Doctoral Student Chosen to Attend NCA Doctoral Honors Seminar

Abigail Reed, a doctoral student in the School of Communication, is headed to Tampa on July 21-24 to attend the National Communication Association’s Doctoral Honors Seminar. Reed is 1 of 30 students selected to attend this prestigious weekend. These selections are based on submitted papers and recommendations from academic advisors. Reed’s submitted paper was a manuscript for a project she has been working on since Fall 2018 titled “The Dissemination of White Supremacist Rhetoric in YouTube Videos Regarding Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” This project analyzes three videos published to about the movie that espouses white-supremacist rhetoric. The goal of this analysis is to “highlight and contextualize the ways in which white supremacists and people within the alt-right use popular culture texts to drive traffic to online videos that contain many white supremacist themes as well as how many other YouTube content creators use metadata tagging to piggyback off the popularity of many of these themes within online spaces, whether the creators themselves subscribe to that rhetoric or not,” explains Reed.

The theme of this year’s Doctoral Honors Seminar is “Communication, Engagement, and Social Justice,” a theme that resonates strongly with Reed. “My primary goal as a communication researcher is to examine and critique both media texts and media structures in the interest of establishing a more equitable space for all within media. I believe that mediated texts play a great deal in shaping the world we live in and the way we imagine how the future might be. Thus, the theme of this year’s seminar speaks intimately to this perspective from the framework of social justice and I am honored to be participating,” she says.

Reed aims to use the weekend as a way to connect with professionals in her field and help push her research further. “Attending the DHS is a chance to talk with successful people in the field who pursue a communication research agenda with the purpose of shedding light on serious social issues with the goal of producing productive strategies to counteract the harmful use of media and media texts. Ultimately, I hope the seminar will provide me with the information I need to take my research further, specifically to bring awareness to the ways that cultural texts are being used for the purposes of online radicalization and how we can stop this phenomenon,” she says.

Dr. Jennifer Proffitt served as Reed’s advisor during the application process. She is extremely proud to have Reed represent FSU and CCI at the conference. “The NCA Doctoral Honors Seminar brings together top doctoral students and distinguished faculty members from universities across the country to discuss and advance their research. Abbie’s selection for this prestigious seminar demonstrates her commitment to research that addresses important questions associated with communication and social justice, including how we can become more engaged as consumers of media texts in understanding how and why representations in the media matter and how we can work to change media representations of marginalized populations and identities,” says Dr. Proffitt.