E38 Super Boss of the International Communication Association, Laura Sawyer.

Laura Sawyer, ICA’s Executive Director, describes her path to leading the organization (she used to be an actor!!), offers some useful tips for students and junior scholars interested in ICA, provides behind-the-scenes insights into the multifaceted foundations of a successful Conference, explains how the organization is structured and run under the guidance of the executive committee (from president elect select to president eject!), compares ICA to NCA (reluctantly but diplomatically), discusses ICA’s approach to promoting inclusion both at the local and international levels, and hints at the location (continent) for the ICA 2026. If you’re interested in the organization—whether a longtime member or ICA n00b—this episode is a great listen!

About the SPARTIE Lab:

The Social and Psychological Approaches to Research on Technology-Interaction Effects (SPARTIE) Lab performs research on the effects of human-technology interaction, examining how the use of media technologies (e.g., avatars, agents, automobiles) influences meaningful outcomes (e.g., education, health/safety, persuasion).

The SPARTIE Lab is part of the greater academic community at the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. More information on the lab's research projects, staff, and work can be found on the SPARTIE Lab website.

About the host:

Dr. Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, Ph. D., is an associate professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information and is the director of the SPARTIE Lab.

He is also an affiliated faculty member of the MSU Department of Psychology, the MSU College of Education’s program in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology, and the MSU Center for Gender in a Global Context. Ratan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, his M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society, also from Stanford University.

Dr. Ratan conducts research on the effects of human-technology interaction, examining how media technologies (e.g., avatars, agents, automobiles) influence meaningful outcomes (e.g., persuasion, education, health/safety). He is particularly interested in the Proteus effect, media-rich transportation contexts, perceptions of media as self-representations and/or social others, avatarification for health and education, and gender stereotypes in gaming contexts.

Dr. Ratan lives near Lansing with his family. More information on his work can be found on his website.