalistic questioning on political leader responses in press conferences.


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Carly Schmitt

Indiana State University
Panel 2: Congress, the Judiciary, and Immigration

Dr. Carly Schmitt (Ph.D. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana State University. She teaches courses in American Politics. Dr. Schmitt’s research interests focus on congressional legislative behavior, congressional campaigns, and representation. Her current projects explore the election-legislative behavior linkage in congressional primaries and the divergent policy priorities within the Republican Party. ​​


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Joseph Sery

Christopher Newport University
Panel 2: Congress, the Judiciary, and Immigration

Dr. Joseph Sery (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh 2015) is an Assistant Professor at Christopher Newport University. His primary area of research examines the intersection of rhetoric, political theory, and jurisprudence and how they interact within the public sphere. Other areas of scholarship include the rhetoric of medicine and the relationship between rhetoric and philosophy in the American intellectual tradition. Dr. Sery also serves as the Course Director for Argumentation and teaches in the Honors program. His scholarship has appeared in Communication Law Review, Secrecy & Society, and various edited volumes. At Christopher Newport University, Dr. Sery teaches courses in Argumentation, Rhetorical Theory, First Amendment, Social Movements, Philosophy & Communication, and the Rhetoric of Medicine. ​


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Patrick A. Stewart

University of Arkansas
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Patrick A. Stewart (PhD, Northern Illinois University) is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. In addition to his book Debatable Humor: Laughing Matters on the 2008 Presidential Primary Campaign (2012), he has published research concerning emotion and nonverbal communication in the journals American Behavioral Scientist, PLoS-ONE, Political Psychology, Motivation and Emotion, International Journal of Humor Research, PS – Political Science & Politics, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Frontiers in Psychology. He has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Conversation while contributing insights regarding non-verbal behavior by politicians to such press outlets as Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Wired, Vocativ, Vox, The National Review, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, amongst others. He is a certified Facial Action Coding System (FACS) coder who concentrates on the emotional response of followers to leaders. He currently is researching audience applause, laughter, and booing in response to candidate comments and how individuals respond to micro-expressions and other types of nonverbal behavior by politicians.


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Terri Towner

Oakland University
Panel 3: President Trump’s Rhetoric and Congressional Tweets

Terri L. Towner is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Oakland University in Michigan. Her research focuses mainly on the role of social media in campaigns and elections, with a particular focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She co-edited the book The Internet and the 2016 Presidential Campaign (Lexington Books, 2017). Her research has also been published in several book chapters, most recently in: The Presidency and Social Media: Discourse, Disruption, and Digital Democracy in the 2016 Presidential Election and Communication and Mid-Term Elections: Media, Message, and Mobilization. She has also published in numerous journals including The Social Science Computer Review, The Journal of Political Marketing, The Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, New Media & Society, and The Journal of Political Science Education. ​

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