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Communication Studies Alumna Presents Her Senior Project at an International Conference

Matia Mathes, left, with Dr. Anuraj Dhillon, right, in Paris.
Matia Mathes, left, presented at 
the ICA Conference with her advisor
Dr. Anuraj Dhillon, right, in Paris.

By Nicole Troy

Last month, Matia Mathes (Communication Studies, ’21) presented her senior project at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference in Paris, France.  

Mathes initially came up with the idea for the project in Dr. Lauren Kolodziejski’s class, COMS 422: Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine, where she created an informational poster of original illustrations, “How to Apply a Tourniquet.” The poster provides visual instructions in four steps to easily teach tourniquet use for emergency situations.  

“In an emergency where someone is bleeding out, it is so much harder to read a paragraph of instructions compared to following four simple illustrations. I became very interested in the translation of difficult medical language into simplified visuals,” Mathes said. 

Mathes’ project in COMS 422 inspired and informed her senior project, which included an experiment she conducted via Qualtrics. Medical experts viewed an instructional video where an emergency medicine professor explained how to apply a tourniquet with differing visuals that met one of four conditions: realistic vs. cartoon-like or animated vs. still picture. Next, they answered a set of questions to assess their own perceived learning of the material shown. 

Mathes’ senior project advisor, Dr. Anuraj Dhillon, suggested submitting their research for the 2022 ICA Conference. Dr. Dhillon joined Mathes in Paris to present their research together. 

Mathes now works for Emergency Medicine: Reviews and Perspectives (EM:RAP), an emergency medicine education company, as both their Social Media Director and Project Manager of the Fundamentals Courses and the Daily Dose. 

“Fundamentals is a deep dive of lecture-style videos into specific emergency medicine topics and Daily Dose is a series of short-form vertical videos that teach emergency medicine in a more fun, TikTok-style way,” Mathes said.  

In her roles, she manages the company’s social media pages, facilitates communication among their medical content contributors, creates production schedules and travel accommodations, schedules studio time, and edits videos among various other administrative tasks.  

“I had been working part time with EM:RAP as a freelance artist doing medical illustrations throughout college, so this project was very much inspired by my work with EM:RAP,” Mathes said. “I am super grateful to have had awesome communication classes like the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine and great professors like Dr. Kolodziejski and Dr. Dhillon who are so supportive of my work. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share this research about medical visuals and medical education with the world. My work now revolves around expanding medical education in accessible ways to communities around the world. This research was and is really important to me and still impacts my work every day.” 


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