Communication in a Changing World: Navigating Relationships During and Post Pandemic

Abstract art
October 14, 2021
A Virtual Public Program

This public program, which is available in podcast and video formats, explored interpersonal relationships and social support in the context of COVID-19, both in and outside the classroom. Panelists discussed the myriad ways the pandemic has impacted relational communication, including teacher-student relationships, family relationships, and other support relationships. 



LaKesha Anderson

LaKesha Anderson, Director of Academic and Professional Affairs, National Communication Association

LaKesha holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University, an M.A. from East Tennessee State University, and a B.S. from The University of Virginia – Wise.  Prior to joining NCA, she was an Assistant Professor of Communication at Indiana State University, teaching courses in advanced research methods and health communication. She also spent several years as an instructor at George Mason University and has served as a grant writer and program director for multiple nonprofits in Virginia. LaKesha’s research on health, risk, and crisis communication has appeared in several journals and books, and she has received awards for both her research and university service.



Jered Borup

Jered Borup, Ph.D., Associate Professor, George Mason University

Jered Borup is Associate Professor in George Mason University's Learning Technologies in Schools Master’s and Certificate programs that are devoted to improving teacher practices in online and blended learning environments. He also serves as the Coordinator of Digital Learning in the College of Education and Human Development. Borup’s research interests include developing online learning communities and support systems that adolescent learners require to be successful online. He has also co-authored articles focused on K-12 blended teacher preparation and a free online book titled, K-12 Blended Teaching: A Guide to Personalized Learning and Online Integration

Elizabeth Dorrance Hall

Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication, Michigan State University

Elizabeth Dorrance Hall is Assistant Professor of Communication at Michigan State University and a Director of the Family Communication and Relationships Lab. Dorrance Hall’s research focuses on difficult conversations and how relationships evolve over time, especially in families and other intimate relationships. Dorrance Hall’s writing is published widely in Communication and Social Psychology journals and in public-facing outlets such as Psychology Today. Dorrance Hall was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to study communication in multigenerational families in Slovenia and the Early Career Award from the Family Communication Division of the National Communication Association.

Chris Segrin

Chris Segrin, Ph.D., Steve and Nancy Lynn Professor of Communication, University of Arizona

Chris Segrin is Department Head and Steve and Nancy Lynn Professor of Communication at the University of Arizona. He is a behavioral scientist whose research focuses on social skills, social support, and problems such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, problem drinking, and marital distress. Segrin is author of the books Interpersonal Processes in Psychological Problems and Family Communication, co-authored with Jeanne Flora. Recently Segrin has been conducting research studies on why lonely people have more health problems, how social support can mitigate the effects of neighborhood disadvantage on mental health, and how cancer patients and their family caregivers influence each other’s psychological distress. Segrin’s research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Livestrong Foundation, the Oncology Nursing Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.

Mitch Vaterlaus

Mitch Vaterlaus, Ph.D., LMFT, Associate Professor, Montana State University

Mitch Vaterlaus is Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Science at Montana State University and a licensed marriage and family therapist. His research focuses on new media and technology and applied family science.  He has also published on the following topics in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: parent-child relationships, college student interpersonal relationships, human well-being and non-pharmaceutical interventions, social media use, and school nutrition. Vaterlaus’ work has appeared in journals such as Family Process, Journal of Adolescence, Computers in Human Behavior, The Social Science Journal, and the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Courtney N. Wright

Courtney N. Wright, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication Studies, University of Tennessee

Courtney N. Wright is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Honors Program in the School of Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee. She also serves as a research fellow for the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. Wright’s teaching, research and consulting activities focus on interpersonal communication, instructional communication, conflict management and communicating across differences.



A Public Program of the National Communication Association.