About Me

My name is Carlina DiRusso and I’m a doctoral candidate (ABD) at Penn State University in the Bellisario College of Communications. I have a BA in Strategic Communication from the Ohio State University and a MA in Communication Theory & Methodology from Cleveland State University.

My interest in studying media began while working in the music industry in Los Angeles. After observing the impact of sponsored social media content, I grew curious about the persuasive potential of social media: Why do social media have such a remarkable power to persuade? How predictable are those effects? How can we harness that knowledge for social good?
Now, as a researcher, I primarily study health and science communication, information processing and persuasion. I am particularly interested in experimental designs that examine message features and visuals on social media, especially when the message source is an organization. The common goal of my research is to uncover how individuals process persuasive social media content to help communicators effectively design messages containing health and science information.
As an instructor, I hope to inspire my students to be curious about media and its impact on individuals and society, teaching them to think critically while also garnering practical skills for their future careers. The transient, uncertain and exciting nature of working with undergraduate student inspires me to constantly seek and develop new ways to effectively teach. My teaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of empathy, confidence, engagement and curiosity.  
In my free time, I enjoy traveling, trying new foods, painting, creative writing and taking advantage of Central Pennsylvania’s beautiful hiking trails.

Overlook on Mount Nittany

© 2020 by Carlina DiRusso

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