Dr. Sarah Vaala joined the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication in 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication. Her research focuses on health and learning implications of media in the lives of youth and families, as well as the ways that families and caregivers make decisions about media use. At HPU, Dr. Vaala teaches courses in research methods and health communication within the Strategic Communication undergraduate and masters programs and the Communication and Business Leadership program. She strives to teach her students the research tools at their disposal for answering intriguing and practical questions, and that “there is nothing more practical than a good theory” (Kurt Lewin).
Dr. Vaala completed her Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. As a graduate student, she worked on a research team funded by the “Ready to Learn” initiative which examined young children’s television-viewing and language learning. Following her graduate studies, she completed post-doctoral fellowships in industry and academia. Dr. Vaala is a Senior Fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. She currently directs an undergraduate research scholar program at High Point University in partnership with the Cooney Center. (https://www.highpoint.edu/communication/cooney-center-at-sesame-workshop/)