CSU students and faculty were among the many enthusiastic participants at this year’s National Communication Association (NCA) conference in Seattle.
Two women wearing face masks standing behind their table at a conference fair
Director of Graduate Studies Dr. Elizabeth Williams and MA alum/department lead administrator Eliza Wagner-Kinyon enjoyed connecting with prospective graduate students at the NCA Graduate Program Fair
First of all, congratulations to all our faculty and students who took home awards from NCA this year!

Association Awards

  • Dr. Greg Dickinson: Presidential Citation for Dedication and Service to NCA for his work as editor of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies
  • Dr. Elizabeth Parks: Presidential Citation for Dedication and Service to NCA
  • Kristina Lee: Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award from NCA and the Article of the Year award from the Religious Communication Association

Division Awards

Top Papers:
  • Kira Marshall-McKelvey: Feminist and Gender Studies Division
  • Shelby Crow: African American Communication and Culture Division
  • Dr. Elizabeth Parks & Jesus Calderon: International and Intercultural Communication Division
Top Student Papers:
  • Brandon Shanks: Communication and the Future Division
  • Kristina Lee: Political Communication Division
Dr. Kari Anderson: Faculty Mentorship Award from the Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division

Graduate student Kristina Lee takes home prestigious award

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PhD candidate Kristina Lee receives the Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award from the NCA.

As noted above, PhD candidate Kristina Lee won the Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award for her article “Theistnormativity and the Negation of American Atheists in Presidential Inaugural Addresses,” published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs in 2020. This prestigious award is in recognition of her article’s contribution to the Communication discipline through the theoretical and analytical use of the term “theistnormativity” within political rhetoric.

In her paper, NCA says, “Lee uses 20th century presidential inaugural addresses to illustrate how political rhetoric positions American atheists and the potential exclusionary impact of this positioning. Using the term ‘theistnormativity,’ Lee’s work provides a strong foundation for future theoretical and analytical perspectives and, in doing so, equips communication scholars to further illuminate the intricacies and implications of rhetoric on religious and/or spiritual identities.”

Lee’s full article can be found online here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/rhetpublaffa.23.2.0255?seq=1

Abstract: This paper aims to address the need in rhetorical scholarship to recognize the obstacles that atheists face in the public sphere. I propose that, within the United States, there is a systematic normalization of theism, which I refer to as theistnormativity. While theistnormativity is advanced through various systems within a society, I argue that presidents reinforce theistnormativity through their use of religious political rhetoric. I reason that the theistnormativity that is prominent in presidential inaugural addresses from 1933 to 2017 contributes an ideal space that privileges theists and marginalizes atheists.

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Cari Whittenburg after her presentation, alongside Dr. Kari Anderson and graduate students

Graduate student Cari Whittenburg’s work culminates in presentation

On November 20, fellow graduate students gathered to hear PhD student Cari Whittenburg’s presentation, “The Oklahoma Standard: Establishing National Identity at The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.”
Professor in full academic regalia stands beside two professors, all smiling
Professors Morgan Johnson, Kirt Wilson, and Kari Anderson

Belated doctoral hooding for Professor Morgan Johnson

Due to the pandemic, Assistant Professor Morgan Johnson was unable to receive the usual doctoral commencement ceremony at Pennsylvania State University.

Thankfully, at CSU’s NCA reception the evening of November 19, we were able to celebrate Professor Johnson. Her Penn State advisor, Dr. Kirt Wilson, joined the festivities and performed the ceremonial hooding.

Professor Johnson now teaches courses on race and communication in the U.S. and the history and theory of rhetoric here at CSU.

Visit NCA’s website for more about the conference, the 11 academic journals NCA publishes, and more about the organization.