SRS Spotlight: Anthony Dudo
The Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations is home to many astounding professors, each with their own stories on how they started on one career path and ended up on another. Texas Advertising and Public Relations (TAPR) would like to introduce a segment called “SRS Spotlight” to help students become more familiar with professors and their research focus.
1. Where did you attend school for your undergraduate degree and what was your major? Where did you attend school for your post-graduate degree(s)?
I earned my BA from Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts college with a leafy, green campus near Philadelphia PA. I majored in communications and minored in sociology. I earned my MA in communications research from University of Delaware, and my PhD in mass communication from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
2. How did you first get involved in research?
As a Master’s student I got involved in one of the first research efforts to understand how political late night comedies (in this case, The Daily Show) was contributing to viewers’ political perceptions and behaviors. It was really fun and the work ultimately helped demonstrate how this genre of shows can be a key source of political information for Americans, often more so than traditional news programming. I then went on to focus on how media influences people’s perceptions about scientific issues.
3. What is your research about?
I study the intersection of science, media, and society. The majority of my research is focused on helping to improve scientists’ communication abilities. Scientists have traditionally struggled with public communication and I want my research to help alleviate this struggle and turn scientists into more thoughtful, effective, and strategic communicators. When they communicate better it benefits our economy, policy, democracy, and quality of life. In essence, I study the PR of science.
4. What led you to becoming a professor at UT?
I fell in love with research and teaching as a graduate student and desperately wanted to become a professor at a top-notch university. When I got an opportunity to join the faculty at UT, my decision was simple.
5. What is one of the most rewarding things about being a professor?
The students. The students. The students. Everyday I learn something new from my students. So many of my students are talented and passionate. They are marvelous teachers.
6. What advice do you have for students looking to pursue their Masters or Ph.D. in the future?
Understand that for most students the graduate school experience is starkly different than undergrad. One must be extremely passionate about a subject matter before she or he takes the plunge into grad studies. It’s this passion that will allow you to delve deep into a topic for years. In my experience, students without this authentic passion and self-awareness struggle in grad school.
7. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were in undergrad?
It is really the only time in your life when your ‘job' (so-to-speak) can be 100% focused on reading and learning. I miss having huge chunks of time when I could sit with a coffee while flipping the pages of a book. If that sounds romantic, it’s meant to. Unfettered learning is both a joy an immense privilege. Take it all in and recognize that learning is a habit-of-mind that will set you up for a gratifying and rewarding life.
8. What class/classes are you teaching?
I’ve been teaching our School’s Intro to ADV and IBP class for more than 5 years now. I love it. It can be challenging for the students, but it’s stimulating and serves as the gateway to the major. Teaching this class enables me to connect with many students who are trying to figure out their major and professional trajectory. It’s an honor to play a role in that process every semester. I also teach an intro-level undergrad- and grad-course in science communication. I developed this course last year and it’s been a remarkable success so far. It’s opening students’ eyes to professional opportunities that many didn’t previously know even existed.
9. What is one of your favorite coffee or food spots in Austin?
Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza. What an amazing place. The pizza is divine. Their beer selection is glorious. And my three kids love it there because it’s so beautiful. Just don’t go to Stanley's in the summer because it’s unbearably hot. I’m also hopelessly addicted to Torchy’s queso.