Nicole O’Donnell, Ph.D. comes to us most recently from Virginia Commonwealth University, but she is a returning alumna and proud Coug who received her PhD from the Murrow College of Communication. Her primary research focuses on visual message design for health and environmental campaigns. She is especially interested in understanding how audiences engage with educational, inspiring, and entertaining campaign messages. To that end, she is affiliated with the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion, the Media Mind Lab, and Washington State Health Care Authority’s Prevention Research Sub-Committee.

Nicole has a strong passion for community-engaged scholarship, studying and collaborating with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to conduct research that informs campaign design and evaluation. Of particular interest to her is the question of what influences others to make them want to help someone else? Her work really centers on the question of how one communicates a need effectively. For example, one area of her recent research has focused on what would make you want to help a stranger versus a friend when it comes to donating bone marrow?

Recent partners for her research include the Hume Lee Transplant Center, the Inland Northwest Healthy Youth Collaborative, and Room One. Her research receives funding from the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, the Science for the Public Good Fund, the Office of Environmental Quality, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Emerging Scholars Program. With publications in Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Risk Research, Visual Communication Quarterly, and elsewhere, Nicole has a growing portfolio of health and environmental strategic communications that adds to the Murrow catalogue.

Outside the office and classroom, you can find Nicole cycling the Palouse Scenic Byway, hiking at Idler’s Rest, or RVing with her family. These elements, and more, make her very happy to be returning to Murrow and the beautiful environs of the Pullman community; almost as happy as we are to have her join us.