The Family Communication Division and the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association have named SC&I Associate Professor of Communication Kristina M. Scharp the recipient of a Top Paper Award and Distinguished Article Award. Scharp will receive the awards at the NCA’s 109th Annual Convention being held in National Harbor, Maryland from November 16 - 19, 2023.
Scharp received the Top Paper Award from the NCA’s Family Communication Division for a paper written with SC&I Ph.D. student Cimmiaron Alvarez and Andrew Ledbetter, professor and chair of Communication Studies at Texas Christian University. The paper, which has not yet been published, examines the relationship between homesickness experienced by and resilience enacted by college students in response.
The NCA’s Interpersonal Division has awarded Scharp the Franklin H. Knower Article Award for the paper “Communicative resilience of first-generation college students during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Written with Tiffany Wang, associate professor of Communication at the University of Montavallo and Michigan State Fellow Brooke Wolfe, who was Scharp’s advisee at the University of Washington, the paper was published in Human Communication Research.
In addition, two of Scharp’s current and former doctoral advisees, Alvarez and Wolfe, have been awarded Top Student Paper awards from the NCA’s Interpersonal Division and Health Communication Division.
“These are well-deserved honors for Dr. Scharp and her team,” said Professor and Chair of the Communication Department Marya Doerfel. “Dr. Scharp’s investigation of how students deal with homesickness, and her ability and willingness to translate her findings for a variety of audiences, will both help students faced with this challenge and provide a framework and direction for further research in this area.”
In 2022, Scharp, Alvarez, and Brittan Barker, associate professor of Audiology at Utah State University, were awarded the Top Paper Award by the NCA’s Family Communication Division for the paper "Communicative Resilience by Proxy: Exploring How Hearing Parents Enact Resilience for Themselves and Their Children Who Use Cochlear Implants." Scharp, Alvarez, Wolfe, Pam Lannutti, professor and Chair at Widener University and Leah Bryant, associate professor at DePaul University, were also award another top paper for their article, “Overcoming obstacles by enacting resilience: How queer adolescents respond to being estranged from their parents.”
Scharp’s research programmatically advances communication theory and method with the aim of exposing institutionalized structures of oppression; understanding the populations those structures marginalize; and illuminating communication processes marginalized populations enact to cope with the inequities they experience. Although her work is often framed by Relational Dialectics Theory and the Communication Theory of Resilience, she is currently working to advance a Theory of Relational Distancing and the Theory of Communicative (Dis)Enfranchisement.
Scharp has also developed her own qualitative research method, thematic co-occurrence analysis. In addition to advancing theory and method, one of her primary goals is to translate her research through public outreach (e.g., consulting with clinicians and policymakers) and through the popular press.
"We are so grateful that the Interpersonal and Family Communication Divisions of NCA are recognizing our research,” Scharp said. “Both manuscripts were a team effort and include faculty and graduate students from across the country. It's wonderful when collaborations generate exciting new ideas, especially when they can benefit the students we teach in our classrooms."