Ekaterina Bogomoletc was recently honored with two awards for her work in communicating science. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at NC State and, under the direction of RTNN co-PI Prof. David Berube, conducts research in the Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology for the RTNN.
Ekaterina won the University of Miami School of Communication Top Student Paper Award at the 2021 International Public Relations Research Conference. Ekaterina’s winning project explored publics’ reactions to brands’ COVID-19 responses. More specifically, Ekaterina examined how YouTube users perceived attempts of several global brands to normalize the new, post-COVID, reality:
“The study demonstrated that when it comes to brands’ COVID-19 responses, publics seemed to be concerned with the political side of the brands’ communication. For companies, this might mean that publics are open to negotiating brands’ place in the new, post-COVID19, reality without viewing their actions as opportunistic. At the same time, the campaigns were accused of promoting a certain political agenda, i.e., they were perceived as brand activism. The perception of organizations’ COVID-19 communication as brand activism brings extra expectations in terms of authenticity of companies’ efforts.”
Ekaterina was also awarded a seed grant from the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations at San Diego State University. The grant is awarded to PhD candidates and pre-tenured faculty for research projects in the area of public relations.
Ekaterina won the award in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Lee, an assistant professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. They proposed a project that will examine possible factors behind publics’ trust towards scientific information as well as factors affecting publics’ willingness to share scientific information online. More specifically, they will test whether various communication strategies affect publics’ perception of take-at-home COVID-19 tests.