Summer 2018 Writing Retreat: Keef House

HCAT lab had another writing retreat. In August 2018, we headed to Chicago for the glorious 5 day retreat. Five days! It was amazing.

Our house was a small mansion located just north of Chicago. We were told that the house was once owned by Chief Keef. I’m not sure if that story is true, but we decided to name it the Keef House.

We ate deep dish pizza, put post-it notes on the walls to track progress, and worked, worked, worked. Nick made salmon one night. Jake didn’t sleep.

The Keef House writing retreat was hosted by Courtney Scherr and Lisa Guntzviller. It was one of the best retreats of all time.

Teaching Grad Stats in the Summer

Most summers I teach an introductory graduate stats course (HEDU 7103). I jokingly call it stats zero as it is designed to prepare students for future stats training.  It’s wonderful to teach stats in the summer. It is exhausting, but you really get to see growth in the students. Summer teaching is my favorite.

March: Dogfight

If you ran into a lab member in March, then we probably looked busy. And Jake was definitely drinking some form of caffeine. That’s because we were working hard to get 7 article submitted to 2 different conferences.  The end of March is home to the submission deadline for the National Communication Association (NCA) and…

Spring: research, research, research

HCAT has lots of research in progress. We are writing IRBs, designing studies, collecting and analyzing data, and writing manuscripts. It’s great to have so much activity in the lab.  Recently, I started using post-it notes to keep track of all the studies in progress. It helps me to visually track the studies and it…

Manu defends her prospectus

Manu successfully defended her prospectus on February 7th, 2018. In HCAT lab, the prospectus defense is a cumulative process that builds on the comprehensive exams and the preprospectus. Her next, and final, meeting is the dissertation defense. Manu’s dissertation consists of three studies: a meta-analysis, a large visual communication experiment, and a biophysiological lab experiment.…

Sundance 2018

We love to go to Sundance Film Festival each year because (1) it is awesome, (2) it is nearby – Park City, UT), and (3) it is a wonderful opportuunity to learn about cutting edge communication technology (e.g., VR and AR).  Sundance is approximately 11 days long and the lab was out and about the…

Death narrative research in Health Psychology

Mindy Krakow’s excellent dissertation research on death narratives was recently published in Health Psychology. This research is part of a larger program that seeks to systematically investigate and compare stories where characters live (survivor narratives) or die (death narratives). We start with the assumption that both nareative forms can exert influence; the question is when…

L16 light camera

The lab just purchased a 16 lens Light camera. We were on the waiting list for about 2 years. This camera takes 16 shots at once so it is a cutting edge item. It might be the solution to several key problems facing our research. Fingers crossed.  Excited to see what it can do. 

Best Article in Risk Analysis

We just found out our 2017 publication in Risk Analysis was selected as a best article by the editors. The article is: Jensen, J. D., Pokharel, M., Scherr, C. L., King, A. J., Brown, N., & Jones, C. (2017). Communicating uncertainty to the public: How amount and source of uncertainty impact fatalism, backlash, and overload.…

2017 HCAT Writing Retreat – Adobe House

Once again, HCAT lab hosted a writing retreat in beautiful Park City, UT. The writing retreat was October 11th – 14th, 2017. The attendees were Lisa Guntzviller, Andy King, Courtney Scherr, Kevin K. John, Manusheela Pokharel, Chelsea Ratcliff, Kaylee Crossley, Katheryn Christy, Hannah Badal, Kevin Coe, and Brandon Rivera-Melo. We missed Rob Yale (a lot).…

The Dread Professor Jensen

Every HCAT writing retreat begins with an roundtable session where attendees detail what they will be working on. Typically, the roundtable is led by Jake, but this year, in honor of the 30yh anniversary of The Princess Bride, it was led by the Dread Professor Jensen. He told attendees to “work hard, submit manuscripts” as…

Kevin John’s Dissertation Published in JHC

                    The first article from Kevin John’s dissertation was just published in the Journal of Health Communication. In that article, Kevin articulates a framework for studying how visual images might impact visual skill (what he labels the visual skill acquisition model). He then demonstrates how the…

HCAT day retreat in Chicago

HCAT decided to host a day retreat during the AEJMC conference in Chicago. The retreat was held in Courtney’s lab space in downtown Chicago which happened to be a few short blocks from the conference hotel.  After writing all day, the lab ventured off to the Barcade for fun and drinks. We ate popsicles with…

College Writing Retreat

In June, I hosted the first College of Humanities writing retreat. Twelve faculty and post-docs participated, and spent 3 days writing grant/fellowship applications at a ski resort in Park City, UT.  We plan to run another retreat in June 2018. 

