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Julia Daisy Fraustino

Julia Daisy Fraustino

Associate Professor | Public Relations
Reed School of Media and Communications

Julia Daisy Fraustino, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of strategic communication at the WVU College of Creative Arts and Media. She is founding director of the Public Interest Communication Research Lab (PIC Lab) in the WVU Media Innovation Center.

Specializing in risk, emergency, crisis, and disaster communication science with emphasis on community resilience and ethics, Fraustino often focuses her research on public interest areas related to natural disasters, public health, and science communication. She has authored more than 75 journal articles, book chapters, peer-reviewed conference proceedings and presentations, and government reports.

She has worked on grants and contracts with funding from entities such as the AAP, CDC, DARPA, DHS, and NSF. She currently leads several funded public health and public interest research projects focusing on data-driven strategic communication to enhance positive social and behavioral change. Related to a few of those projects, she has served on the state’s Joint Interagency Task Force on COVID-19 since 2020, contributing to evidence-based messaging for pandemic response. The latter efforts led to Fraustino being decorated with the U.S. Army Civilian Commendation Medal for her exceptional service to the state and nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, work for which she was also named a 2021 West Virginia Woman Making History by the WV Immunization Network and was honored with an MVP Research Award from the WVU Office of the Provost.

Fraustino’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally. For a few examples, she has earned several top research paper awards from AEJMC, ICA and NCA. She was named a national 2017-2018 AEJMC Emerging Scholar. She also was awarded the 2018 Doug Newsom Award for Research in Global Ethics and Diversity from the AEJMC PR Division; was the 2017 Reed College of Media Faculty Research Award recipient; and earned a 2016 national Frank Prize in Public Interest Communication for her research on the CDC’s zombie apocalypse preparedness campaign. In 2015, she received the national Most Promising Professor Award from the AEJMC Mass Communication and Society Division as well as the Charles Richardson Award for the most outstanding Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. She was a START/DHS 2014-2015 Terrorism Research Award Fellow.

Fraustino teaches several courses at undergraduate and graduate levels, often using a service-learning approach to enable students to put their work to good use for organizations and causes in Appalachian communities. She is a Sam Walton Fellow as faculty advisor for Enactus West Virginia University and is faculty advisor for A Moment of Magic WVU. She practiced professional strategic communication for clients in for-profit, non-profit, and government realms—experiences she brings to her teaching, research, and mentorship activities.

She earned a B.A. with a double major in public relations and philosophy from the University of Scranton, an M.A. in media studies with a concentration in strategic communication from Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. in communication with emphasis in crisis and risk communication from the University of Maryland.