Insight Summit Researcher Information

Academic Researchers

Dr. Courtney Meyers


Bio: Courtney Meyers, Ph.D. is an associate professor in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University and the graduate studies coordinator for the Agricultural Education & Communications Department. She joined Texas Tech in 2008 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Web design, public relations writing, and online media. Her research interests include exploring the use of emerging media in agricultural communications, media coverage of agricultural issues, public perceptions of agricultural topics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Meyers is a member of Texas Tech’s Teaching Academy and has received a number of teaching awards at the college, university, and national levels. Her contributions as an educator are reflected in Texas Tech’s distinction as the top undergraduate agricultural communications program in the nation.

Research: She will share results from her research on visual aspects of communication online looking specifically at how the influence of post characteristics and communicative functions on peoples’ response, engagement, and advocacy efforts. Meyers research looks at the use of emerging media in agricultural communications, media coverage of agricultural issues, public perceptions of agricultural topics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Rebecca Swenson


Bio: Dr. Rebecca Swenson is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural, Food, and Natural Resource Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her research program focuses on how topics and debates related to agriculture, food, and the environment are discussed in the media, by organizations, and among audience members. Specifically, Rebecca studies concepts like community, engagement and dialogue that are core to understanding communication’s role in building relationships. Rebecca also teaches agricultural communication and marketing courses that include topics like science communication, strategic communication, professional writing, audience research, communication evaluation, business presentations, project management, and team communication content. Rebecca has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication. Before going to graduate school, she held various communication and marketing positions at a nonprofit organization, corporation, and public relations agency.

Research: The title of her presentation is “Cultivating conversation in the digital age”. Information is not communication.  When sharing messages online the goal is not simply to transmit a message but to build important connections and relationships with readers. Rebecca Swenson shows how engagement with content can be broken down into a model that moves from message exposure to interactive dialogue. She explores what meaningful social and digital engagement really means for organizations in today’s digital world.

Dr. Shuyang Qu


Bio: Dr. Shuyang Qu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Studies at Iowa State University specializing in Agricultural Communication. Her research focuses on public opinions on agri-food issues and the media effects on individual perceptions of agri-food issues.

Research: Marketers rate online video as their most utilized content medium. This study investigated the effect of three messages about local food delivered via online video on U.S. consumers’ attitudes toward local food. The three 30-second videos each featured one of the documented benefits of local food: high quality, support of local economy, and strengthening of social connection. Results indicated all three video treatments yielded a positive attitude toward local food, while respondents in the control group had a neutral attitude. The video treatment featuring local food’s high quality generated a significantly more favorable local food attitude than the other two video treatments. Although the social connection video treatment generated a positive attitude toward local food based on the real limits, it did not significantly differentiate from the control group. Communicators should consider using similar short, online videos for emphasizing the high quality of local food and its support of the local economy to promote local agricultural products.

Dr. Angie Lindsey

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Bio: Angie B. Lindsey is an assistant professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences working within the PIE Center. Angie received her Ph.D. from the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida in May 2013.

Research: Dr. Lindsey has worked with communities during crisis and will share lessons learned about communication processes during a time of crisis. While online media can play a role she has also learned the importance of having a back-up plan when electronic systems go down.

Student Researchers

Brittany Bowman

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Bio: Brittany Bowman is an agricultural communications master’s student at Oklahoma State University with a research specialty in agritourism marketing.  Growing up on her family’s small farm in Virginia inspired her to become involved in FFA and study dairy science at Virginia Tech.  Before moving to Oklahoma, she worked with Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau, and agriculture policy.

Research: Bowman will share her research on agritourism operations’ Facebook pages and make recommendations for successful Facebook marketing to reach new audiences and provide real-time updates. She will share characteristics such as posting frequency, content of posts, events, and business information.


Bio: Maggie Elliot grew up in Washington state, where her experience working in the orchards and vineyards spurred a career interest in helping agriculturists connect with the public. Now a masters student studying agricultural communications at Texas Tech University, her research explores the priorities of different consumer groups in an effort to aid communicators navigate the implementation of targeted messaging regarding the food and fiber system.

Research: Her study used an area of research called Q Methodology to understand the food perceptions of patrons shopping at a natural food grocer. Participants ranked statements according to levels of agreement, and with the aid of statistical analysis we uncovered patterns and trends in their preferences. 5 distinct personas were derived from this population, with each group desiring something different from the store. This data has widespread implications for marketing purposes, as it yields rich insight into what consumers expect from agriculture.

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