Kate Publishes Admiration Research in JHC!

                        Kate Christy recently published an article evaluating how admiration and memorability impact the processing of mammography PSAs. The research was published in the Journal of Health Communication (one of our favorite outlets!) and provides evidence that admired models have greater impact on intentions…

VR video – A Bad Air Day in Salt Lake City

My lab recently purchased a Nokia Ozo pro grade immersive camera. As a test of the camera, we decided to film both a good air quality day in the valley (August 30th, 2016 – a green day), and a bad air quality day (January 1, 2017 – an orange day). We filmed the valley from a trail just below the H Rock. The video begins with a good air quality day (August 30th) and then transitions to a bad air quality day (January 1st).

The Sundance Film Festival just launched a new initiative focused on climate change and environmental awareness. The 2017 festival showcases 14 innovative projects devoted to this theme, including An Inconvenient Sequel (which HCAT members attended last night!). Our air quality immersive video parallels Sundance’s initiative as well as their groundbreaking work in VR.

Click here to view our video on YouTube. Make sure you have the YouTube app downloaded in advance:


HCAT goes to Sundance 2017

The Sundance Film Festival is a wonderful gathering of media and communication professionals in Park City, UT. As such, HCAT lab spends quite a bit of time going to shows, meeting with industry folks, and checking out the latest gadgets. For example, last year we were introduced to the Nokia Ozo camera at Sundance, and…

iMotions training

HCAT lab recently purchased a biophysiological measurement system from iMotions. The system allows us to measure eye movements, emotional response, and heart rate (among others). We’ve been interested in biophysiological measurement for years, and have conducted several eye tracking studies via the labs at Texas Tech  (Andy King) and BYU (Kevin John). But now we…

2016 HCAT Writing Retreat

HCAT lab held another writing retreat October 12th – 16th, 2016 in Park City, UT. The writing retreat was held at a 5 bedroom house located just above main street in old town (you can rent it here). Fourteen people attended the retreat, including folks from Texas, Illinois, and Maryland. We had two research groups at the retreat: a skin cancer research group and a psychological reactance group. Both groups wrote manuscripts, analyzed data, and designed future studies.

The 2016 retreat also saw two different trips to the emergency room. Jake was in the emergency room when one of his sons developed a nasty case of parainfluenza. Kevin John ended up in the emergency room with appendicitis!

Despite these obstacles, the retreat was a huge success. We wrote from the moment the house opened on the 12th until 2 am in the morning the night of the 15th. Lisa Guntzviller led a workshop on building tables in Excel, and Jake led a workshop on the Johnson-Neyman (JN) technique.

The tattoo sleeves made a second appearance too. As folks finished papers, they were rewarded with the awesome sleeves. Nick Carcioppolo and Rob Yale weren’t able to make it this year, so we made Nick and Rob paper cutouts – and enjoyed taking crazy photos with them.

It was another wonderful writing retreat!



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June: A month of Grant Writing

June is a major deadline for NIH. Given that, HCAT spends most of May and the beginning of June writing and submitting grants. This year, Manu, Chelsea, Jeremy, and I worked on 3 grants (all due mid-June). Two R21 grants, and one P30 grant. It can be exhausting, but the students also learn how to write grants by helping to put together all of the components. SuperPhoto_160517204338

Montana State Champs – 20 years later

Approximately 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of participating in Montana High School Speech & Drama. I competed in Humorous Duo Acting with my good friend, Rusty Limesand. He had a great sense of humor, and an amazing threshold for physical pain (which came in handy given our love of vaudevillian comedy).

My senior year, we were lucky enough to win the state title in Humorous Duo Acting, and to take home the team state championship in Drama.

After high school, Rusty became a prison guard, and a cell extractor (they guy who removes unruly prisoners from their cells).

