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School of Communications welcomes new faculty members

Four new faculty members with strong professional and educational backgrounds joined the ranks of teacher-scholars in the School of Communications in Fall 2011.

New Communications faculty members (l-r) Brian Walsh, Lucinda Austin and Vanessa Bravo (not pictured, Leah Totten)

They came to Elon from the faculties at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the New York Institute of Technology and from doctoral programs at the University of Maryland and the University of Florida.

The four faculty additions, plus the inclusion of the faculty in the Sport & Event Management Department, bring the number of faculty and staff in the school to 65.

New faculty and staff members, in alphabetical order, are:

Lucinda Austin just completed her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland after spending the last three years as an assistant director of admissions at Radford University and the last four years as a communication specialist and research analyst for ICF Macro, a firm offering health communication and marketing research to government and nonprofit organizations. Austin has published refereed articles in Public Relations Review and Social Marketing Quarterly and wrote a book chapter in “Contemporary Case Studies in Health Communication: Theoretical and Applied Approaches.” She received the outstanding teaching award from the University of Maryland’s Communication Department in 2009. She earned a B.A. from Radford and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Vanessa Bravo is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida, completing an emphasis in public relations. Prior to going back to school for her doctorate, she worked for 11 years as a reporter and editor at La Nacion in San Jose and as a public relations director at the Paniamor Foundation, which focuses on children’s issues. She has also served as editor of Noticias WUFT, a weekly Spanish radio news show broadcast by the University of Florida. In 2001, she received a Fulbright Scholars grant to pursue a master’s degree in communications at Florida. After completing her M.A., she returned to Costa Rica as online editor at La Nacion and managing editor of Viva, the newspaper’s daily magazine. Bravo has presented scholarly papers at a number of professional conferences. She earned a B.A. from the University of Costa Rica and an M.A. from the University of Florida.

Leah Totten boasts 16 years of professional experience in communications that include public, media, government, shareholder and funder relations in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She also served as director of communications for MDC Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on overcoming barriers to economic and educational opportunities for disadvantaged people and communities. As a graduate student, Totten received the Undergraduate Student Teaching Award and was named a national Houle Engaged Scholar for her community-based research and publications. She has taught previously at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Duke University. She earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brian Walsh comes to Elon as a visiting professor after spending the last four years as an assistant professor at the New York Institute of Technology. At Elon, he will primarily teach in the Interactive Media master’s program. Walsh has worked professionally as a research technician at Cinetech and as a video editor and AfterEffects artist for the Independent Film Channel. He also spent time at Gameplay HD, editing promos and integrating motion graphics for national broadcasts. At the New York Institute, he taught courses focusing on web design, motion graphics, video post-production, Flash, Actionscript and advanced web design with CSS. He earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts.

Colin Donohue,
9/16/2011 2:01 PM