Kelly Mella, Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies


Kelly Mella, Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies, is the author of a chapter in the following book, published January 2014:

Talking Tobacco

Mella, K. A complicated conversation: Tobacco use and misuse in Native American communities. In Esrock, S.; Hart, J., & Walker, K. (Eds.), Talking Tobacco. Peter Lang Publishing, New York.

Mella describes her work:

“My chapter is based on my dissertation research testing different versions of a print anti-smoking message aimed at Native Americans. I chose this as a research topic because smoking rates among Native American adults (those over age 18) in Wisconsin are extremely high — near 50%, which is much higher than among other racial/ethnic groups. This high smoking rate is a difficult problem to address, in part because of the traditionally ceremonial and sacred role tobacco holds in many Native cultures, in part because of its modern-day financial importance to many tribes, and in part because of its nature as a symbol of tribal sovereignty, as tribes have the right to set their own laws regarding tobacco use and sale. In my research, I created four different versions of a print anti-smoking ad to test reactions to both culturally specific framing of the message and to the official source of the message—either a U.S. government agency or a trusted regional Native American organization. The book chapter discusses the complicated role of tobacco in modern Native cultures, the results of my research, and suggestions for application of those results along with further research.”


Leigh Maxwell, Associate Professor, Communication Studies


Maxwell L.T., Odukoya O.K., Stone J.A., Chui M.A. (2013). Barriers to patient care coordination from the physicians' and pharmacists' perspective. Research in Social & Administrative Pharmacy. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2013.12.002.

This article describes a study conducted to identify and describe challenges to a physician-pharmacist approach to coordinating patient care. Data were collected through two rounds of face-to-face interviews bringing together physicians and community pharmacists in central and southern Wisconsin. Four major themes emerged from conflict analysis of the data which identified the primary challenges to coordinated patient care as being: scarce resources, technology design and usability, insurance constraints, and laws and policy governing patient care. Bringing physicians and pharmacists together successfully stimulated conversation about opportunities in which each profession could help the other provide optimal care for their patients. This interaction appeared to dispel assumptions and build trust. Results of this project may provide pharmacists with the confidence to reach out to their physician colleagues to improve efficiencies and overall patient care.


Bonnie Sierlecki, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies


Sierlecki, B. “Grit and Graciousness”: Sport, Rhetoric, and Race in Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. In Brummett, B., & Ishak, Andrew (Eds.), Sports and Identity: New Agendas in Communication. Routledge, New York, 2014.


Xiaodong Kuang, Associate Professor, Communication Studies


Associate Professor Xiaodong Kuang’s organization, Rivers as Bridges, promotes cross-cultural exchange in the areas of natural resources and conservation.

Rivers as Bridges (RAB) is a nonprofit organization working to promote educational and cultural exchanges among youth between the US and other countries, especially in the field of natural resources and conservation.

Kuang describes the organization's history:

"When I was a PhD student at UW-Madison, together with other Chinese graduate students in Madison and in other universities (such as Southern California University, University of Michigan, Cornell University, etc.), I founded a nonprofit organization called Environment and Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS) in 2006. I served as Executive Vice President, responsible for public communication, strategic partnership, and programming. ENCSS was fully supported since its establishment by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Rivers as Bridges was formerly to be a program of ENCSS, focusing on educational and exchange programs related to rivers, water ecology, cleaning-up projects, management, etc. Later on it developed as a separate nonprofit organization, and I serve as the President and Board member."

Rivers as Bridges

Rivers as Bridges delegation including
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. © Rick Otis

In March, 2013, Rivers as Bridges sponsored seven high school students and three college students from the Midwest to make an environmental and cultural exchange trip to China; the delegation was headed by Cathy Stepp, Secretary of the Wisconsin DNR. We visited local government agencies, high schools, universities, and historical places in Beijing, Xiamen, Wuxi and Shanghai within nine days.

For more information about the trip, please refer to the article published in Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine: