Below are two lists: (1) students currently working in the HCAT lab and (2) former HCAT students (with their current place of employment).


Current Students



Postdoctoral Fellows


Melinda “Mindy” Krakow: Post-Doctoral Fellow, National Cancer Institute – On the Market Fall 2018

Mindy Krakow (Ph.D., MPH) obtained her doctorate from the Department of Communication at the University of Utah in May 2015. After completing her doctorate, Mindy accepted a prestigious four-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In the first year of the fellowship, she obtained an MPH at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health followed by a three year postdoc fellowship appointment at NCI. At present, Mindy is a senior Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at NCI. Her primary research program draws from social and behavioral scientific theories and epidemiology to investigate cancer communication through survey and experimental methodology. Current projects include narrative persuasion messaging for cancer prevention, eyetracking studies of digital cancer media, family genetic communication, and implementation of rural cancer communication services. Mindy brings ten years of professional experience in mass media (most recently CBS Radio) prior to earning her doctoral degree.


Sean Upshaw: Post-Doctoral Fellow, HCAT lab – On the Market Fall 2018.

Sean Upshaw (Ph.D) is a postdoctoral fellow in the Health Communication and Technology (HCAT) lab. He received his doctorate from The Cathy Hughes School of Communication at Howard University in May 2018. Sean’s research interests include health and cancer communication, media representation of health narratives, health literacy, and health disparities. Prior to his doctorate, Sean earned an MA in Psychological Anthropology and a B.A. in Biomedical Illustration from the University of Memphis. Sean’s hobbies involve traveling, reading, volunteering, video games, and much more.



Doctoral Students


Manusheela “Manu” Pokharel: 4th Year Doctoral student, University of Utah – On the Market Fall 2018.

Manusheela (Manu) Pokharel is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. Her research focusses on the strategic communication of health information to the public. She utilizes foundational approaches to strategic communication—audience segmentation/targeting and message development/testing—to engage pressing issues in health communication. Her primary research program investigates the persuasive impact of visual message features on knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in the context of cancer prevention and control.

Manu is a recipient of a prestigious 2018-2019 Steffensen Cannon Fellowship, awarded by the Graduate School at the University of Utah. She holds a Master of Science in Health Promotion from the University of Utah. Prior to moving to the United States, Manu worked as a nursing instructor in Nepal. She also gained experience working in rural Nepal advocating preventive health care and providing training to local healthcare providers as a field officer in a non-governmental organization.


Elizabeth “Liz” Giorgi: 1st Year Doctoral student, University of Utah – On the Market Fall 2020.




MA Students


Liane O’Neill: 1st Year MA student, University of Utah.

Liane is pursuing a master’s degree in communication at the University of Utah with an emphasis in Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk (CommSHER). She completed undergraduate degrees in marketing and journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, graduating Cum Laude.

Prior to beginning her master’s work, Liane worked as an account executive at a communications agency, specializing in public relations and integrated account strategy. She is driven by her curiosity in researching impactful communications that improve humanity and the environment.


Rachael Katz: 1st Year MA student, University of Utah.

After graduation from Cal Poly with a major in communication studies and a minor in psychology, Rachael is continuing her education by pursuing a masters in communication with and emphasis in health communication. Her interest in this topic was fostered while writing her undergrad senior project which researched how nonverbal communication and framing influence decision making in a medical setting.

Before pursing her masters, Rachael worked with many health oriented non-profits, such as Make-a-Wish Foundation and The American Heart Association.


Former Students

Katheryn Christy (Ph.D., 2016): Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kevin K. John (Ph.D., 2015): Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University

Lisa Guntzviller (Ph.D., 2013): Assistant Professor, University of Illinois

Courtney L. Scherr (Ph.D., 2013): Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Andy J. King (Ph.D., 2012): Assistant Professor, Iowa State University

Nick Carcioppolo (Ph.D., 2012): Assistant Professor, University of Miami

Robert Yale (Ph.D., 2011): Assistant Professor, University of Dallas

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