MSU faculty member earns grant to help students become better communicators of science

Contact: John Burrow

Studio portrait of Holli Seitz
Holli H. Seitz (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss. – A Mississippi State University faculty member is helping students become better communicators of science through a teaching grant from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Holli H. Seitz, an assistant professor of communication and director of The Message Laboratory in MSU’s Social Science Research Center, co-authored the grant proposal with Quisto Settle, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership at Oklahoma State University. The two received an Academic Programs Section Innovative Teaching Award to assist “communicators who are curious about science, willing to pursue an understanding of scientific topics, and are dedicated to finding ways to present scientific information.”

Seitz said working with Settle, who has expertise in agricultural communication, will allow them, as researchers, to study how students in different departments respond to learning activities.

“Collaborations usually produce much more interesting ideas than I can generate when working alone,” Seitz said. “Dr. Settle will be conducting research with his agricultural education, communication and leadership students at OSU while I work with students here at MSU in the communication department.”

Seitz said the award provides modest funding to test student-developed communication materials through an online survey as well as travel funds to present their findings at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference next summer in New Mexico.

The grant helps the collaborators continue their research, designing an experiential learning activity for undergraduates, which Seitz said helps students learn how to conduct communication research with the purpose of “enhancing science literacy by involving students in the development of their own scientific research.”

Seitz graduated with an MSU bachelor’s degree in communication in 2005 and earned a Master of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. She received her master’s degree in communication in 2012 and her Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Pennsylvania. At MSU, she focuses on researching the effects of misinformation in the media and how it can be corrected.

Part of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, complete details about the communication department may be found at

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