The School of Communication Creative Activity and Research Awards are awarded annually to projects led by full time School of Communication faculty. The funding supports work that will result in clear and prominent creative and/or scholarly accomplishments that support the enhanced reputation of the school.


Ali Habashi, Department of Cinematic Arts
“Correspondence”, A Cross-Cultural Experience, Co-Producing a Narrative Pilot TV Show between University of Miami and Fudan University (China)

Regina Ahn, Department of Strategic Communication
Assessing the Effectiveness of a Cartoon Network Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign Targeting Tweens

Sallie Hughes, Department of Journalism and Media Management
Pandemic, Precarity and Resiliency: COVID-19 and the Survival of Public-Interest Journalism in Mexico

Yeunjae Lee, Department of Strategic Communication
Promoting COVID-19 Vaccine in the Workplace: An Exploration of Strategic Organizational Communication Management

Zevensuy Rodriguez, Department of Interactive Media
Paddling through Mangroves: An Immersive VR Experience


Weiting Tao, Yeunjae Lee, and Jo-Yun Queenie Li, Department of Strategic Communication
Working From Home During COVID-19: How Can Organizations Help Female Employees Manage Disrupted Work-Nonwork Boundaries and Maintain Well-Being

Wan-Hsiu “Sunny” Tasi, Weiting Tao, and Ching-Hua Chuan, Departments of Strategic Communication and Interactive Media
The Effects of Social Exclusion on Consumer-Chatbot Interactions

Nicholas Carcioppolo, Department of Communication Studies
How Sarcasm and Dark Personality Traits Limit Discourse while Galvanizing Beliefs in Misinformation and Increasing its Propagation

Tom Musca, Department of Cinematic Arts
Dying To Direct


Margaret Cardillo, Department of Cinematic Arts
Strangers to Peace. Post-production support for a feature documentary that intimately captures the stories of ex-FARC guerrillas Ricardo, Dayana, and Alexandra, as they take their first steps toward returning to a society that views them as terrorists.

Jyotika Ramaprasad, Department of Journalism and Media Management
Indian Journalists’ Views in a Time of Uncertainty: Risks, Threats, and Consequences. This study of Indian journalists is part of a 110+ country, open source project, the Worlds of Journalism Study (WJS), with scheduled data collection between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022. Within WJS, India occupies a major position as the largest world democracy with a free expression constitutional clause. Despite this promise, today Indian journalists face several threats including attacks on journalistic epistemologies and physical/emotional harm, the latter growing under a conservative government implementing a fundamentalist ideology. The India project will collect and analyze data on threats and develop a localized theoretical understanding of how Indian journalists negotiate them.

William Rothman, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
The Holiday in His Eye. The Holiday in His Eye is a book about Stanley Cavell, the only major American philosopher who made the subject of film a central part of his work. Although appreciation of the singular value of his work is far more widespread than it was through most of his career, within the field of film studies the usefulness of philosophy as he practiced it remains widely unrecognized. The goal of this book is to make Cavell’s thought accessible to readers unfamiliar with his writings and, for readers to whom his work is already important, offer a deeper understanding of Cavell’s vision of film and philosophy.

Sunny Tsai, Nicholas Carcioppolo, and Ching-Hua Chuan, Departments of Strategic Communication, Communication Studies, and Cinema and Interactive Media
Chatbot Confidantes? The Effectiveness of Chatbot for Communicating Sensitive and Potentially Stigmatized Health Issues. The proposed study will evaluate the effectiveness of chatbots for communicating sensitive and potentially stigmatized health issues such as sexually transmitted disease (STD) and mental illness. Through online experiments, this study will explore how the perceived human versus bot identity of the virtual agent would impact the perceived helpfulness of the agent, interaction satisfaction, and attitude toward the agent. The findings will provide much needed theoretical and strategic insights for capitalizing on the advantage of chatbots to enhance health communication outcomes.


Margaret Cardillo, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Jane the First. Research for a feature length script 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.

Kim Grinfeder + Zevensuy Rodriguez, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Tangible Interfaces for Interactions with Volumetric Photography & Video. Production of 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.

