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Recent M.A. Theses

The thesis represents the author’s first major independent academic study, and is often completed in preparation for further study at the graduate level (such as admission into a Ph.D. program).

More information about the specific policies and procedures regarding theses in our department can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook .


Lea Schlue

Music Videos as Meaningful Entertainment?: Psychological Responses to Audio-Visual Presentation of Song Narratives
Committee: Bowman (chair), Cohen, Weber, Ed.D.

Joseph Wasserman

Board out of Your Mind: Mapping Players’ Mental Models of Game Systems and Potentials for Systems-Thinking Instruction
Committee: Banks (chair), Cohen, Martin


Elzbieta Klein

Desired Leadership Styles in Classroom & Court: Comparing Ideal Coaching & Teaching Styles of Collegiate Student-Athletes
Committee: Martin (Chair), A.Weber, K.Weber


Gregory A. Cranmer

Color Blind?: The Use of Brawn and Brain Frames in the Framing of White and Black Heisman Candidates
Committee: Bowman (Chair), Chory, Weber


Kelly G. Odenweller

Father-Son Family Communication Patterns and Gender Ideologies: A Modeling and Compensation Analysis
Committee: Rittenour (Chair), Brann, Myers


C. Kyle Rudick

Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice and Their Use of Politeness Strategies
Committee: Myers (chair), Dillow, Rittenour


Colleen C. Malachowski

Stay or Leave? The Effects of Communicative Infidelity on Relationship Outcomes
Committee: Dillow (Chair), Brann, Weber

Thomas L. Meade

The Dating Game: Cultivation Effects on Relational Investment
Committee: Westerman (Chair), Patterson, Cole


Tyler M. Louk

An Intergroup Perspective on Family Targeted Hurtful Messages Used in Romantic Relationships
Committee: Myers (Chair), Dillow, Martin

Meredith A. Mitchell

Muted Group Theory and U.S. Politics: Examining Third Parties and their Supporters
Committee: Martin (Chair), Weber, Cole


Kimberly Leezer

Dialectical Tensions in Stroke Survivor Relationships
Committee: Brann (Chair), Dillow, Weber

Karissa L. Zigarovich

Student-Instructor Conflict: The Impact of Instructor Communicative Characteristics on Student Conflict-Handling Styles
Committee: Myers (Chair), Weber, Martin


Juan M. D’Brot IV

Development of A Typology of Interracial Relationships
Committee: Avtgis (Chair), Weber, Myers

David W. Tibbles

Communication Organizational Orientations in an Instructional Setting
Committee: Richmond (Chair), McCroskey, Weber


Vicki E. Bennett

The Relationship between Relevance and Teacher Communication Behaviors
Committee: McCroskey (Chair), Richmond, Myers

Matthew Luke Sutton

A Candidate’s Use of Aggressive Communication and the Electorate’s Response: Predicting Presidential Election Outcomes
Committee: Avtgis (Chair), Martin, Weber

Elycia M. Taylor

Gossip as an Interpersonal Communication Phenomenon
Committee: Weber (Chair), Martin, Myers


Daniel W. Brewster

Stereotypical Perceptions of the Communication Behaviors of Gay Males
Committee: McCroskey (Chair), Richmond, Myers

Vincent J. Cicchirillo

The Effects of Personality Traits and Playing Video Games on Aggressive Thoughts and Behaviors
Committee: Chory-Assad (Chair), Weber, Booth-Butterfield

Katie Neary Dunleavy

Application of Turning Point Theory to Communication Following an Acquired Disability
Committee: Booth-Butterfield (Chair), Martin, Myers

Christine E. Kunkle

Adolescents’ Perceptions of Interparental Conflict and the Impact on Their Aggressive Communication Traits
Committee: Myers (Chair), Weber, Booth-Butterfield


Sara R. Banfield

The Effect of Teacher Misbehavior on Teacher Credibility and Affect
Committee: Richmond (Chair), McCroskey, Patterson

Leeanne M. Bell

Instructors’ Message Variables and Students’ Learning Orientation/Grade Orientation and Affective Learning
Committee: Myers (Chair), Booth-Butterfield, McCroskey

Andrew D. Dohanos

Fraternity and Sorority Member Perceptions of Homophily, Supportive Communication, and Group Behavior as a Function of Control Expectancies
Committee: Avtgis (Chair), Weber, Booth-Butterfield

Andrew J. Merolla

The Impact of Past Dating Relationship Solidarity on Commitment, Satisfaction, Investment, and Maintenance in Current Relationships
Committee: Weber (Chair), Booth-Butterfield, Myers

Marissa F. Rodgers

The Influence of Birth Order on Verbal Aggressiveness and Argumentativeness
Committee: Myers (Chair), Weber, Avtgis

Abigail L. Sopko

Communication Apprehension and Accuracy of Decoding Nonverbal Signals: A Replication and Extension of Schroeder and Ketrow (1997)
Committee: Martin (Chair), Myers, Weber

Alicia M. Vandine

The Effects of Cancer on Interpersonal Relationships
Committee: Booth-Butterfield (Chair), Chory-Assad, Weber


Seelio: Sharing Student Work

Students enrolled in COMM courses are asked to study the theory and process of human communication so that they can apply this knowledge to understanding real-world issues. As part of this process, COMM students have adopted the Seelio platform – a social media platform that allows students to create an online portfolio of their coursework that is easily accessible to the public. Sharing these portfolios shows the importance of the COMM degree while also giving prospective employees a clear, accurate look at the academic work our students are doing.

Seelio Student Coursework Showcase

Academic Advising

Our advisors are available during the summer, fall and spring semesters during office hours. Check 108 Armstrong Hall, call 304-293-3905, or e-mail an advisor to check office hours for the semester (see below for contact information).

The COMM academic advisors are:

Nikki Loy –
Dr. John Shibley –
Mary Donato –


Request a Mountaineer Intern

Professional Field Experience (PFE) is a key element in the undergraduate COMM curriculum that allows students to gain experience in applying their classroom knowledge to a variety of corporate and organizational environments. Organizations looking for students with an in-depth understanding of communication areas that include (but are not limited to) communication theory, data analysis, health communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and social media/communication technology now have the opportunity to request an intern from the Department of Communication Studies at WVU. Use the form below to read up on our PFE program, and to request a Mountaineer intern today.

Organization Intern Application