I went to college and won a national championship in collegiate speech and drama, before continuing forward for my Ph.D.

We were an odd pair in many ways. He was a jokester, who loved big, physical comedy. I was more cerebral, and liked writing more than anything else. I always wrote our routines, an approach that would put me against the grain in college speech and drama (where it is rare for people to write their own material).

Sadly, Rusty passed away in 2011 (in a bizarre turn, his story was part of an episode of Dateline NBC). But I still have lots of great memories of him, humorous duo, and our time together. Thinking back on it, 20 years later, it seems like another life.



HCAT at BEA in Las Vegas

Mindy Krakow and I traveled to BEA this year to present research and receive a few awards. Mindy received an award for her dissertation (congrats Mindy!) and we won a top paper in the research division (congrats us!). We also enjoyed stopping by NAB and learning more about VR equipment. Nokia was there, so it was a great opportunity to chat with them about our new camera.

Plus we went to two great shows: La Reve and Ka.

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HCAT lab wins Golden Monograph

The Golden Anniversary Monograph Awards were created to mark NCA’s 50th Anniversary in 1964. Originally, there were awards given to monographs and to books. The book award was deleted and later reinstated as the Diamond Anniversary Book Award. The Golden Anniversary Monograph Awards are presented to the most outstanding scholarly monograph(s) published during the previous calendar year.

My randomized controlled trial published in Social Science & Medicine was honored with the 2015 Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from NCA. You can read more about it here. You can see a list of past award winners here.


Chamber House Writing Retreat – Fall 2015

HCAT lab held another writing retreat October 8th – 15th, 2015 in Park City, UT. The writing retreat was held at a 5 bedroom house located just above main street in old town (you can rent it here). Courtney and I gave a workshop on writing NIH grants, and we also reviewed vitas and (for…

The Origin Place of Jake

I grew up on a little farm outside of Circle, Montana. In August 2015, I took a few photos of that farm. It’s always neat to see where others are from. Given that, here’s where I am from. This is my origin place, so to speak. In super hero mythology, this would be the place I received my powers. 🙂

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Dogfish Beer in Utah?

Woolrich – the flannel shirt maker – and dogfish head brewery recently formed a partnership. The Woolrich guys came out to salt lake city for the outdoor expo, and they also hosted a big sundance party in park city. For the party, dogfish head brewed a new beer called the Pennsylvania tuxedo, an IPA infused with spruce tips. After the party, 4 kegs were leftover. The Woolrich guys didn’t want to fly them back, so they gave them to the owner of the rental house.

That guy is my neighbor.


That’s how Mindy and I ended up with several kegs of Dogfish Head. The world needs to know.10968515_10104653968107420_6838496867614776779_n[1]

Writing Retreat at the Roundabout House

HCAT lab held another writing retreat October 16th – 19th, 2014 in Park City, UT. The writing retreat was held at a 5 bedroom cabin just off the old town roundabout (you can rent it here). Nick Carcioppolo led a workshop on Mplus, I led a workshop on validity in confirmatory factor analysis, and we worked on 15 manuscripts, 8 of which were completed by the end of the retreat. A pool table on the top floor of the house was our relaxation sport of choice. We also enjoyed trying to ride the house elevator, which was wonderfully inconsistent. Finally, we visited Olympic Park during this retreat, and that is quickly becoming a tradition.

You can see photos from the retreat here:

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The Great Beard Contest

In May of 2014, Professor Kevin Coe challenged me to a “beard off.” A beard off is a contest wherein two people decide to grow beards and see who has the “best” beard at the end of the day. I agreed.


Typically, a beard off is started in the fall or winter. Why? Because beards are hot. And damn are they itchy. Especially when it is hot. But Coe wanted a beard off in the summer, so we did it.


On August 8th, 2014 we declared an end to the beard off. We took these photos, then immediately went home and shaved. “Never again,” we both declared.


The photos were posted to Facebook. In a close vote, Coe was declared the beard winner. His prize? Never to grow a beard again. 🙂


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HCAT goes Curling

HCAT wanted to go curling. But you have to take curling lessons before you can officially join the league. Oh, and you better bring your own stone. League stones are for chumps.


