top of page
Image by Nong Vang

Prospective Graduate Students and Lab Members

Thank you for your interest! This page is designed to tell you a bit about applying to work with me as a graduate student in Comm Arts or working with the lab more generally. 

I've tried to provide some information here. I'm sure I haven't addressed everything, so if you have additional questions - feel free to reach out! 

Lab Expectations

EMRSD is a space for scholars to work, develop their ideas, and collaborate with others. The goal of the lab is to both cultivate your curiosity and produce work that helps us understand how communication impacts health outcomes and be used to improve outcomes. These things can only occur in the midst of a supportive, communicative environment. Below, are an evolving set of expectations for working in this lab: 

  1. Be kind. This is a space for collaboration and support not competition. Cruel, unkind, and/or unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated. 

  2. Work hard but do not run yourself into the ground. Research does take work. Members of the lab are expected to be thorough and strive to complete good work on agreed upon schedules. The goal is for members of the lab to be dedicated but mindful of their schedules, limits, and obligations. You cannot do good work if you're worn down and exhausted. 

  3. Communicate. We are studying communication after all. Life happens. That's expected. When that happens, by being a member of the lab, you are agreeing to be communicative. This includes letting Dr. Williamson know as soon as possible that you are unable to meet a deadline, if you've utilized resources but remain unsure how to complete a task, if your research interests change, etc. Dr. Williamson can't help or adjust if she is unaware! 

Lab Expectations

Applying to Graduate School

Dr. Williamson is an Assistant Professor of Communication Science in the Department of Communication Arts (ComArts) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is accepting graduate students for Fall 2024! If you would like to chat about the lab and whether this would be a good fit for you, you can schedule an appointment here

To apply, please check out the department's information on the application process.


If you are looking for tips about applying to graduate school, here are some helpful links and tips:

Below are things I always ask my own students and mentees to be on the lookout for when considering a graduate school: 

  • Is there faculty you can work with? Can that person take on additional graduate students? Is there more than one person whose expertise speaks to your interest (at some point, you'll need a whole committee of people!)?

  • Does the program fund their students by offering teaching and/or research assistantships? Are all students funded? Are only some students funded? In a discipline like communication, it is possible to get your degree(s) without taking on a lot of debt.

  • Do you want (or need) a more competitive or collaborative environment? Do the programs you're looking at meet your needs in that regard? 

  • What is the department culture like? How do the graduate students interact with one another? 

  • Particularly if you are a graduate student of color and/or are a member of a persistently marginalized group - what does the department look like? Will you be supported? Are there groups (e.g., Black Graduate Student Association) active on campus? 


Working with the Lab - FAQs

Who might be a good fit for the lab?

Individuals who are interested in examining health communication with and for persistently marginalized groups or are focused on issues of mistrust would be a good fit for the lab. The EMRSED Health Comm Lab centers social scientific perspectives and utilizes an array of methodologies including surveys, experiments, and focus groups. As of Spring 2023, the lab is primarily focusing on issues related to the antecedents of medical mistrust beliefs, ideas around shared trust, and the relationship between mistrust, misinformation, and information seeking. The focus on the lab will evolve; often as a result of new members. To prevent the lab from being spread thin, those interested in related topics would be a good fit for the lab at this time. 

Do I have to be Dr. Williamson's graduate student to work with the EMRSD Health Comm Lab? 

No, you do not. The only requirements are having a meeting with me to see how our interests overlap, your commitment, and a working plan of how we might move forward. Collaborations can look several different ways. I have worked and published with both a rhetoric grad student from CommArts and a Wisconsin School of Pharmacy graduate student. 

Can undergrads work with the EMRSD Health Comm Lab? 

Absolutely! Interested individuals should have a discussion with me to determine whether any current projects are suitable for their interests, goals, and skill set. 

Do I have to work on an existing project or can I bring my own idea(s)? 

I am not trying to create carbon copies of myself. Instead, my goal is to help equip you with tools that help you develop your own ideas and answer the questions of interest to you. That could occur by working on ongoing projects or by seeking guidance and collaboration on your own project. If you are in or working with the lab, it's because we have overlapping interests - the route we take on our journey together will be based on what is best for the individuals involved. 

If I do work with the lab will my name be on papers? 

If you have provided intellectual contributions to the projects (e.g., developing the design and methodology for the project, conducting analyses, writing portions of the paper), you will have authorship. I believe in discussing authorship early and often. Members of the lab who are concerned or want to know what can be done to gain authorship or move up in authorship order are welcome to have a conversation with me. 

If I am a student from another university, can I still work with the lab?

It depends. This will be on a case-by-case basis. 

How do I talk to you about joining or working with the lab?

The best way is to schedule a meeting to speak with me - you can do that here. 



I'm always excited to talk to collaborate and chat with students! You can schedule a time to chat here. 

bottom of page