PhD in Communication

Heather Smith

Heather Smith

Describe your current area of research and/or your academic interests:

Communication of long-term cancer; women's health and risk communication; death and grief communication

Why did you choose George Mason to pursue your studies?

The excellent work being done [at Mason] in health communication.

Are there faculty or staff members who have made a difference thus far during your Mason career? Please give an example of this impact if possible.

Gary Kreps as my recruiter and advisor; Kevin Wright as my committee member and teacher; Kreps, Wright and S. Kim as my committee members; (former Mason professor) Carla Fisher in qualitative methods and cancer communication and M. Call-Cummings in Education in methods; Brittany Sanders and Chris Clarke in Communication in support of graduate students.

How do you hope to use your degree and studies in the future?

To advocate for and research critical issues in health that are difficult to discuss and to help normalize conversations and problem-solve taboo topics that increase disparities and inequities.

How will the Dean’s Challenge scholarship support your studies?

I have supported myself throughout most of my PhD and took out loans for my BA and MA degrees. Help from the university for first time MA or PhD students helps us to finish our degrees and represent more diverse populations.