Who We Are

Faculty and Staff

Director:  Patricia Search
Department of Communication and Media
Email:  searcp@rpi.edu
Patricia Search conducts research in cross-cultural communication and multisensory interaction design. She received a Fulbright award to work with two Australian universities on computer interface designs for Indigenous cultures. She creates art installations that explore the semiotics of interactive computing and multimodal information design. She served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Visual Literacy.

Communication Practices Lead Faculty:  Barbara Lewis
Department of Communication and Media
Email:  lewisb2@rpi.edu
Dr. Barbara Lewis, ’99, is Faculty Lead for the Center for Global Communication+Design. She truly enjoys reading and talking about all kinds of communication projects with writers and has been working in writing and speaking centers for a very long time. She was actually a consultant in RPI’s Writing Center back when she was working on her degree here as a graduate student. She lives in Scotia, NY with her husband and daughter, two dogs, four pet rats, and a corn snake named Seymour.

Academic Outreach Lead Faculty: Weina Ran
Department of Communication and Media
Email: ranw@rpi.edu
Weina’s research interests include the effects of media multitasking, health communication, and persuasion. Weina has extensive teaching experience in strategic communications, business/professional communications, and advanced research methods in communication. Weina received her Ph.D. in Communication from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.

SAPRIS Lead Faculty: Helen Zhou
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication and Media
Email: zhouy12@rpi.edu
Helen is an Assistant Professor of Chinese language and academic English communication. Some of her scholarly work in second language acquisition and applied linguistics explore the cultural beliefs of second language writing, non-native English speaking students’ learning experience as EFL learners and ESL users/learners, as well as institutional internationalization.

Chinese Mentor Program Lead Faculty: Jianling Yue
Department of Communication and Media
Email: yuej2@rpi.edu
Jianling Yue’s academic interests and publications span Chinese linguistics, pedagogy, second language acquisition, Chinese character evolution, grammar instruction, and English-Chinese translation. She received numerous awards including two awards of “Excellence for International Chinese Language Education” (2008), a First Place Prize and a Third Place Prize in an International Chinese Teaching Case Competition (2014), and the Faculty Achievement Award at RPI (2014).

Teaching Assistants and Mentors

Alli Morgan
Alli Morgan is a PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies. A medical anthropologist, her research focuses on the politics and practices of diagnosis in US healthcare settings. With a background in the biological sciences, Alli is particularly interested in interdisciplinary projects and has experience in grant writing and scientific communication.

Allison Bannister
Allison is a PhD student in Communication & Media and holds an MFA in Cartoon Studies. Her research focuses on comics and multimodal storytelling, and she draws on her own practice as a cartoonist in her research. At COMM+D, she is particularly excited to work with creative writing and visual design projects.

Arielle Cerini
Arielle Cerini is a second year PhD. student in Electronic Arts. Prior to coming to RPI she attended Pratt Institute, where she received an MFA in Communications Design. Design continues to remain a primary focus to Arielle’s work, identifying as a critical designer. Much of Arielle’s research is centered around the effects of technology on society, creating work that causes people to think differently about the role technology plays in their everyday lives.

Christopher Caulfield
Christopher is a PhD student in the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at RPI. He has experience helping students with English grammar, structure, brainstorming, and composition. He has special competency in philosophy, social sciences, and clinical/medical topics. His research interests include the opioid crisis, ethics, moral psychology, and the role of emotions in moral development, moral motivation, and moral judgment. Christopher holds an MA in Philosophy from the University at Albany, NY.

Kirk Winans
Kirk is a PhD student in the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at RPI. Formerly, he was a student in the Communication & Rhetoric program. Kirk also has experience in computer science. His research interests include copyright law, social movements, and 3D printing. Kirk holds an MS in Communication & Media Technologies and an MS in Science, Technology, & Public Policy from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Maria Michails 
Maria Michails is a PhD Candidate and Doctoral Fellow in Electronic Arts. As an independent artist and writer her practice spans more than 20 years and includes grant writing and teaching. In her research, she bridges science and technology, creating art projects that re-imagine civic engagement with environmental issues.

Shivani Rao
Shivani Rao is a biology major on the pre-med track and is currently a junior at RPI. She has been working at Comm+D for a year now and can’t wait to help you! Shivani has taken the following HASS classes: Rhetoric and Writing, Writing and Response, Introduction to Econ, General Psychology, and Forensic Psychology.

The staff at the Center for Global Communication+Design is composed of graduate teaching assistants and undergraduate mentors who enjoy reading and responding to writing, oral presentations, and visual or multimodal projects from all disciplines! All of the mentors and teaching assistants who work at the Comm+D have significant experience in composing and responding to many types of either written or visual work. All undergraduate mentors have also excelled in a 4-credit course, Writing and Response, that has prepared them to read and respond to a wide range of texts.


Visit Us

The Comm+D is located on the lower level of the Folsom Library, next door to the ALAC tutoring space.

Folsom Library--Lower Level
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180

Hours of Operation

Summer Hours
Mon.-Thurs.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please view our scheduling system for the most accurate hours—we are usually around more often than this and also host special events!

Schedule an Appointment

Schedule an Appointment

1. Click on the "LIMIT TO" drop-down menu at the top of the schedule. Choose the kind of appointment you need. GRADUATE STUDENTS, be sure to choose a “GRADUATE” project from the list.

2. Click on the open appointment you want (a WHITE space), which will bring you to a short form.

3. Set the TIME for the appointment: choose 30 minutes or 1 hour. Make 1-hour appointments for Online or E-Tutoring.

4. Tell us about what you’re working on by filling out the form that opens in the scheduler and submit it. You’ll get a reminder email to confirm your appointment.

5. CAN’T FIND AN APPOINTMENT? Below each day's schedule there is a "WAITING LIST" link. Click to enter your name on the WAITING LIST for that day.