I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou



Welcome to my website. The pages here describe my work related to the role of emotions and cognitions in shaping our responses to health, science, and environmental messages. I’m particularly interested in how media and emotions can be harnessed for positive ends, from improved public health and environmental outcomes to greater civic engagement with policy issues.

I use quantitative methods and statistics as well as qualitative interviews and focus groups to help better understand the ways in which our feelings can actually guide our thoughts and behaviors in positive, helpful ways on both the individual and collective levels. I love to write, be it an academic piece, a thought piece for the popular press, or a Twitter thread on the intersections of research and the real world. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at jfgall@gmail.com or jess@psu.edu.

I am a full professor at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at the Pennsylvania State University. I am also a co-funded faculty member of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, I received my Ph.D. in Mass Communication and a certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 and worked as an assistant professor at Indiana University from 2013-2017.

Before I went to UNC, I worked in a variety of communications/journalism positions. I was a multi-platform broadcast journalist, a freelance magazine writer, a newspaper opinion columnist, and was the director of experiential education and recruitment for the former Indiana University School of Journalism.

I am also an alumna of Indiana University. I hold a B.A. (Political Science, 2005) and a M.A. (Journalism, 2007) from the place. While attending IU as a student, I earned a Big Ten championship and three All-American honors as part of the cross country and track teams. Today, though, my running pace is much more leisurely.

When I’m not researching, teaching, or in a meeting, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, going on a run or a hike, and re-watching Grey’s Anatomy for the billionth time. I’m currently learning to play the ukulele (a long, ongoing process for the non-musically inclined, but enjoyable nonetheless).

Pancake (left) and Gilly (right) also occasionally assist with research and meme-making. You can check them out on Instagram @pancakeplusgilly

Stats Pug

When in graduate school and as an assistant professor, Biscuit the Pug was my statistics consultant.