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12-16-2004

Clarkson Honors Student Will Address National Writing Conference

Romana Semouchtchak, a junior studying e-Business in the Honors Program at Clarkson University, will accompany Brenton Faber, professor of Technical Communications, to the University of California, Santa Barbara, to co-present research on the public representation of nanoscale science and technology at a conference the first week in February.

Faber and Semouchtchak will be joining researchers from across North America to discuss current issues in writing and communications research. Semouchtchak is part of an undergraduate research group Faber created with the help of the National Science Foundation to study how nanoscience and technology has been portrayed in written media. Referring to work at the scale of one-billionth of a meter (a human hair is approximately 80,000 nanometers in diameter), nanoscience is a cross-disciplinary field involving molecular-level research in biology, chemistry, electronics, and physics.

Faber's group is examining how nanoscale research has been presented in mass media newspapers and magazines. The research should help scientists better understand how the public is informed about new scientific research and potentially the group's research may be able to predict public attitudes about the new science. "Newspapers and magazines constitute a key device for informing interested people about science," said Faber. "Public attitudes about stem-cell research, genetically modified crops, and even global warming have been tremendously influenced by what we read and hear from news sources." By tracking these news sources, Faber hopes his group will be able to track public concerns and important issues that might face the nanotech community.

Faber is an associate professor in the Technical Communications Department at Clarkson University. Technical communications students study and learn to use different forms of media including the worldwide Web, radio, television and traditional print media. The program emphasizes real-world learning and student research projects. Most technical communications students are involved in project-based learning and undergraduate research opportunities.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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