Doctoral Student’s Research is Recognized as a Top Paper at ICA Conference

Aug 10, 2022

Dr. Tyana Ellis, a recent graduate of the doctoral program within the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS), recently completed a research proposal that was recognized as a top paper at the International Communication Association (ICA) conference in Paris, France.

As a former public speaking instructor and a graduate assistant within the Institute for Communication and Information Research, Ellis saw a connection between public speaking and the innovative technology in the College’s new Health Communication and Biometrics laboratory. Her proposal merged the research conducted within the lab with the public speaking program in C&IS by analyzing students’ facial expressions during public speaking presentations.

“Facial expressions are so important in public speaking because they can enhance the effectiveness of a presented message or actually lessen the effectiveness,” Ellis said. “Therefore, it made sense to utilize the software that we have in the Biometrics Lab to help improve presentation effectiveness in a new and innovative way.”

Ellis hopes that all research she does can have a positive impact on the lives of others, and she was especially happy that this research led students to become more confident in their public speaking capabilities.

“Through the research that was done for this project, students became more aware of the emotions that they convey while presenting, and it resulted in students being able to make changes to their presentation styles in order to become more confident and competent presenters,” Ellis said.

Because her innovative research was named a top paper, Ellis had the opportunity to present her research in Paris at the ICA conference.

“I personally loved the session I presented during the conference because it was so fun to share the work that we’re doing at UA while hearing about the ways that others are engaging students at their institutions across the globe,” Ellis said.

Ellis also noted that she is thankful for the collaborative effort of C&IS faculty and doctoral students who worked to make the project successful.

“This was most certainly a collaborative project and I’m very thankful for my co-authors Suyu Chou, Emily Dirks, Dr. Kim Bissell, Angela Billings, Dr. Anneliese Bolland and Dr. Ben Pyle,” Ellis said.

UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences faculty and students conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit

The International Communication Association (ICA) aims to advance the scholarly study of communication by encouraging and facilitating excellence in academic research worldwide. Click here to learn more.