We had a few drinks before curling lessons. Everyone but KKJ. Only one person fell on the ice and seriously hurt his back. You guessed it: KKJ. 🙂


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Dallas Writing Retreat

HCAT held a writing retreat March 14th – 17th, 2014 in Dallas, TX. Twelve faculty and grads attended the retreat. Jake led a workshop on writing grants, and we also talked a lot about publishing strategies. Jake’s consumption of Mountain Dew during the retreat reached epic levels, I think I slept a total of 2 hours. An air hockey table provided us with quite a bit of fun. A pool also occupied our time.    The retreat was put on by HCAT members Rob Yale  (Assistant Professor, University of Dallas) and Andy King (Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University). A great time was had by all.

This was the first retreat to have it’s own logo:

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Nordic House Writing Retreat in Park City

HCAT lab held another writing retreat October 11th – 14th, 2013 in Park City, UT. The writing retreat was held at a 5 bedroom cabin in Deer Valley that described itself as the Nordic House (you can rent it here). Eleven faculty and graduate students attended the retreat. I led a workshop on Lisrel and confirmatory factory analysis, Lisa Guntzviller led a workshop on bibliography software, and Rob Yale took us all out to dinner at the Blue Iguana (which would become a writing retreat tradition). We also discovered numerous quirks such as my love of high quality scrap paper and Kevin Coe’s need to have lots of gum on hand while writing. Finally, Rob Yale impressed everyone (as he tends to) with an amazing suitcase.

We worked on 12 manuscripts during the writing retreat, 7 of which were finished by end. We played an excessive amount of shuffleboard.


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The cartoon we made

Once upon a time, I animated a cartoon. It was animated in the style of Chuck Jones (i.e., Road Runner artist). I created this cartoon for research on media violence. You can read the subsequent research here.


It was created using an early version of Flash. I remember working on this for days and days. I love to make things. It’s my nature.


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NCA Grant Writing Workshop

HCAT lab members Andy King, Nick Carcioppolo, and Jake all attended a Grant Writing Workshop hosted by NCA in Chicago. We worked furiously on grant applications, and Nosh, Dale, and Susan took us out drinking.

NCA Grant Writing Workshop_July 2010 Grant Writing Workshop

Jake gets a Pie in the Face

My undergraduate students begged me to “take a pie in the face” as part of a cancer research fundraiser. As a cancer researcher, I had to say yes. Didn’t I? I think I did.

Regardless, my students slammed several pies in my face on April 11, 2010.

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The WORD Intervention

In 2010, we won a subcontract on a Department of Defense/Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center Grant. Our job was to conduct research to inform the design of an HPV vaccination campaign. To that end, we created experimental stimuli to test threat-to-efficacy ratio hypotheses at the heart of EPPM research. This required the creation of lots and lots and lots of stimuli – one for each ratio combination. Here they are, provided for your use and pleasure. Seriously. Feel free to use them.


Here’s the article citation:

Carcioppolo, N.,* Jensen, J. D., Wilson, S. E., Collins, W. B., Carrion, M., & Linnemeier, G. (2013). Examining HPV threat-to-efficacy ratios in the extended parallel process model. Health Communication, 28, 20-28.

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All the Yo-Yos

Research sometimes requires you to buy odd things. For example, I once bought hundreds of yo-yos. I bought so many yo-yos that the company selling them designated me a “toy store.” That’s a true story.


Why was I buying all those yo-yos? We were running a study in several elementary schools, and we couldn’t pay the kids in cash. But we could give them yo-yos for doing the study. So, hundreds of yo-yos.


Notice how long my hair is. You would think this was a hair growing contest, but I believe I was just lazy. The life of an Assistant Professor.

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Distinguished Article in Health Communication

Dan O’Keefe and I received the Distinguished Article/Book Chapter in Health Communication from NCA’s Health Communication Division. The award was for our meta-analysis of loss/gain framing research. That project took several years to complete, and yielded multiple publications, but our analysis in Journal of Health Communication seemed to have the biggest impact. I learned a…

Jake goes to China

In 2008, I journeyed to China as part of a delegation from Purdue University. We attended a Health Communication conference, met with several universities, and traveled.   Fun Fact: I was a Political Science and East Asian Studies major in college. The latter focused on Chinese history, culture, and language.