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Freiberger joins Alda Center as communicating statistics scholar

Nina Freiberger headshotNina Freiberger recently joined the Alda Center for Communicating Science and its close partner, the School of Communication and Journalism, as a postdoctoral scholar in communicating statistics. Freiberger’s work focuses on health communication, risk perceptions, and information seeking and processing, among other topics.

She comes to Stony Brook from Ohio State University where she recently completed her doctorate in communication.

“It is absolutely critical that we pay more attention to the way that statistics are communicated. Because statistics are by their very nature complex, it is easy for people to misrepresent and even manipulate information. This is especially true in areas like forensic science, where justice is at stake and important decisions are made,” said Laura Lindenfeld, executive director of the Alda Center and dean of the School of Communication and Journalism. “Likewise, we need to advance our understanding of how to combat mis- and disinformation through accurate, accessible representations of statistics. Nina’s work will help us build understanding of how to do this work better, and it will help us shape training experiences for  experts who need to share complex information. Nina’s research interests in health communication fits beautifully with other SoCJ and Alda Center faculty who are working in this critical area. I could not be more excited for Nina to join us.”

As a postdoctoral fellow, Freiberger will work with the faculty at the Alda Center and School to develop and test science communication academic and professional development programs, and to contribute to the fast-growing body of research in science communication and risk.

With a particular focus on the communication of statistics to underpin decision making in the courtroom, she will also support a growing partnership between the Alda Center and the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee, Scotland. This relationship focuses on understanding and developing science and statistical communication to help explain forensic science to legal communities and the public. Nina’s post is funded through the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science with funding from the David and Claudia Harding Foundation.

“I am delighted to welcome Nina to our partnership with the Alda Center. The work that she will undertake is of vital importance to the ability of experts to communicate their findings to the public who sit on our juries,” said Niamh Nic Daeid, director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee. “Making decisions can only be effective when we understand both the science and what it means in the context of the narrative framework of the circumstances of a case. Nina’s work will help experts communicate this understanding.”

Freiberger has published papers in leading research journals including the Journal of Communication in Healthcare and Frontiers in Psychology. She has presented her work at the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association, among others.

At Ohio State, she taught persuasive communication and communication and pop culture, and was a teaching assistant for several other courses.

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