RUCAL Faculty

Galina Bolden, Associate Professor, Communication

Dr. Bolden (PhD, UCLA) uses Conversation Analysis to conduct research on talk in Russian and English languages, as well as bilingual Russian-English conversations. She investigates social interactions both in ordinary and institutional settings: conversations between family and friends, doctor-patient interactions conducted with the help of language interpreters, conversations among co-workers at workplaces, and interactions between psychiatrists and people suffering from mental illnesses. She examines how members of different cultural and language communities pursue mutual understanding and construct interpersonal relationships in and through interaction. She is currently researching conversational activities in immigrant families, Russian-language specific conversational practices, as well as interactions in mental health settings.

Alexa Hepburn, Research Professor, Communication

Dr. Hepburn’s research explores the transcription and interactional management of emotion, epistemics and asymmetry. Her work has highlighted limitations in more traditional perspectives on emotion and influence, and supported applied work on emotion in professional client encounters, such as medical consultations and end of life interaction in hospices.  She is currently working closely with video materials of family mealtimes and clinical and counselling encounters, as well as various types of telephone interaction.  She established Loughborough University’s Helpline Research Unit and became its first director; in addition she has built a strong relationship with the UK’s largest helpline accrediting organization, the Helplines Partnership. She is also developing, and delivering, training workshops to practitioners, and co-authoring (with Galina Bolden) a book on transcription for interactional researchers.

Jenny Mandelbaum, Professor, Communication

Dr. Mandelbaum’s (PhD, UT Austin) research uses the methods of Conversation Analysis to examine everyday talk-in-interaction. She is particularly interested in how a variety of aspects of the organization of interaction pertain to social relationships and identities. Her work includes studies of storytelling, repair organization, the management of social knowledge (epistemics), and the implementation and consequences of such actions as recruiting assistance from others, requesting, offering, assessing, and complaining. She is working with a large database of field video-recordings of families engaged in routine activities (eating meals, preparing and cleaning up from them, “hanging out” in front of the TV, doing homework, etc.). Currently, together with her students, she is exploring how parents (and other family members) respond to children’s (including grown children’s) social infractions.

Lisa Mikesell, Assistant Professor, Communication

Dr. Mikesell (PhD, UCLA) investigates the communication and social practices used to negotiate interactions in a variety of health and mental health contexts. Much of her work examines the situated communication practices of individuals diagnosed with neurological and psychiatric disorders to provide a grounded perspective on everyday functioning and community participation. She also examines clinical work practices and clinical reasoning to consider applications of patient-centered constructs such as shared decision making. Her work informs our understanding of best practices, intervention development and implementation and therefore contains a strong applied component, particularly to inquiry in health services.

Jonathan Potter, Dean, School of Communication & Information

Dr. Potter was a key figure in the development of discursive psychology, an approach to psychological matters that draws heavily on the methods of conversation analysis.  He has researched the nature of social science research methods, such as focus groups and interviews.  When not occupied with academic leadership, his recent work has focused on interaction in telephone helplines, the nature of advice giving, directives and threats in family interaction, and laughter.  He hopes to write a book that reworks psychology from an interactional perspective.


RUCAL Students

Alexa Bolaños-Carpio, SC&I PhD Program

Alexa is a PH.D. candidate in Communication at Rutgers University. She is also a faculty member at the University of Costa Rica, and she is pursuing her doctoral degree under a Fulbright-Laspau fellowship. She obtained her M.A. in Linguistics and her B.A. in Spanish Philology from University of Costa Rica. Her research examines aspects of naturally occurring interactions in institutional and everyday settings in Spanish and English. For her dissertation, she is investigating emergency calls in Costa Rica, focusing on direction-giving and place formulations.

Song Hee Park, SC&I PhD Program

Song Hee is a second year Ph.D. student in Communication. She obtained her M.A. and B.A. in English Language and Literature from Yonsei University, South Korea. She uses the methodology of Conversation Analysis to examine talk-in-interaction in Korean and English languages. She investigates both ordinary and institutional contexts, such as video recordings of family mealtimes and clinical encounters. She is particularly interested in participants’ moment-by-moment negotiation of identities and relationships, and their knowledge management in and through interaction.

Darcey Searles, SC&I PhD Program

Darcey is a Ph.D. Candidate in Communication.  She obtained her M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University and her B.A. in Spanish Literature and B.S. in Spanish Education from Boston University, with a minor in Linguistics. Darcey’s research focuses on everyday family interactions, especially those involving younger children. Her current projects include topics such as children using Facetime to show objects to family members and how families with children participate in word definitions as an activity.

