Faculty Friday: Jessica Myrick

Jessica Myrick
Research Themes

Meet Jessica Myrick, an IEE co-fund and Penn State Bellisario College of Communications faculty member. To help make a positive impact on the world, Jess is working to figure out how to talk about science, health, and the environment.

In general, her research examines the role of different emotions in shaping audience responses to health, science, and environmental messages, like when Tom Hanks was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jessica Myrick

Current department/college/title 
Media Studies, Bellisario College of Communications, Professor

Alma maters 
Indiana University - Bloomington (BA, MA), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PhD)

Why do you do what you do? 
As corny as this sounds, I want to make a positive difference in the world and I think helping figure out how to talk about science, health, and the environment is one way I can do that.  

Favorite thing about Penn State 
The interdisciplinary spirit and the mountains (I’m from Indiana so I’m easily impressed with any non-flat terrain).

Most interesting place your work has taken you 
Harvard University, to give a “24/7 Lecture” at the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes where I met a bunch of actual Nobel Prize winners 

Favorite Creamery flavor 
Bittersweet Mint

Secret talent/random fun fact 
I play the ukulele, but very badly. I ran cross country and track at Indiana and was a three-time All American. My only Big Ten championship came the year the meet was at Penn State (2007), so it sort of seems like destiny that I ended up here.   

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your research? 
Communication is very complicated, moreso than most people who don’t study it realize, but it is maybe the most important factor we should consider in the broad realm of science. If we can’t adequately communicate about science to a wide variety of audiences, then society suffers and we can’t fully realize the benefits of scientific discovery. 

Two pug dogs, Gilly and Pancake

Most-used app on your phone 
Other than email and camera/photos, probably Instagram


Learn more about Jessica Myrick and her research.