Welcome new faculty members

Posted on: July 26, 2011

This academic year, the MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences welcomes seven new faculty members. These new faculty members bring expertise in communication technology, design, gaming, health communication, public relations, social media and more.

Introducing the new faculty members:

Saleem Alhabash
, assistant professor of public relations/social media in the departments of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing and Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media

His research focuses on the processes and effects of new and social media. More specifically, Alhabash’s research investigates the cognitive and emotional responses, and psychological effects associated with using social networking sites and playing serious/persuasive video games. His research is geared toward understanding how new communication technologies can be utilized in cross-cultural and international communication, with emphasis on changing attitudes and stereotypes of foreign nations. Alhabash received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He brings a diverse experience in global media and strategic communication.

Kayla Hales, visiting assistant professor in communication technology in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media

Kayla D. Hales recently defended her dissertation, titled “YOU, ME, and IT: Multimedia Relationship Maintenance in the 21st Century,” in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State. Prior to her doctoral studies, Hales earned her B.S. in information technology − focusing on communication with a minor in management − from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Research interests include ethnic differences, digital divide, human-computer interaction, human behavior, identity in electronic environments, individual differences, social computing, socio-technical systems, and relational development and maintenance.

Gary Hsieh, assistant professor in health and human-computer interaction in the departments of Communication and Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media

Gary Hsieh’s research interests include computer-mediated communication, human-computer interaction, incentives and motivation, and health communication. He is broadly interested in human-computer interaction. His research focuses on understanding, designing and developing technologies that enable people to communicate and interact in ways that are efficient and welfare-improving. He is also interested in designing technologies that encourage prosocial behavior. He has conducted research at a number of industry research labs, including Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Fuji-Xerox. He received his Ph.D. from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to his joint appointment, he is affiliated with the Health and Risk Communication Center.

Lourdes Martinez, assistant professor in health communication in the Department of Communication

Her research interests focus on the intersection of social psychology, communication and public health, and include health communication, message design and persuasion, and mass media effects. Her research draws from a range of interdisciplinary and quantitative approaches, including experimental designs, surveys, longitudinal studies and content analysis. She recently completed her doctoral degree at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled Anticipated Regret and the Formation of Behavioral Intention: Implications for the Design of Persuasive Health Messages, uses both survey and experimental approaches to test the role of anticipated regret in shaping young women’s behavioral intention to perform prevention behaviors.

Maral Minassian, assistant professor in design in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing and the School of Journalism

Minassian's multidisciplinary work covers all kinds of visual communication for a number of clients in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Prior to moving to the United States, Minassian worked in Beirut, Lebanon for five years as a senior art director for clients such as the Saudi Royal Family and Lebanese members of Parliament. She has worked as a self-employed web and graphic designer, taking on projects such as information architecture and website design for Loyola Marymount University's various divisions, among many others. Minassian is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she earned a master of fine arts in design and technology. While at Parsons, she was awarded an ICT Fellowship by the Open Society Institute, as a result of which she traveled to Kyrgyzstan to support a non-governmental organization called Mental Health & Society. Her role focused on implementing new communication practices in information design and advocating for the causes of the NGO while working closely with the UNDP in Bishkek. 

Emilee Rader, assistant professor and AT&T Scholar in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media

Rader’s research focuses on understanding social processes that affect information sharing in user contributed content systems – people sharing files, blog posts, photos, tags, status updates, tweets, location information – without always being completely aware of who might be out there watching. Rader develops and tests theories and design principles that foster a better understanding of what it means to be social on the social web. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Information at the University of Michigan, and a master's degree in human-computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. Rader was a 2009-2010 recipient of the highly competitive Computing Innovation post-doctoral fellowship award from the Computing Research Association and the National Science Foundation. Before earning her Ph.D., she spent five years working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Motorola Labs, designing and evaluating next-generation applications for mobile technologies. 

Rabindra Ratan, assistant professor and AT&T Scholar in the Department of Media and Information(beginning in January 2012)

Rabindra ("Robby") Ratan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and his M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University. His work offers social and psychological approaches to research on technology for improvement and enjoyment. Most recently, he has focused on the concept of self-presence, or the ways that people connect to their virtual self-representations (avatars) in video games and virtual worlds. For his dissertation, he studied people’s physiological output (e.g., heart rate, facial muscle contractions) while they played a Nintendo Wii game using various types of avatars (e.g., same or opposite gender). He also hopes to contribute to the development of new video games, virtual environments, and other technologies. He is currently involved in a mobile application startup that focuses on wellness improvement through self-awareness and he hopes to build a gaming component into the application.

Patrick Shaw, visiting assistant professor focusing on videogame design and development in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media

Shaw has more than 12 years of game development experience, kicked off through work on a Star Wars product. During this time, Patrick has worked as an artist, designer, and manager in variety of PC and video game projects ranging from Star Wars edutainment to The Sims to military simulations. Shaw moved back to Michigan in 2005 and earned his a master's degree from the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media. His research focused on the role of player motivation and behavioral incentives on game selection. He went on to work for local game development companies such as Reactor Zero and Scientifically Proven Entertainment. In the summer of 2011, Shaw returned to Michigan State University to teach courses in mobile game design, serious game design, and interactive media design.

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