Merissa Ferrara is Associate Professor of Communication at the College of Charleston. Dr. Ferrara came to Charleston from Michigan State University, where she earned her MA and Ph.D. in Communication, with a specialization in Kinesiology. She received a BA from Marquette University where she served as the mascot and participated in Habitat for Humanity and Student Government. Her teaching philosophy, “Everyone is an explorer at heart. I try to inspire students to view learning as an adventure,” and her ability to make class intriguing and applicable have earned her several teaching awards including Communication Faculty of the Year (2011). Her research interests center on persuasion; how one word, one seemingly benign phrase, or one well-constructed argument can forever change a person’s life path, behaviors, attitudes, and relationships. She has published in top journals on topics involving: social support, deception, romantic betrayal, efficacy, weight loss, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer. She was a researcher with Johns Hopkins University, working to reduce the prevalence of HIV/ AIDS in Namibia, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Hobbies include kickball, karaoke, body flow, food tasting, and anything fun she can do with her three-year old twins. She loves travel, capturing her visits with handstands in pictures wherever she goes.