New assistant professor joins SJMC

Katheryn Christy joined the School of Journalism and Mass Communication this fall as the newest assistant professor. Her research primarily focuses on persuasive message design within health communication contexts, often with a focus on how emerging communication technologies can be leveraged to communicate health information more effectively.

Christy comes from the University of Utah, where she held a post-doctoral fellow position in the Health Communication and Technology (HCAT) lab. As a researcher, she believes that there is no better place to be than the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Some of Christy’s current research projects focus on designing interactive narratives for communicating health information, the use of UV light photography in skin cancer prevention materials and narrative features that improve the effectiveness of stigma reduction narratives.

“A lot of my research projects involve isolating a narrative feature and manipulating it to try and determine how it influences the story’s effectiveness,” Christy says. “Recently, I’ve been looking at interactive narratives, stories where the reader can make choices in the story and narrative point of view — whether a story is told from the first-person or third-person point of view.”

Christy earned her Ph.D. in communication from Ohio State University in 2016, her M.A. in communication from Purdue University in 2011, and her B.A. in communication and English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009.

Much of Christy’s life was spent around the Midwest and Pennsylvania, so she says it is nice to be back in a familiar setting. When she’s not teaching or completing her research, you can find her enjoying the view of Lake Mendota from the Memorial Union Terrace.