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minhee choi

Minhee Choi, Ph.D.

Job title: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

Dr. Choi's research focuses on probing the effects of advocacy messages and communication strategies related to controversial social issues in social media on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Minhee Choi, Ph.D., is an advocacy communicator who researches on strategic communication with a particular focus on advocacy and activism. Her current research focuses on probing the effects of advocacy messages and communication strategies related to controversial social issues in social media on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors. Choi is originally from South Korea and worked at nonprofit organizations internationally prior to joining her Ph.D. program.


Q&A with Dr. Choi

Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a little about your educational journey?

I was born and raised in South Korea. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in British and American culture and political science and a master’s degree in media at Sogang University in Seoul. In 2016, I came to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in mass communication at the University of South Carolina. I expect to graduate in August 2020.

When did you first fall in love with your field of study? What made you decide to work in academia?

At the office of PETA U.S. and the Asia-Pacific, I promoted various animal rights campaigns, including on-street demonstrations, media pitches, social media marketing and celebrity marketing. I was also the manager of public relations and the director of international relations for the Korea University Business School. My PR campaign experience in an international nonprofit organization and higher education institution led me to research and teach in academia.

Can you explain the focus of your research?

My research interests center mainly on strategic communication with a particular focus on advocacy and activism. Specifically, I am interested in probing the effects of advocacy messages and communication strategies related to controversial social issues in social media on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors. My research has important practical implications for nonprofit and health organizations in terms of communicating with different types of stakeholders, understanding of the message effects and subsequent individual engagement.

What attracted you to VCU? What are you most excited about in regards to VCU and Richmond?

As an intern at PETA U.S., I worked at its headquarters in Norfolk, Va. Living in Norfolk was such a pleasurable experience. Thus, when I decided to earn my Ph.D. in the U.S., I envisioned eventually working in Virginia. I specifically chose the Robertson School because of its invaluable resources, such as the Media+Health Lab for research on health communications. Moreover, I look forward to benefitting from and contributing to the school’s atmosphere that balances good research and practical teaching.

Can you talk a little about your teaching philosophy? What do you most like about teaching?

My research program and professional experience in international public relations have significantly informed my teaching in the classroom. I truly enjoy sharing my practical experience with my students. My students consistently expressed appreciation for my focus on the balance between the practical and theoretical aspects of public relations. My primary goal as an instructor is to help my students know and experience the practical side of public relations before they face the professional world. Given that public relations is increasingly global, I am motivated to guide my students to embrace the multicultural nature of this field.

Can you tell us either a quirky fact about yourself or some of your hobbies?

I enjoy writing TV drama scripts and thinking of characters, plots and conflicts. I have always wanted to become a writer. I also enjoy practicing yoga for my physical and mental health. I would love to complete yoga teacher training and teach yoga.

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