Autumn Shafer

Autumn Shafer profile picture
  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-7641
  • Office: 329 Allen Hall
  • City: Eugene, Portland


Autumn Shafer is a native of the Pacific Northwest. Her research seeks to address important social, theoretical, and practical issues related to public health promotion and social issues advocacy. She has a student-centered approach to teaching and seeks to create a collaborative and inclusive classroom environment where students feel both challenged and supported as they learn.

Her research has included grant-funded projects examining the effects of entertainment education on teen pregnancy, developing a sexual consent awareness campaign, encouraging parents of children with eating disorders to take care of themselves to prevent caregiver fatigue, and cervical cancer prevention through the promotion of HPV vaccines.

Shafer’s professional experience includes being a political campaign manager, field director, and legislative aide in Washington state. As a campaign manager and a field director overseeing several campaigns, she gained experience in public relations writing, print and video advertisement design and buying, online outreach, fundraising, crisis communication, political field research, and strategic campaign management. As a state legislative aide for four sessions, she understands the legislative process and has experience in governmental public information dissemination including media, agency, and constituent relations. She has successfully managed policy and budgetary legislation from development with community and policy stakeholders through both legislative chambers to the governor’s desk.

Shafer has led two summer study-abroad classes to London with a focus on public relations and media culture. The nature of her research lends itself to working in collaborative multidisciplinary teams that  frequently are not place based, and she has collaborated with researchers in social sciences and public health who are located all over the world (e.g., Lebanon, New Zealand).


  • PhD, Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011
  • Graduate Certificate, Interdisciplinary Health Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011
  • MA, Communications (emphasis in public relations, health campaigns), Washington State University, 2003
  • BA, Communications (emphasis in speech communication/double major in political science), Washington State University, 2000


Rasmussen, E., Shafer, A., Colwell, M., White, S., Densley, R., Punyanunt, N. Wright, H. (2016). Relation between active mediation, exposure to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and preschoolers’ social and emotional development. Journal of Children and Media, (online at:, in press).

Dotson, W.H., Rasmussen, E., Shafer, A., Colwell, M., Densley, R. Brewer, A. Alonzo, M. Martinez, L. A. (2016). Evaluating the ability of the PBS children’s show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to teach skills to two young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Behavior Analysis in Practice, (online at:, in press).

El-Khoury, J. & Shafer, A. (2016). Narrative exemplars and the celebrity spokesperson in Lebanese anti-domestic violence public service announcements. Journal of Health Communication, 21(8), 935-943.

Bobkowski, P., Shafer, A., & Ortiz, R.R. (2016). Sexual intensity of adolescents’ online self-presentations: Joint contribution of identity, media consumption, and extraversion. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 64-74.

Ortiz, R.R., Shafer, A., & Murphy, A. (2016). Define Your Line: A case study on student-driven sexual consent education. Journal of Campus Title IX Compliance and Best Practices, 1, 16-20.

Kiambi, D.M. & Shafer, A. (2015). Corporate crisis communication: Examining the interplay of reputation and crisis response strategies. Mass Communication & Society, (published online Sept. 2015, expected print publication 2016).

Scull, T.M., Ortiz, R.R., Shafer, A., Brown, J.D., Kupersmidt, J.B., & Suellentrop, K. (2015). Investigating how MTV’s 16 & Pregnant may be used as media literacy education with high-risk adolescents. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 7(2), 1-11.

Patel, S., Shafer, A., Bulik, C.M., Brown, J.D., & Zucker, N.L. (2014). Parents of children with eating disorders: Developing theory-based health communication messages to promote caregiver wellbeing. Journal of Health Communication, 19(5), 593-608.


Shafer’s research agenda focuses on the intersection of communication, persuasion, and health behavior theories. She has two complimentary streams of research:

  • Theory-based social issue advocacy/health communication campaign design and evaluation.
  • Individual message processing and effects specifically related to health outcomes and narrative examples.

Her principal topical focus is sexual health, although she has also studied messages about tobacco, HPV vaccination, nutrition, diabetes, and eating disorders. She often approaches research questions from an interdisciplinary perspective that draws from communication, public health, social psychology, and consumer behavior.

Honors and Awards

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

  • Ecquid Novi African Journalism Studies Best Paper Award for Journalism Research, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference, 2014

National Institutes of Health

  • Fellow (competitive selection), NIH Advanced Training Institute on Health Behavior Theory, 2012

Texas Tech University

  • Faculty Member of the Year Award, Public Relations Department, College of Media and Communication, TTU, 2014-2015
  • New Faculty Award, Alumni Association, TTU, 2015
  • Billy I. Ross Faculty Achievement Award (faculty select one faculty member each year in recognition of excellence in research, teaching, and service), College of Media and Communication, TTU, 2014

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

  • Minnie S. and Eli A. Rubinstein Dissertation Research Award, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2011
  • Impact Award for Graduate Research, Graduate Education Advancement Board, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2011

Areas of Expertise

  • Health communication
  • Health promotion
  • Social issue advocacy
  • Message testing
  • Media psychology
  • Sexual media effects
  • Communication campaign evaluation
  • Narrative persuasion
  • Public relations
  • Communication methods


Strategic Communications Research