Harte Research Institute Announces New Appointment to HRI Fellows Program

Sining Kong

Dr. Sining Kong, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) was recently selected for a two-year appointment with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at TAMU-CC as a part of the HRI Fellows program. Kong will work alongside Dr. Dale Gawlik, HRI Chair for Conservation and Biodiversity.

“Scientists spend their careers developing new knowledge and communicating it to other professional, but scientists typically are not trained on how to best share that new knowledge with the public,” Gawlik said. “ I am very excited to work with Dr. Kong, tapping into her expertise on how to reach new audiences with information on waterbirds and coastal conservation.” 

The HRI Fellows program, now in its third year, selects scholars from across disciplines at TAMU-CC and promotes interdisciplinary research projects and collaboration between HRI and the university.

HRI Fellows are nominated for their appointment by a current HRI chair, with whom they will collaborate on a shared project that combines their expertise. Each fellow will be provided with seed money by HRI to support their collaborative project. At the end of their appointment, Fellows will present on their collaborative project as part of the HRI Seminar Series.

Kong gained her Ph.D. degree in Mass Communication with a specialization in Public Relations from University of Florida in 2019. Kong will work with Dr. Gawlik regarding waterbird protection. Dr. Kong aims to develop waterbird protection campaign by using various media tools and new technologies.

Her research interests include crisis communication, health communication and digital media. Kong is fascinated by how different types of media and message affect people’s decision making. She has studied how different types of social media and gender stereotype affect crisis communication, how to apply target and tailored message to persuade different groups of people to reduce sugar intake, how to tackle the fear of death to promote organ donation, and how to use new media to promote environmental protection.

Kong says that she was attracted to HRI for its diversity and unlimited collaboration opportunities. In the future, she looks forward to collaborating with scholars from different areas and using communication to help more people.