The understanding of physicians’ discrimination experiences, consumer interactions with chatbots, and the story of the first professional female broadcaster are just three of the nine School of Communication awards granted by the Research, Creative Support and Services Committee. These awards go into effect June 1, 2019. 

What a doctor looks like? Physician experience of workplace discrimination and employee-organization relationship management is the title of the project by Queenie Jo-Yun Li from the Department of Strategic Communication.  This study proposes to understand physicians’ discrimination experiences and coping strategies in relation to a healthcare organization’s employee-organization relationship efforts, physicians’ work performance, and organizational commitment.  Yeunjae Lee, will be the co-PI on this project, and is in Strategic Communication, too. 

Wanhsiu Sunny Tsai, also from the Department of Strategic Communication, will be submitting the findings of her study, “Cross-Cultural Comparison of Consumer Interactions with Chatbots for Consumer-Brand Engagement,” to the 2020 European Academy of Advertising (ICORIA) conference.  This study will conduct a comparison focusing on consumers in China and the United States to systematically evaluate how chatbots may enhance brand outcomes.

Jane The First is the title of the project by Margaret Cardillo Fronefield from the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media, that tells the true story of Jane Chastain, the first professional female broadcaster ever to grace the television screens of sports fans across the country. Fronefield’s goal is to write and produce a narrative feature film based on Chastain’s life. When notified of her award, Fronefield exclaimed, “Wow! I am thrilled! This is such great news.” 

Kim Grinfeder, from Cinema and Interactive Media, expects to produce portable, physical installations to be exhibited in conferences, museums, and galleries that will demonstrate some of the possibilities for interaction with volumetric images and video in his project, Tangible Interfaces for Interactions with Volumetric Photography & Video. Zevensuy Rodriguez, also from Cinema and Interactive Media, will be working with Grinfeder on this project as Co-PI.

Christina Lane, the chair of the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media, will be using her funding to design a prototype for a game based on her forthcoming biography of studio-era Hollywood producer and screenwriter Joan Harrison in her project, Phantom Lady:  Journeys Through a Hollywood Career. “It will allow players to uncover the dramatic details of a fascinating female figure as they explore various layers of the Hollywood studio system” says Lane. 

Weiting Tao, from Strategic Communication, was awarded for her project, The Role of Narratives in Overcoming CSR (Corporate social responsibility) Skepticism. In light of the negative consequences of consumer skepticism, this study proposes to test whether, when, and how narrative CSR communication can serve as an effective strategy to overcome consumer skepticism. Results of this research will contribute to theory building in CSR communication and enlighten CSR practices. 

Taking a Stance: Toward an Understanding of CEO Activism on Controversial Sociopolitical Issues and Public Advocacy is the title of the project awarded to Yeunjae Lee from Strategic Communication. This research will examine the antecedents, processes, and outcomes of CEO activism on public advocacy to build a comprehensive knowledge on CEO activism and enlighten its best practices.  Weiting Tao will be Lee’s co-PI. 

Howard McCain from Cinema and Interactive Media, will be hiring six-time Emmy Award-winning Joe Bauer(Game of Thrones) and LoLa VFX of Los Angeles to create the visual effects of McCain’s film, Scarecrow, which is in the final stages of the editing process. Scarecrow is a short, dramatic horror film that explores the disturbing friendship between a troubled young girl and an ancient, old-world scarecrow. 

Thomas Musca, from Cinema and Interactive Media,will be using his funds for the last stages of post-production of his feature film, Chateau Vato. This comedy starring Paul Rodriguez, is the story of a working-class family who move into a mansion after discovering the owner’s death and was produced entirely in Miami.

For more about the School of Communication Creative Activity and Research awards visit