ASU Hugh Downs School of Human Communication announces new assistant professor


August 6, 2018

Arizona State University's Hugh Downs School of Human Communication has announced that Benny LeMaster, assistant professor of communication, has recently joined the faculty at the school.  

LeMasterLeMaster uses the pronouns they/them/their. earned their PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale where they completed their dissertation titled “Queer Intersectionality: Queering the Limits of Identity Studies in Critical Intercultural Communication Research.” LeMaster received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from California State University Long Beach.

Benny LeMaster Benny LeMaster Download Full Image

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. LeMaster to our school,” said Daniel Brouwer, associate professor and chair of the faculty search committee. “In their research and creative activities, Dr. LeMaster is one of the few scholars in communication studies who works at the convergence of performance, rhetoric, and intercultural communication, from both critical and interpretive perspectives. Further, Benny has extensive teaching experience, and we look forward to their contributions to our coursework in gender and sexuality studies, culture and intersectionality, and much more." 

“I am excited and honored to join the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication’s vibrant community of learners, thinkers, and creators that I have long admired,” LeMaster said. “Moreover, I am thrilled to teach Performance, Identity, and Human Communication (COM 442) in the fall where we will learn theories of performance and perform theories of identity.” 

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication

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ASU alumna credits Sanford School for preparing her for success


August 6, 2018

Amy Pennar, a former Arizona State University doctoral student in family and human development at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, was just awarded a prestigious small grant for early career scholars by the Society for Research in Child Development.

Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, Pennar’s grant will assess the long-term viral functioning of youth living with HIV who participated in an intervention to improve adherence to antiretroviral medication to determine if intervention effects were maintained one year after the end of the intervention. Moreover, the grant will compare the acceptability and feasibility of utilizing dried blood spots relative to whole blood to measure HIV viral load. Picture of Amy Pennar Amy Pennar earned her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, all from ASU. Download Full Image

As an "ASU Lifer," Pennar earned a Bachelor of Science in family and human development and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2007, a Master of Science in 2011 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in 2016, both in family and human development, all at ASU.

Pennar credits much of her success to the “state-of-the-art” training she received in her graduate programs here at ASU.

“I am grateful to (the Sanford School) for cultivating a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment that was intellectually stimulating and congenial. During my time (there), I always felt like I was part of something bigger than myself or my own work,” Pennar said.

She went on to explain that the leadership and people are what makes the school so special.

“I had tremendous support from my mentor Dr. Robert Bradley and school director, Dr. Richard Fabes, to pursue a specialization in health. In particular, they encouraged me to seek out additional training opportunities (courses at ASU, summer institutes nationally and internationally), pursue independent research (grant support to conduct research in sub-Saharan Africa), and develop collaborations with faculty in multiple disciplines,” Pennar said. “I think this is unique because it was not part of the standard training in the department.”

Her mentor, Bradley, had a profound influence on her development.

“Bob pushed me intellectually and helped me to analyze not just the specific research question we were tackling but also how that question fit into the larger picture of developmental science,” Pennar said. “He taught me to evaluate theory and methodology in a way that exponentially propelled my thinking and research beyond what was taught in the classroom.” 

Sanford School faculty Samuel Green and Masumi Iida also had a significant impact on her analytical development, she said.

“Through their patience and commitment I learned numerous valuable lessons in quantitative statistics that I continue to apply in my research and share with other scholars,” Pennar said.

Tying in topically to her recent grant achievement, Lecturer Jennifer Brougham invited her every semester to lecture on HIV in her human sexuality courses.

“These invited lectures kept me up to date on the HIV literature, provided opportunities for me to share my work with students, and helped sustain a connection between my research work in the lab with my interests in health,” Pennar said. 

“The caliber of training I received directly prepared me to be successful at the Wayne State University School of Medicine,” Pennar said.

She is currently finishing her postdoctoral fellowship at Wayne State, after which she intends to pursue a tenure-track faculty position.

John Keeney

Media Relations Coordinator, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

480-965-3094