Wan Wei, SC&I PhD Program

Wan is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication at Rutgers University. She obtained her M.A. in interpersonal/health communication from University at Albany, SUNY. She studies face-to-face interaction in both everyday and institutional settings. Her research interests include provider-patient communication across different medical contexts, service encounter interactions, repair organization, family communication, and Chinese conversation analysis. Wan’s dissertation draws upon a corpus of video-recorded provider-patient interactions in Chinese hospitals.

Kaicheng Zhan, SC&I PhD Program

Kaicheng is a first year Ph.D. student in Communication. She received two M.A. degrees, one in Linguistics and one in Communication and Rhetorical Studies, both from Syracuse University. During her time at Syracuse University, she also received a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Kaicheng’s research focuses on both everyday and institutional interactions in English and Mandarin Chinese, especially those surrounding topics of food, healthfulness and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

RUCAL Affiliates

Beth Angell, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers

Dr. Angell (PhD, U Wisconsin Madison) conducts research on mental health services for people with serious mental illnesses, particularly on issues of engagement in and adherence to treatment. Her past and current studies in this area have examined how legal and informal strategies are used to promote treatment adherence, as well as the role of the consumer-provider relationship and consumer self-determination in that process. Her current projects include a conversation analytic study of client-provider communication about medication management.

Stephen DiDomenico, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, SUNY Plattsburgh

Dr. DiDomenico’s (PhD, Rutgers) primary research interests lie in the areas of Language and Social Interaction, Health Communication, and Communication Technology. Broadly speaking, his work explores the dynamics of how people jointly construct social activities, identities, and institutions in and through everyday talk. He is particularly interested in the communicative practices through which people seek or provide help for mental-health issues (e.g., suicide, emotional crisis) using different technologically-mediated services (e.g., telephone lines, text messaging, online chat). His research draws upon discourse analytic and ethnographic methods to analyze naturally-occurring social interaction in ordinary and institutional settings. He has previously worked on studies related to storytelling in LGBTQ advocacy groups, technology use and multi-tasking in interaction, and talk during family meal times. 

Heidi Kevoe-Feldman, Associate Professor, Northeastern University

Dr. Kevoe-Feldman’s (PhD, Rutgers) research provides accounts of social conduct in both ordinary and institutional contexts, with a current focus on police-citizen interaction in University settings. She utilizes conversation analysis to examine topics such as accounts in routine police traffic stops, how callers and call takers manage ‘check wellness’ requests to police, and citizens’ reporting tips and rumors to police during a crisis. She has also researched customer service communication, specifically looking at customers’ communication practices for breaking through organizational resistance.

Anita Pomerantz, Professor, Albany, SUNY

Dr. Pomerantz (PhD, UC Irvine) uses audio and videotapes of interaction to analyze the principles relied upon and the methods used for agreeing and disagreeing, seeking information, and negotiating responsibility for blameworthy and praiseworthy deeds. She studies provider-patient roles, patients’ methods for actualizing their agendas, and the work of supervising physicians in ambulatory clinics. More recently she has studied jurors’ practices for taking issue with one another during jury deliberation, ways non-native speakers reply on background knowledge and resources from their first language in managing mutual understanding in their second language, and how recipients analyze the ‘purpose of the query’ in understanding and responding to a prior query.

Jeffrey Robinson, Professor, Portland State University

Dr. Robinson (PhD, UCLA) specializes in Language and Social Interaction, which examines the rules that guide interactants’ use and interpretation of language, and the role of talk-in-interaction in the construction and negotiation of social meanings, identities, and relationships. He also specializes in Health Communication, which examines how and why face-to-face communication (e.g., doctor-patient communication) affects aspects of healthcare and health promotion, including individuals’ physical, emotional, mental, and/or spiritual health.

Tanya Romaniuk, Assistant Professor, Portland State University

Dr. Romaniuk’s (PhD, York U, Canada) research focuses on mass mediated communication (e.g., broadcast news and journalism), language and social interaction, and qualitative methods.  She has analyzed politicians’ laughter in broadcast news interviews, and the gendered nature of media representations of one politician’s laughter, that of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  She has recently published on the ‘double bind’ faced by women politicians, on questioning practices and meta-sexist talk in broadcast news interviews, and on approaches to discourse analysis.  She also studies how researchers make claims about the role of gender in qualitative research, as well as the discursive construction and representation of women in politics.

Alex Tate, University of California, Los Angeles

Alex is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at UCLA, studying doctor-patient interaction in cancer care. More specifically, she looks at treatment decision-making in the context of delicate issues and uncertainty. Other projects include exploring treatment outcomes of mental health issues in primary care and physician solicitation of patient concerns in primary care. She obtained her M.A from UCLA in sociology and her B.A from Northwestern University in sociology.