AU Department of Communication Studies ‘Leaves No Doubt’ at Ohio Communication Conference

Megan Salatino, winner of the Outstanding Undergraduate Poster award, poses with Dr. Ted Avtgis. sociation's annual conference
Megan Salatino, winner of the Outstanding Undergraduate Poster award at the 77th annual Ohio Communication Association conference, poses with Dr. Theodore Avtgis, professor of communication studies and Salatino's adviser.


10/9/13 ASHLAND, Ohio – “Leave No Doubt” has become the adopted motto for Ashland University’s Department of Communication Studies, and the students in that department were able to do just that with their showing at the 77th annual Ohio Communication Association conference this past weekend at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio.

After the impressive showing at last year’s conference, AU set out this year to continue gaining notoriety around the state and certainly left no doubt in the minds of those attending the conference.

Eight students represented the AU department, and six of them presented research done in classes at Ashland. Students who presented did so using posters to outline their research on various topics, including Greek life, baseball and skin cancer.

Built into the poster presentations is a competition judged by members of the association, with a cash prize going to the top poster of the conference. This year the top undergraduate poster award was presented to Ashland University’s Megan Salatino, a sophomore whose presentation was titled “Applying Expectancy Violation Theory to Skin Cancer Diagnosis.”

“I was super excited and honored to receive this award. It was awesome to see all of my hard work on this project pay off at the conference,” Salatino said. “I want to thank Dr. (Ted) Avtgis (professor of communication studies) for all of his support and guidance throughout the process.”

Salatino said she chose to do this project after her mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year, and her mom explained to her that her doctor violated her expectation in a negative way.  

“Because of this, I wanted to explore and determine violations that occur between a provider and patient when relaying a basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or malignant melanoma diagnosis to a patient," Salatino said.

In taking on this research, Salatino hopes to help physicians and patients become more mindful in interpreting non-verbal behavior when delivering a disease diagnosis.

In the next phase of her research, Salatino will be collecting data on how patients perceived their diagnosis and whether or not their expectations were violated.

Salatino would like to coach healthcare providers in using verbal and non-verbal delivery techniques so the provider is more aware of his or her behavior when delivering a specific type of diagnosis, as well as adjust to any perceived violations from the patient.

Salatino’s faculty adviser, Dr. Theodore Avtgis, was thrilled with Salatino’s award.

"When I heard Megan's name announced it made me so proud as she is really growing into a budding young scholar. The fact that she is only in her sophomore year makes the honor that much more incredible. I can't wait to see the quality of research she will put forth in the next two years."  Avtgis said.

“Over the past two years the Department of Communication Studies student research productivity has been incredible. Through the faculty's commitment to building a ‘culture of scholarship’ we have seen great success from our students in terms of conference papers, poster presentations, book chapters, and peer-reviewed articles,” Avtgis said. “In fact, this is the second year in a row that an AU student has won the top undergraduate poster award. It is clear that both the students are fully reflecting the department motto of 'Leave No Doubt'.”

The students in attendance at the conference were :

-- Christopher Manthey, a graduate of Stow Munroe Falls High School in Stow, Ohio, who is a senior double majoring in political science and public relations.

-- Chrissy Thompson, a graduate of Perkins High School in Sandusky, Ohio, who is a senior double majoring in public relations and strategic communication.

-- Andrew Hart, a graduate of Northwest High School in Canal Fulton, Ohio, who is a junior double majoring in public relations and strategic communication.

-- Lauren Fattlar, a graduate of Westlake High School in Westlake, Ohio, who is a junior double majoring in public relations and strategic communication and health and risk communication.

-- Sarah O’Connell, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who is a junior majoring in strategic communication.

-- Megan Salatino, a graduate of Brooke High School in Follansbee, West Virginia, who is a sophomore double majoring in public relations and strategic communication and sports communication.

-- Kayla Toth, a graduate of Twinsburg High School in Twinsburg, Ohio, who is a sophomore double majoring in political science and public relations.

-- Emma Tappel, a graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School in Parkersburg, West Virginia, who is a freshman double majoring in public relations and health and risk communication.

Hart, one of the presenters, said “It was awesome to be able to have the experience of knowing that our work was worthy of being presented in such a fashion. It is really motivating to know that our work is more than a grade, it is something that we can put on a resume for our future.”

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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