I am Professor of Communication in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. I am concurrently the Research Director for Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at the President’s Office, NTU. I serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Environmental Communication. I am the 2018 Recipient of the Hillier Krieghbaum Under-40 Award, given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for outstanding achievements in research, teaching, and public service.
I received a Ph.D. in mass communications (minor: educational psychology) and a M.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2008 and 2005, respectively. I also received a B.A. in communication studies (first class honors) from NTU in 2002. In 2004, I was awarded a four-year overseas scholarship by NTU to pursue my graduate studies at UW-Madison. I was a senior tutor in the WKWSCI at NTU from 2003 to 2008 (on study leave from 2004-2008).
My primary research area focuses on cross-cultural public opinion dynamics related to science and technology, with potential health or environmental impacts. My work emphasizes the roles of values, social media and other emerging modes of communication in shaping public attitudes toward science and technology. I currently lead three projects in this area. I am the principal investigator of the large-scale, interdisciplinary projects, “PiONEERS: Public Opinion of Nuclear Energy and other EneRgy Sources” and “PONdER: Public Opinion of Nuclear EneRgy,” funded by the National Research Foundation in Singapore, that seek to examine how the general public in Southeast Asia form perceptions toward nuclear energy and renewable energies, so as to inform nuclear policy and research. Under the sustainable nanotechnology initiative by NTU and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, I am currently leading a sub-project that examines the social-psychological factors in shaping public attitudes toward nano-enabled food products in Singapore and the U.S. Findings from the research will help to inform policies regarding the new food technology.
In addition, I am the principal investigator of two interrelated projects — “Scientists as Public Intellectuals: Public Communication of Science and Technology” and “Science Communication on Social Media: Investigating the Roles of Spokesperson Credibility, Issue Controversy, and Discourse Civility on Public Perceptions of Science & Technology” — (funded by the Ministry of Education) that investigates how best to motivate scientists to communicate their research findings to the general public and the media.
I have given keynote talks, plenary speeches, and other invited talks on science communication and public opinion at institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Houston, the Science Centre Singapore, and many more. [You may click on the links to watch videos of my talks.]
My secondary area of research focuses on extending public opinion theories to examine the impacts of social media and other social-psychological factors on attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. The projects that I currently lead in this research area include “Digital Media Literacy: Cyber Wellness of Singapore Youths and Adults” (funded by the Media Development Authority) and “Cyberbullying and Parental Mediation Strategies: A Comparative Assessment of Children and Teenagers” (funded by the Ministry of Education), in addition to others.
Publications & Teaching
I have published papers in top-tier communication journals such as Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication, New Media & Society, Public Opinion Quarterly, Public Understanding of Science, and Science Communication, as well as journals in other disciplines such as Energy Policy and Nature Nanotechnology. My papers have won numerous top faculty paper awards at international conferences such as the ICA and AEJMC conferences. I am the recipient of the CMO Asia’s “Women in Education Leadership Award” at the 9th Asia’s Education Excellence Awards.
I have been an advisor for a number of honors, masters, and PhD theses. As I believe that learning is best achieved through direct involvement in academic writing and research collaboration, many of my graduate students have co-authored publications with me. Besides this, I have offered a number of graduate and undergraduate courses including “Quantitative Research Methods in Communication and Information,” “Audience Research Methods,” and “Public Opinion.”
Aside from academic work, I am a Cluster Director for Sustainable Building Program at the Energy Research Institute (ERI@N) at NTU. I serve as the editorial board members of Journal of Communication, Mass Communication and Society, and the Journal of Media Psychology. I served as the Associate Editor for the Asian Journal of Communication (2014-2019), the Associate Editor for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication (2016-2018), and an Associate Editor for Environmental Communication (2016 – 2019). I serve on AEJMC’s Elected Standing Committee on Research (2020 – 2023). I was the former Head (elected) of the Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk (ComSHER) Division for the 2014-15 AEJMC conference. I have also served as an elected officer of the ComSHER Division as Teaching Chair in 2011, as Professional Freedom & Responsibility Chair in 2012, and as Vice Head in 2013. In addition, I am the Vice Chairman (invited) of the Program Advisory Committee for English Programs (PACE) at the Ministry of Communications and Information (2011-present), as well as a council member (invited) of the National Crime Prevention Council (2016-present). I am concurrently serving as the Singapore Science Centre Steering Committee Members (Invited) of the Radiation Themed Student Competition 2019 and the Singapore Science Festival 2019. I have consulted for organizations and institutions such as the Singapore Science Centre, Singapore Institute of Management, Temasek Polytechnic, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Medicorp.