Oswego Professor’s Doctoral Dissertation Earns International Honor

Bumsub "Gabriel" Jin
Bumsub "Gabriel" Jin

OSWEGO — Bumsub “Gabriel” Jin, an assistant professor in SUNY Oswego’s communication studies department and a new Ph.D., accepted an international award for his dissertation June 24 in Singapore.

Jin received the 2008-09 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award at the annual conference of the International Communication Association’s Public Relations Division.

“Gabriel has been an excellent addition to our department, and we are so proud that his research was recognized by this prestigious award,” said Kristen Eichhorn, chair of communication studies, a department in the college’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts.

The award pleases Jin, too, particularly when he recalls how difficult it was to gather the data for his University of Florida dissertation, “The Roles of Public Relations and Social Capital for Communal Relationship Building: Enhancing Collaborative Values and Outcomes.”

“I’m very, very gratified about that,” said Jin, who has taught public relations at Oswego since fall 2009.

His doctoral dissertation, under a committee led by Mary Ann Ferguson, a public relations professor and Faculty Senate chair at the University of Florida, focused on three major research areas: organizational public relations, social capital and community and employee relations.

Jin began collecting data sets in 2004 in South Korea, and expanded his work to the United States. His interests included the impact of using celebrities like the late Christopher “Superman” Reeve in public relations campaigns aimed at awareness and influencing attitudes and behavior.

“I found that media celebrities can play a critical role in affecting public audiences’ attitudes toward health,” said Jin, who has a master’s degree from Kansas State University and undergraduate degree from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea.

He has studied, and will continue to study, what he calls “education entertainment programming” — shows like “Dr. 90210” and “The Dr. Oz Show” — here and in Korea. He has found shows like those can affect public knowledge, attitudes and behavior about health issues.

Jin returned June 17 to his native Seoul for a summer of research, grant writing, teaching preparation and the side trip to Singapore for the award.