Christina Lane, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Phantom Lady: Journeys Through a Hollywood Career. Design a prototype for a game based on the forthcoming biography of studio-era Hollywood producer and screenwriter Joan Harrison.

Yeunjae Lee + Weiting Tao, Department of Strategic Communication
Taking a Stance: Toward an Understanding of CEO Activism on Controversial Sociopolitical Issues and Public Advocacy. 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.

Queenie Jo-Yun Li + Yeunjae Lee, Department of Strategic Communication
What a doctor looks like? Physician experience of workplace discrimination and employee-organization relationship management. 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.

Howard McCain, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Scarecrow. Visual effects support for the SoC previously funded, Scarecrow, a short, dramatic horror film that explores the disturbing friendship between a troubled young girl and an ancient, old-world scarecrow.

Thomas Musca, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Chateau Vato. Post-production support for the SoC previously funded, Chateau Vato, a feature length comedic film starring Paul Rodriguez.

Weiting Tao, Department of Strategic Communication
The Role of Narratives in Overcoming Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Skepticism. This study proposes to test whether, when, and how narrative CSR communication can serve as an effective strategy to overcome consumer skepticism.

Wan-Hsiu “Sunny” Tsai, Department of Strategic Communication
Cross-Cultural Comparison of Consumer Interactions with Chatbots for Consumer-Brand Engagement. This study will conduct a comparison focusing on consumers in China and the United States to systematically evaluate how chatbots may enhance brand outcomes.


Ching-Hua Chuan, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Creating Chatbots for Domain-Specific Communication. Creation of a chatbot that provides clinical trial guidance and support to cancer patients.

Juliana Fernandes and Sarai Nunez, Department of Strategic Communication
An Integrated Approach to Evaluating Advertising Campaigns Capstone Courses, seeks to describe and evaluate a team teaching method developed by advertising campaigns professors, gauge students’ perception on several learning dimensions, and map out how the course is being taught in American universities.

Kim Grinfeder, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Addressing the International Urban Agenda, creation of a software that will automatically generate documentaries using a storytelling algorithm, as well as user participation.

Barbara Leibell, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Counter Revolution, research for a feature film script based on the career of New York chef Jon Eifman.

Howard McCain, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Production support for the short dramatic horror film, Goodnight, Scarecrow, produced and directed by McCain.

Barbara Millet, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
The Congruence-Association Model in Musical Multimedia: New Insights from Eye-Tracking and Facial Expression Capture

Thomas Musca, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Post-production support for the feature comedy film Chateau Vato, produced and directed by Musca.

William Rothman, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Research for a book on French filmmaker Jean Rouch titled: Jean Rouch as Film Artist.


Victoria Orrego Dunleavy, Department of Communication Studies
Empowering Local Comadronas in Indigenous Guatemala: A Tool for Sexual and Reproductive Health. This study will conduct a series of focus groups with comadronas (midwives) across four health centers in the Lake Atitlan region to address the poor maternal health status by integrating an evidence-based HIV intervention, or SEPA (Salud, Educación, Prevención, and Autocuidado).

Juliana Fernandes, Department of Strategic Communication
Green Advertising Literacy: Using Copy and Creative Literacy Information to Combat Greenwashing, addresses the increasing skepticism among consumers about environmental benefits of advertised products. This major advertising setback, known as greenwashing, has reduced the demand for green products.

William Hughes, Department of Strategic Communication
Creative Positive Visual Communication at Earlington Heights Elementary. This is an inaugural project of the ongoing cultural initiative “Bridge Walls,” which seeks to positively change the visual communication of Earlington Heights Elementary through art.

Michelle Seelig, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
Social Activism: Engaging Millenials in Social Causes. The study investigates the relationship between Millennials’ perceived online exposure to information about social causes and Millenials’ perceived barriers and willingness to take part in person.

Wan-Hsiu “Sunny” Tsai and Weiting Tao, Department of Strategic Communication
Local Brands and the Global Vision: The Pursuit of the Chinese Dream.This study will explore Chinese consumers’ complicated relationships with local and global brands in relation to global and local culture positioning strategies, as well as the moderating role of consumer nationalism and belief in global citizenship.