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Communication of science focus of interdisciplinary presentation

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Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Westminster College students and faculty members from the School of Communication and Center for the Environment showcased their new interdisciplinary work at the 83rd Pennsylvania Communication Association (PCA) Annual Conference held at Slippery Rock University on Friday, Sept. 29.

They presented “Westminster’s Green Team: Communication at the Intersection of Science, Sustainability, and Social Media,” delivered as part of the PCA’s salon session on “Rachel Carson: Listening to the Voices of Nature.”

Avery Keenan, a sophomore environmental science major from Cranberry, Pa., introduced his research with Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of environmental science, on using real-time monitoring of bee hives to study temperature regulation, swarm behavior and honey production.

Hallie Hughes, a sophomore environmental science major from Jeannette, Pa., presented her research on nature therapy being done in collaboration with Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry. Their research investigates the combination of mindfulness outdoors and its effect on stress, attention span, and short-term memory.

The presentation culminated with Reid Sanderson, a junior broadcasting and sports communication major from Meadville, Pa., who discussed his research with Bradley Weaver, broadcasting and sports communication lecturer. Sanderson’s work is the creation of environmentally focused education media that communicates science and initially focused on the research of Keenan and Hughes. One of Sanderson’s video packages was shared as part of the presentation and was favorably received by the audience.

“We received positive feedback and witnessed how ‘The Green Team’ project sparked some inspiration among PCA members,” said Weaver. “A few asked for our social media links. They want to share the videos with their colleagues and students.”

Keenan and Sanderson had the opportunity to work on their projects as summer research fellows funded by the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research. Grants from the Drinko Center covered registration fees for all three students.

Questions about this project can be directed to Dr. Patrick Krantz at

Pictured above from left to right are Dr. Patrick Krantz, Reid Sanderson, Avery Keenan, Bradley Weaver, Hallie Hughes and Dr. Helen Boylan.