(Posted January 30, 2017)

Sarah Worley, assistant professor of communication
Sarah Worley, assistant professor of communication

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Sarah Worley, assistant professor of communication and director of community-engaged teaching and learning, will speak at Juniata College on “Comparing the Coverage of Virtual Marches and Hacktivism Over 16 Years: A Qualitative Frame Analysis of News Discourse,” at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

            The lecture is free and open to the public. The talk is part of the Bookend Seminar Lecture Series, featuring  monthly talks by Juniata faculty members throughout the academic year.

            Worley, whose presentation is based on her doctoral scholarship and dissertation, analyzed 243 news stories over 16 years related to two online protest tactics: virtual marches and online hacktivism. Over the course of her research, Worley found that the mainstream news media framed such online activities as “ineffectual or illegitimate forms of political participation,” though for different reasons.

The results of her research pointed to media coverage that tended to marginalize, delegitimize and stigmatize both the participants who take part in such online protests, and the movements that attract those participants. She will outline how the public perception of news coverage must be revised before online direct-action tactics are accepted as legitimate political participation.

            Worley earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and philosophy in 2000 from Juniata. Before starting her career in higher education, she worked as Advantage program director and assistant coach for SCORE! Educational Center in Baltimore, Md. from 2000 to 2001, and in Denver, Colo., from 2002 to 2004.

            Worley went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado in 2003 and earned a doctorate in 2016 from Penn State University. She returned to Juniata in 2004 as an instructor in communication and was promoted to assistant professor in 2011.

            She also serves as the college’s director of community-engaged teaching and learning, where she helps establish and nurture community partnerships. She also works directly with faculty colleagues to incorporate community-engaged learning into Juniata courses. She is chair of Juniata’s Service Learning Advisory Committee.

Worley teaches a variety of courses at Juniata, including communication topics such as public speaking, message analysis and group communication. In her group communication course, student teams complete service learning projects for local nonprofit organizations. She also teaches a study abroad course every other year in partnership with the Institute of Journalism and Public Relations at the Westfalische Fachhochschule in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

            She served as a judge for the Bailey Oratorical Contest in 2002 and 2004 and now helps to oversee the competition. She also won the Bailey Oratorical Contest in 1999.

            She is a member of the American Association of University and College Women, Pennsylvania Communication Association, National Communication Association and belongs to the honor societies Omicron Delta Kappa and Lambda Pi Eta. She has made numerous scholarly presentations as  meetings of the National Communication Association and other professional organizations.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.