Kate Hoyt


Dr. Kate Drazner Hoyt, Assistant Professor of Communication in Film & Media: Dr. Hoyt is a digital media artist, professor, and scholar with a specialization in virtual and digital communication. She is interested in affect, the body, and technology-human hybridity. More specifically, her work examines the role of the body within virtual spheres of communication. Her work on drones includes scholarly essays on public art surrounding the U.S. drone war, the phenomenology of U.S. military drone operators and its implications for mental health, and the affective contours of the drone war. She has also produced interactive installations exploring the visual culture of the drone. Her work has been published in Critical Studies in Media Communication; Culture, Theory & Critique; Review of Communication; and Technoculture.


Dr. Marnie Ritchie, Assistant Professor of Communication in Rhetoric: Dr. Ritchie is a scholar, professor, and media practitioner studying critical rhetoric and media. She has earned a Master’s in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University and a Doctorate in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Her scholarship and pedagogy question how US (non)citizens become rhetorically governable during war, particularly how the manipulation of affect creates the conditions for acquiescence. Her research on drones centers on the use of drones for surveillance by law enforcement and homeland security in US cities. Her artistic work with drones includes a project entitled “Claude Dronet,” a drone that can create “aerial impressionistic” paintings. Her work has been published in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, and Capacious: A Journal of Emerging Affect Inquiry.


Dr. George (Guy) McHendry, Jr.: Dr. McHendry is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at Creighton University. His PhD is from the University of Utah (MA from Colorado State University, BA from Ripon College). Guy studies rhetoric and cultural studies within the discipline of communication. His research currently focuses on public performances of security in airports and the relationship between the public and the Transportation Security Administration. Guy is especially interested in how security and resistance is performed in airports and how those performances can dominate our ways of experiencing airports. Drones figure prominently in McHendry’s teaching, and in recent research he analyzes efforts to increase awareness of the scope and impact of U.S. American drone strikes.


Dr. Jessy Ohl: Jessy Ohl is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Alabama. As a scholar of rhetoric and political discourse, Dr. Ohl’s research explores the worldly consequences of public messages, images, and arguments for democracy, social change, and war. He is especially concerned with the weaponization of communication to incite violence and developing strategies for instilling more charitable and collaborative forms of identification. His scholarship has appeared in outlets such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and Cultural Studies <–> Critical Methodologies.


Dr. Michael J. Halvorson: Dr. Halvorson is the Benson Family Chair in Business and Economic History, and the Chair of Innovation Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. He teaches business and economic history courses in the Department of History at PLU, as well as classes on innovation and the history of technology. His current research project is a title under contract with ACM Books (Morgan & Claypool) entitled Code Nation: Personal Computing and the Learn to Program Movement in America, 1970-1995. The project explores programming culture in America and debates about software development practices, computer literacy, teaching computer science, and the era’s lively cast of self-taught coders, power users, hackers, and entrepreneurs.

Tate Adams


Our student team consists of Communication majors with emphases in Strategic Communication, Film and Media Studies, and Civic Engagement. These students plan events and promotions, create advertising materials, communicate with guests, and help with the programming and schedule.

Tate Adams: PLU senior Tate Adams is on the eve of graduation with a degree in Communication Studies, as well as a minor in Political Science.  Tate is passionate about studying the intersections of identity and emerging technology.  As one of the Civic Engagement students on the planning committee, they look forward to promoting an interdisciplinary conversation about drone policies and technologies.

Hanna McCauley: Hanna is a junior at PLU from Bonney Lake, Washington. She specializes in Strategic Communication with a minor in Hispanic Studies and has a passion for graphic design, videography, and web design. She loves using media to tell the stories around her. As the Strategic Communication student on the Planning Committee, she am proud to play a part in bringing discourse on the innovation and technology of drones to the PLU campus.

Hallie Harper: Hallie is from Oak Harbor, Washington and is majoring in Communication with a focus in Film and Media Studies at PLU. While she struggles to create a short synopsis about herself, she loves telling the stories of others through video and other mediums, and specialize in videography-related projects. As the Film and Media Studies student on the Planning Committee she looks forward to helping broadcast the importance of the symposium and the impact that drone technology has in our contemporary lives.

Alex Williams: Alex is a sophomore at PLU from Gig Harbor. As an active member of the PLU Debate Team, their favorite part of debate is being able to effectively articulate ideas that they are passionate about. Alex is constantly improving their knowledge base about an array of public issues.

Campus Partners

The School of Arts and Communication at Pacific Lutheran University (SOAC): The School of Arts and Communication is a community of artists and scholars – students, faculty, and staff – dedicated to the fulfillment of the human spirit through creative expression and careful scholarship. The School offers professional education to artists and communicators within the framework of a liberal arts education. The school encourages all of its members to pursue their artistic and scholarly work in an environment that challenges complacency, nurtures personal growth, and maintains a strong culture of collegial integrity. SOAC is comprised of the departments of Art & Design, Communication, Music, and Theatre & Dance.

The Center for Media Studies at Pacific Lutheran University: The Center for Media Studies represents a dynamic and innovative connection of curricular and co-curricular communication study at Pacific Lutheran University. The Center serves the community by providing assistance with communication and media related projects. Housed within the School of Arts and Communication, the Center leverages outstanding programs in journalism, public relations, advertising, and art & design to provide unprecedented student learning opportunities through addressing the communication needs of on-campus and external clients.



Innovation Studies at Pacific Lutheran University: The Innovation Studies minor focuses on developing transformative ideas, compelling designs, and breakthrough products in a team-driven context. The program prepares students for life after graduation by emphasizing the skills that employers most want from college graduates. Think of Innovation Studies as a toolkit with essential business and problem-solving skills that will enhance the core proficiencies of your major and apply those skills to the real world.


The Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education at Pacific Lutheran University: Working collaboratively with academic units and disciplines of Pacific Lutheran University, the Wang Center is dedicated to supporting faculty, students and staff with the resources necessary to advance PLU’s distinction and vision for global education of “educating to achieve a just, healthy, sustainable and peaceful world” through faculty development and grant opportunities, delivery of study away programs, on-campus programming on pressing world issues, and a commitment to best practices when engaging with education partners, both locally and globally.

Community Partners


Creighton University, located in Omaha, Nebraska, offers a top-ranked education in the Jesuit tradition for people who want to contribute something meaningful to the world. It’s where students, faculty and staff thrive in a supportive community committed to Jesuit, Catholic values and traditions. Here, students learn to become leaders through service to others.


The University of Alabama Department of Communication Studies, housed in The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service and to diversity in thought, action and participation.

About PLU

Pacific Lutheran University purposefully integrates the liberal arts, professional studies  and civic engagement in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With distinctive international programs and close student-faculty researchopportunities, PLU helps its 3,100 students from all faiths and backgrounds discern their life’s vocation through coursework, mentorship and internships at world-class Puget Sound-area businesses and institutions. Learn more about PLU.