Graduate Spotlight: Kate Luong

Kate T. Luong Kate T. Luong has dedicated 10 years of her life to communication. She came to the United States from Vietnam as an 18-year-old to attend college. Currently, she is fully immersed in a PhD program at The Ohio State University researching self-concept and its relationship with the media.

As an undergraduate she studied communication with a concentration in public relations at California State University, Fullerton from 2008 to 2012. Her original post-graduate plan included working for a year in the United States before returning back to Vietnam. After deciding the job world wasn’t for her, her focus turned to returning to school.

The Ohio State University became her home after attending a visitation day. Her interactions with the other graduate students and faculty cemented that Ohio State was the place for her.

“They [faculty] made me feel like I would be able to do what I want and pursue my research interests here,” Luong said.

During her time in the School of Communication graduate department she has appreciated the support and independence given to the students so they can take charge on projects. Through this freedom, Luong has continued following her passions through her research.           

Luong’s research interests stemmed from her undergraduate honors thesis work. Her thesis was focused on the media portrayal of men and women in terms of conflict. After encouragement from her professors she chose to do a masters program that evolved into a PhD program.

“My main research interest concerns how individual's self-concept and identity affect media use and how media effects influence the self. I explore this relationship within the context of entertainment media, narrative, science communication, and gender-related issues,” Luong said.

Luong said research interests often come from personal experiences, and the experience that inspired her research stemmed from when Luong returned home to Vietnam and noticed she thought, felt and behaved differently. This piqued her interest in self-concept and how it influences beliefs and behaviors. She is also passionate about getting more women in science so they can advocate for social change and better representation.

“A lot of the media we consume for entertainment purposes…have influences on our perception of ourselves and the world,” Luong said.

Luong has two years left in her graduate research program and has both personal and professional goals. She hopes to get a job in academia and take advantage of all the teaching and research experience she can while at Ohio State. In the long term, she would like to encourage and increase women’s representation in science and come up with message design and strategies to more effectively communicate scientific information to the general public.

Article written by student Annie O’Neill