Graduate Student Spotlight: Melissa Abo

Missie Abo

Within moments, a person’s life can be completely altered, leaving them with unanswered questions. For communication graduate student Melissa Abo, this moment was when her not quite 2-year-old daughter went into anaphylactic shock from an intense allergy to peanuts.

Since this incident, Abo has found an interest in persuasion altruism, especially as it relates to health and the environment. Abo’s research primarily focuses on gaining knowledge on the behavior of individuals who are inconvenienced due to something, which in turn helps someone who is unknown to them.

The support of Abo’s colleagues made her time at Ohio State special. When it comes to research, Abo said members in the School of Communication are cooperative and not competitive. This supportive atmosphere allowed for countless collaboration opportunities and additional assistance. Abo won several awards for her research. Most notably, she received the Kentucky Academy of Science Award and the Modern Languages and Culture Award. Additionally, her work was published in the Journal of Health Communication and the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

In addition to conducting research, Abo spends her day teaching undergraduate students and loves being able to incorporate her research into the curriculum. From a young age, she looked forward to the first day of school, specifically the new pencils and notebooks that accompany the excitement of the new academic year. However, it was the inspiring instructors she encountered throughout her years in school that ultimately prompted her passion for teaching.

Originally from upstate New York, Abo attended Corning Community College and obtained an associate’s degree in liberal arts. From there, she went to the small private school Alfred University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in experimental psychology. Following her undergraduate career, she worked in Japan teaching English to adults for two years.

When she moved back to the United States, Abo attended Western Kentucky University and received her master’s degree in experimental psychology. Abo then attended Ohio State, where she received her master’s degree in communication. She now calls Columbus home and is currently in Ohio State’s communication PhD program, focusing primarily on health communication.

Abo is scheduled to graduate this summer and plans to keep working in academia within the university environment, where she hopes to have many first days of classes, filled with new notebooks and pencils.

Article written by student Salma Abdel-Latif