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Deborah J. Danuser

  • Visiting Instructor


Deborah J. Danuser is a doctoral candidate and visiting instructor in the Department of Communication. Additionally, she is pursuing a certificate in the Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies (GSWS) graduate program. Her research centers on increasing our understanding of how popular culture can make science more inclusive and welcoming to historically excluded populations, including women and people of color. She is currently working her dissertation, “Evoking and Embodying Science: Representing Science and Social Differences in Early 21st Century Television Commercials,” to uncover the stories that TV ads tell audiences about science and scientists.  


Deborah is also an award-winning instructor passionate about teaching and strives to give her students a deeper and more practical understanding of the communication concepts they are learning. Prior to returning to graduate school to earn her Ph.D., she worked in public relations for nearly 15 years in the Washington, D.C. area. She designed and executed award-winning communication campaigns for a variety of non-profit, corporate and government clients. For more information, please visit  

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Communication Process (COMMRC 0300)
  • Mass Communication Process (COMMRC 0320)
  • Public Speaking (COMMRC 0520)
  • Television and Society (COMMRC 1105)
  • Small Group Communication (COMMRC 1106)

    Education & Training

  • M.A. from the University of North Dakota
  • B.A. from the University of North Dakota
  • B.S. from the University of North Dakota
2023 Top Student Paper in the Communicating Science, Health, Environment & Risk (ComSHER) Division at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
2022 National Communication Association’s Doctoral Honors Seminar Cohort; Media Theory & Research Tract.
2022 Whittington Leadership and Innovation Challenge for Ph.D. Students recipient (awarded by the University of Pittsburgh’s Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences).
2021 Donald B. Egolf Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (awarded by the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Communication).
2020 A&S GSO Elizabeth Baranger Excellence in Teaching Award recipient (awarded by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Arts & Sciences’ Graduate Student Organization).
2017 Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellowship (awarded by the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Communication).
Representative Publications


  • "Subverting Stereotypes: Visual Rhetoric in the #SheCanSTEM Campaign." In Math (Education) in the Information Age (2020), edited by Marcel Danesi, Dragana Martinovic and Stacy Costa.
  • BOOK REVIEW: The troubled rhetoric and communication of climate change: the argumentative situation, by Philip Eubanks. In Argumentation and Advocacy 53(1):80-82.



  • March 17, 2023 
    • Pitt’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition: 2023 Departmental Representative 
  • October 28, 2022 
    • Agora Speaker Series: “Femvertising the STEM Gap: An Analysis of Olay’s Campaign to Promote STEM to Girls.” 
  • November 6, 2020 
    • Agora Virtual Speaker Series: “Satire as a Sincere Plea: The 2010 Stewart/Colbert Rally as a Populist Moment.” 
  • January 8, 2020  
    • Gender and Sexuality Over Lunch Series: “The Stories of” 
  • February 23, 2018 
    • Agora Speaker Series: “‘Pretty Brilliant Too:’ Oral Histories of the Advertising Rhetoric in and the Creation of Verizon's Inspire Her Mind Commercial.” 
  • February 25, 2016 
    • Agora Speaker Series: “Selling with Science: An Exploratory Look at the Role of Science in Television Commercials.” 
Research Interests

Areas of Interest

  • Science Communication
  • Cultural Studies
  • Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies
  • Public Relations and Advertising