Texas A&M University faculty in the Science Communications Lab are passionate about assisting scientists with communicating about science in a way that is relevant and impacts lives. We believe in the power of a multi-disciplinary team to increase opportunities and mitigate barriers in communicating science to the varying audience segments within the broader public. Our ongoing work in scientific communication is allowing us to discover effective ways for training scientists to communicate with their publics and assisting scientists with disseminating their messages.
Texas A&M University Faculty and Staff
Dr. Holli Leggette joined the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications in 2014 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2020. Dr. Leggette’s research focuses on the communication needs of agricultural scientists when communicating with their constituents and effective ways for preparing agricultural scientists to meet the communication needs of a global audience. She believes that every scientist is a communicator who plays a critical role in the world’s health and well-being and works to equip scientists with the scientific communication skills, tools, and resources to disseminate information and impact the perceptions and practices of global audiences. Through her collaborative efforts, she has served as a PI or Co-PI on >$3 million in federal funding and has published 29 peer-reviewed journal articles as well as numerous abstracts, scientific reports, and conferences presentations. Dr. Leggette teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media and research writing. She earned the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence for Early Career Research in 2019 and the NACTA Educator Award in 2018. In 2021, her research team won the NACTA Bob Gough Teaching Tip Award for their 2017 USDA-funded Higher Education Challenge project. Contact Dr. Holli Leggette at email@example.com. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1339-1947
Dr. Theresa Murphrey is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University with experience in the areas of instructional design and technology, curriculum development, evaluation, and international development. Her teaching and research focuses on ensuring quality learning and accountability. Contact Dr. Theresa Murphrey at firstname.lastname@example.org. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4996-6087
Dr. Dara Wald is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University. Dr. Wald is also affiliated with the Ecology of Bird Loss Project, the C-CHANGE Consortium, and the Science Communication Project at Iowa State University. Her research interests include environmental, risk and science communication, citizen science and public engagement, and environmental and agricultural education. Dr. Wald is particularly interested in the role of values in shaping public attitudes about the management of natural resources and message design in agricultural and environmental contexts, with an emphasis on promoting effective scientific communication that maximizes the benefits of science and technology for people and the environment. Contact Dr. Dara Wald at email@example.com. RESEARCHGATE: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dara-Wald
Audra Richburg is a program assistant with the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University and a 2013 graduate of the Department of Animal Science. She is passionate about instructional design and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Agriculture eLearning Development through Texas A&M University. Audra provides instructional design and research support for current projects in the Department. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carrie Baker serves as the marketing strategy coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. As part of Texas A&M AgriLife, she and her team specialize in using strategic communication, marketing analytics and impactful storytelling to enrich Texas with comprehensive agricultural and life sciences knowledge and help restore connections among people, agriculture, food, science and the economy. Baker also serves as an assistant lecturer for agricultural communications and journalism courses. She recently completed her master’s degree in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications at Texas A&M University, where her research focused on assessing sociocultural and environmental factors influencing the health behavior of agricultural producers with regard to mental illness. Baker has a continued research interest in agricultural health and safety issues, specifically in identifying perceived barriers to health information to develop and implement effective health communication strategies. Contact Carrie Baker at email@example.com
Jean Parrella is a doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University. She graduated with her master’s degree from the same department in May 2020 and received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Idaho in May 2018. Her research focuses on investigating the effectiveness of message framing strategies used to communicate with consumers about different aspects of the agriculture industry. She works to develop improved communication practices agricultural scientists can use to effectively engage diverse audiences across various communication mediums. Parrella is developing her scholarly expertise using various quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research designs, including but not limited to survey methodology, meta-analyses, Q methodology, semiotic analyses, and phenomenological inquiries. Contact Jean Parrella at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maureen Victoria is a current PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications and a former School Based Agricultural Science Teacher of four years. Maureen’s research focuses on diffusion and adoption research surrounding wheat production and soil sustainability. Research goals include the appropriate communication and education of South-Central U.S. wheat producers through extension and scientific research. With heavy background in teaching school based agricultural mechanics her research interests expand to connecting industry standards to the improvement of agricultural mechanics teaching methods and curriculum. Additionally, she believes in the empowerment of students with learning disabilities through well prepared educators and skilled trades education. Contact Marueen Victoria at email@example.com.
McKenna Bush is a graduate student and research assistant in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University. Her undergraduate degree in agricultural communications and journalism, and agricultural leadership and development spurred her initial interest in scientific communication research. During her junior year of undergrad at Texas A&M, she joined Dr. Holli Leggette, Dr. Tracy Rutherford, and Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian on their Texas A&M Triad’s grant project centered around university faculty’s scientific communication. Bush’s scholarship research remains aligned with Dr. Leggette’s research focuses. Her personal research focuses on connecting policymakers and stakeholders through science communication, as she has learned the key to success in policy is carrying a collective voice with stakeholders. Contact McKenna Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madalynn Kainer is a graduate student and research assistant in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications at Texas A&M University. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism. Prior to graduate school, Madalynn worked in marketing and sponsorship development for a fair and multi-purpose event center. Her research focuses on developing an effective decision support tool for cotton producers and better understanding producers’ decision making processes. Contact Madalynn Kainer at email@example.com.
Faculty at Partnering Institutions
Anna Bates, Ed.D., is a secondary agricultural education faculty member at San Luis Obispo High School in California and has 18 years of experience working in the high school setting. Anna teaches courses within veterinary sciences, leadership and agriculture chemistry. She is an award winning FFA advisor and has prepared national winning teams in parliamentary procedure, agricultural communications, and veterinary science throughout her career. Her contribution to module development and research efforts is notable as she provides critical insight into curricula structure and content as well as research design. Dr. Bates actively utilizes technology to deliver and promote high school programming via strategic use of communication and social media platforms.
Dr. Christina “Christi” Esquivel has over twenty years of teaching experience in higher education focusing on business, economics, and agricultural economics and currently serves as an instructor of agricultural economics at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. She also serves as the co-chair for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Agricultural Business and Management Field of Study Advisory Committee. She is a reviewer of undergraduate principles of economics textbooks and has authored an introduction to agricultural economics textbook. Prior to academia, Dr. Esquivel was an economic analyst and management consultant specializing in cost allocation. Because of her knowledge and experience, she provided expert testimony on cost allocation for service fee cases. Her current work focuses on developing decision-making curriculum to be used with high school students as part of a USDA NIFA grant. Contact Dr. Christi Esquivel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Shannon Norris is an Assistant Professor in Agricultural Communications at New Mexico State University. Norris graduated from Texas A&M University in August 2020 with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications and certificates in Advanced Research Methods and Homeland Security. For her doctoral dissertation, she developed a curricular framework for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) to use when conducting agricultural assessments in Middle Eastern conflict zones. While at Texas A&M, Norris was named a Buck Weirus Spirit Award Recipient, the 2020 Friend of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the 2020 Presidential Award for Student Advocacy. In this lab, she served as a graduate research assistant in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge grant writing and delivering communications curricula to agricultural science courses. Contact Dr. Shannon Norris at email@example.com.