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King University News :: Former Homeland Security Crisis Communication Specialist to Speak at King

On Monday, Oct. 8, King College’s Security Intelligence Studies program will welcome Dr. Alyssa Millner, a specialist in risk and crisis communication, who has conducted extensive research for the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Food Protection and Defense.  The lecture will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Kline Hall room 121 on King’s main campus in Bristol, Tenn. 

“The monumental effort behind strengthening American security after 9/11 has a strong scientific basis,” said Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, instructor and coordinator for King’s Security Intelligence Studies program.  “The United States security and intelligence communities are constantly looking to recruit scientists who are committed to using their expertise to strengthen the security of the homeland. As one such scientist, Dr. Miller is precisely the sort of expert that can enlighten us on the scientific and communications aspects of contemporary homeland security challenges.”

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was founded in 2002 in direct response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.  It is one of the largest cabinet departments of the Federal government, incorporating 22 government agencies into a single organization.  Its establishment marked the most significant reorganization of the U.S. government since 1947. It is tasked with working in the civilian sphere to protect the U.S. from both domestic and external threats, and with responding to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism.

Dr. Millner currently serves as assistant professor and program director of Communication for King College.  She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, one of the leading academies in the study of risk and crisis communication.  Since her early college years, she has been intrigued by risk messages and how they impact publics during crises.  During her graduate years, Dr. Millner conducted research for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  More specifically, her grant research has focused on food security issues and was submitted to the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, a DHS Center of Excellence. Some of her research projects include examining the peanut paste contamination of 2008-2009 and conducting message testing in order to assess human perception of risk during food recalls in America.  

Dr. Millner has also had the opportunity to be a first responder on environmental emergencies, during her employment with the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH).  One example of her service includes serving as a safety liaison and communication coordinator for CTEH and BP during the 2010 gulf oil spill. 

Dr. Alyssa Millner will discuss her academic and environmental experience in crisis communication during her guest lecture at King College on October 8, 2012.  For more information, contact Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis at 423.652.6014.


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