Florida Tech Professor Receives Humanities Grant to Attend Summer Institute about Southeast Asia

 MELBOURNE, FLA.—Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Florida Institute of Technology associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Communication, was awarded a $3,900 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to attend a five-week long NEH Summer Institute. The institute, “The Dynamics of Cultural Unity and Diversity in Southeast Asia,” will be held at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu this summer.

The institute offers college and university professors the opportunity to study diverse topics in the humanities and to help develop a new area of expertise for teaching undergraduate students. The institute has been hosted by the Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) since 1993. Established in 1990, the ASDP works to infuse the U.S. undergraduate curriculum with Southeast Asian content and perspectives.

“I am excited to be part of this particular institute because it includes sessions about mass media and their use by competing interests in Southeast Asian societies,” said Hatfield Edwards. “It also will discuss the use of social networks and the Internet and how those media tools can transform the region. I look forward to incorporating what I learn in our classes at Florida Tech.”

As a communication scholar, Hatfield Edwards focuses on communication and social issues, with special emphasis on corporate involvement in social issues. She also studies the cultural and societal implications of communicating social issues, particularly in regard to health. She is especially interested in how audiences use mediated messages, interpreting those messages and engaging in discourse with the message creators, opinion leaders and other audience members.

Hatfield Edwards received her master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999 and her doctorate in mass communication from the University of Georgia in 2002. She is the fourth faculty member in the Department of Humanities and Communication to receive such an award.

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