NPR’s ‘Academic Minute’ spotlights KSU researchers

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jul 24, 2020

Research being conducted by professors from Kennesaw State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences has been featured all week on NPR’s “Academic Minute” podcast, which spotlights academic research from colleges and universities around the world.

Click here to listen to each “Academic Minute” episode featuring KSU faculty.

KSU researchers
Amber Hutchins, Tom Okie, Jack Labriola, Robert Simon, Allison Martin

The Kennesaw State professors, and their research, featured on “Academic Minute” are:

Amber Hutchins – Brand fans

“Fans” aren’t just audiences of entertainment properties; many are “brand fans,” producers of content and active users of social media who establish and maintain relationships with brands, just as they would their favorite films and TV shows. Amber Hutchins, assistant director for digital and new technologies education and associate professor of communication, discusses this new ground and how companies are shifting their strategies to engage with brand fans.

Tom Okie – Georgia peaches

The peach is easily Georgia’s most visible symbol, yet Prunus persica itself is surprisingly rare in the state and never has been central to the Southern agricultural economy. Tom Okie, associate professor of history education and history, explains how the peach became such an important cultural icon for Georgia and what that says about culture and agriculture in the American South.

Jack Labriola – Taking control of autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are already on the road, but human drivers are still responsible for monitoring the driving status of the vehicle and stepping in when necessary. Research by Jack Labriola, assistant professor of technical communication, looks at the signs of autonomous vehicle malfunctioning that frequently are missed by human drivers and the drivers’ undesirable responses when they attempt to control the vehicle.

Robert Simon – Fado music genre

Robert Simon, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, has researched and published on the hidden meaning in Fado, a style of Portuguese music known for being expressive and profoundly melancholic. As part of this study, Simon learned to sing Fado and sang it in the Portuguese community in the Atlanta metro area.

Allison Martin – Captive animals

Housing animals in zoos, laboratories, farms or even in homes changes their environment in ways that can directly impact their welfare. Research by Allison Martin, assistant professor of psychology, focuses on developing and assessing best practices for housing, feeding and training captive animals to promote their welfare.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit