OSU SMSC Welcomes New Faculty

Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communications has welcomed two professors to the Paul Miller Journalism building. Benetta Liu, Ph.D. and Juwon Hwang, Ph.D. are both elated to join the faculty at OSU’s SMSC.


Dr. Liu, originally from China, comes to Stillwater from the University of Alabama where she previously worked for the Center for Community-Based Partnership. Dr. Liu has previously worked as a director, photographer and multimedia journalist. “I used to do data analyses to evaluate the effects of local government’s policies,” said Liu. Dr. Liu finds joy in knowing how her work contributes to positive change in the public. Her research interests consist of media effects, new media technology and young people’s engagement. Dr. Liu received a doctoral degree in Philosophy


During the Fall 2021 semester, Dr. Liu will teach Data Journalism in addition to other Mass Communication and Journalism courses. “Dr. Liu truly knows how to find data sets and gather meaning,” said Graduate Coordinator Jared Johnson, Ph.D., “the fact that she can do this and be such a great colleague can only mean great things for our program’s future.” Aside from her love for all things communications, Dr. Liu also enjoys yoga, cross-stitching and plays a traditional Chinese instrument, the Pipa. Joining her in Stillwater are her Jeep, Princess Horsey, and her bunny, Rice Ball. “He’s named after the Chinese dessert sesame rice balls, which are sticky rice balls stuffed with sweet sesame sauce,” said Dr. Liu. Her Jeep, Princess Horsey, will surely not go unnoticed on campus. Dr. Liu chose the name because “She’s a Jeep Wrangler. I am the wrangler and she’s the horse. She has eyelashes, blush, lips and a crown.” If you see Dr. Liu and her trusty steed, be sure to give them a wave. in Communication and Information Sciences, from the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information 

Sciences. Dr. Liu has another doctorate in Philosophy in Broadcasting and Television Art which she obtained from Beijing Normal University’s School of Art and Communication. 


Dr. Hwang will also be joining the SMSC this year. Dr. Hwang is originally from Seoul, Korea, but is coming from Madison, Wisconsin where she received her Ph.D. Dr. Hwang is enthusiastic about health communication, “My research centers on how communication technologies and media shape individual health decisions and perceptions.” She hopes to explore this area with the students of OSU’s SMSC. “Dr. Hwang has already jumped right in and is involved in a proposal for research funding with other faculty to study issues of vaccine hesitancy,” said Dr. Johnson. “In the world we currently live in, her research is needed and we are happy to have her on our team,” he added.


Dr. Hwang recently had an article published titled “COVID-19 Vaccination Attitudes and Intention: Message Framing and the Moderating Role of Perceived Vaccine Benefits.” She said that when the pandemic began, “I examined how media or interpersonal communication shaped individual perceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.” Shortly after, the vaccine had become available but Dr. Hwang noticed the prevalent hesitancy in many people. For this reason, Dr. Hwang decided to switch the momentum in a slightly different direction. “I next turned my attention toward developing an effective vaccine communication that helps increase vaccine uptake rate or lower vaccine hesitancy,” said Dr. Hwang, and her article focuses on just that. Her article can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RVRGU7NIS7W5WXDJQZIZ/full?target=10.1080/10810730.2021.1966687


Dr. Hwang loves eating Korean foods. Since this is her seventh year living in the United States, Dr. Hwang has taught herself how to prepare Korean dishes such as her favorite, Gimbap. “I like Gimbap because it is time-efficient,” said Dr. Hwang, “Just like pizza or a sandwich, you can enjoy this while working, watching, or reading.” Gimbap is made of rice with an assortment of vegetables such as pickled radish, spinach, carrots and cucumber wrapped by roasted seaweed. “I hope I have an opportunity that I can cook this for our SMSC students someday,” said Dr. Hwang. 


As we begin this new semester, the School of Media and Strategic Communications is thrilled to have both Dr. Liu and Dr. Hwang become a part of OSU. To read their full biographies, visit https://media.okstate.edu/faculty-staff/graduate-faculty.