Communication Faculty

Department Chair Dan Peterson
Program Directors  
Communication Studies Kevin Brown 
Professional Writing Franny Howes
Curriculum Coordinators  
Composition Kari Lundgren
Human Interaction Kevin Brown
Technical Writing Matt Frye
Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown, Comm. Studies Program Director, Professor


Kevin James Brown earned an associate degree from Ricks College, bachelor's degree from Idaho State University, master's degree from Washington State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Dr. Brown is particularly interested in the areas of organizational communication, group interaction, and dispute resolution. His current research agenda centers around why people join and stay in organizations, the communication patterns of digital natives, and sports communication. Dr. Brown is also the advisor for Students In Communication (SIC), a chapter of the nationally recognized student organization for students. He advises the campus radio station, KTEC, and also, is the advisor for the Native American Student Union (NASU). In addition, Dr. Brown is also Coach Brown, coach of the Oregon Tech Hittin' Hooters mens rugby team.

Matt Frye

Matt Frye, Assistant Professor


Matt Frye received his MA and PhD in English from Washington State University before joining the Communication Department at Oregon Tech. At WSU, Matt focused on assessment, curriculum planning and game design, three backgrounds he regularly uses in his Technical Writing and Professional Writing courses, as well as in his role as the Communication Department's Assessment Coordinator. He began teaching at the college level in 2008 and has had the opportunity to teach just about everything an English degree should cover: academic and professional writing, game design, web design, digital media creation, and more!

Andria Fultz

Andria Fultz, Associate Professor


Dr. Franny Howes, Program Director for Professional Writing

Franny Howes, Professional Writing Program Director, Assistant Professor


Franny Howes received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing from Virginia Tech in 2014. She also has an M.A. in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing and a B.A. in Social Relations from Michigan State. (Go green.)

Franny is the creator of the comic “Oh Shit, I’m in Grad School!”, a graduate of the Adventure School for Ladies, and a member of the Ladydrawers Comics Collective. She is an accomplished lace knitter and handspinner, a former Jeopardy! contestant, and an Americorps VISTA alum. Her experiences as a rhetorician, a comics creator, and a crafter all contribute to her pedagogy.  At Oregon Tech, Franny teaches Technical Report Writing (WRI 227), Advanced Technical Writing (WRI 327), Documentation Development (WRI 350), Document Design (WRI 420), and Communication and Technology (COM 109).

Veronica Koehn

Veronica Koehn, Associate Professor


Veronica Koehn was born and raised in the Denver, CO, area.  She earned her B.A. in English Writing from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2001, her M.A. in Communication from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2002, and her Ph.D. in Human Communication Studies at the University of Denver in early 2010.  Her Ph.D. work and her dissertation focused on rhetorical ethics and culture.  She came to OIT in Fall 2012. 

Veronica teaches a variety of courses on-campus, including:

  • Small Group and Team Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication,
  • Intercultural Communication,
  • Introduction to Communication Research,
  • Introduction to Communication Theory,
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Gender and Communication

In addition, she teaches the online Small Group and Team course at least once per year, and, with Dr. Dan Peterson, is currently piloting the new online Public Speaking course.

Veronica chairs OIT’s Assessment Commission and is extensively involved with university assessment, in particular the Diverse Perspectives outcome.

Finally, Veronica also serves as the Faculty Advisor for Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association’s Student Honor Society.  If you are a junior and have at least a 3.25 GPA, come by and see her to learn more about the honor society.

Amber Lancaster

Amber Lancaster, Assistant Professor

Amber Lancaster earned her PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric in 2008 from Texas Tech University. She also holds a M.A. in English, Rhetoric (2003) and a B.A. in English, Rhetoric (1999) from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her Post-Doc certifications include a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration (2016); Certificate in the Foundations of Human Subjects Protections Overview (2015); and Board Certification in Editing of Life Sciences (2014).

Amber's research interests include online learning and pedagogy; usability and user experience; and risk communication and ethics in technical communication.

Amber joined Oregon Tech in 2017. She teaches composition, technical writing, and special topics courses in the Professional Writing program.

Amber's motto is "Laugh as much as possible." She is a laughter yoga coach and takes silliness very seriously (not really). She loves hiking, biking, and skiing - just about anything in the great outdoors. Her hobbies include quilting and sewing.

Kari Lundgren

Kari Lundgren, Associate Professor


Kari Lundgren received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the English Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. K’s path may look a little different from the ‘typical’ English prof: in high school, she preferred math to English; in college, she majored in philosophy and never took a writing class; and in her Ph.D. dissertation, she used quantitative evidence (including graphs!) in her analysis of how women write about Catholic nuns. This seemingly unconventional background has been a great asset in her in more than ten years of teaching writing and rhetoric to STEM students, who arguably aren’t the ‘typical’ English students, either.

Dr. K teaches COM 216 (Essentials of Grammar and Punctuation), PWR 215 (Writing in the Public Interest), SPE 111 (Public Speaking), WRI 121 (English Composition), WRI 122 (Argumentative Writing), WRI 227 (Technical Report Writing), WRI 328 (Style), and WRI 521 (Writing at the Graduate Level).

Dan Peterson

Dan Peterson, Professor, Department Chair


Dan Peterson has a Organizational Communication from Ohio University as well as an M.A. in Mass Media Studies and a B.A. in Public Relations, both from Brigham Young University.

Dr. Peterson is passionate about instruction and training. He teaches a variety of communication courses at Oregon Tech, including organizational communication, small group and team communication, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, public relations, and public speaking, among others. Beyond teaching in the classroom, he enjoys working on consulting, training, and instructional design projects for nonprofit, for-profit, and government organizations. His current research interests are in organizational culture, small business development, and public speaking pedagogy. He is also involved in campus-wide governance and service. On a personal note, he enjoys gardening, traveling, cooking, music, and family.

Matt Schnackenberg

Matt Schnackenberg, Professor


Matt Schnackenberg received a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Washington State University. In his scholarship he pursues pedagogy in public speaking and composition, application of ancient rhetorics to contemporary contexts, and cultural reception of comic books (he has written about Captain America, but his favorite to read is Hellboy). His personal interests range from good espresso to bad spoken word poetry, and recently he has begun to learn yoga, which is really hard. 

Dr. Schnackenberg teaches SPE: 111, SPE 314: Argumentation, WRI 121, WRI 122, WRI 123: Research Writing, WRI 227, COM 276: Media and Democracy, and COM 301: Rhetorical Theory and Application.

Matt Search

Matt Search, Associate Professor


Matthew Search began his career as a technical writer and corporate communication specialist.  He holds an MA in Instructional Systems from the University of Central Florida and a PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University; if you made a Venn diagram with those degrees, the overlap would be “strategic, intentional, information design.” His primary research interests are in business communication ethics and the adaptation of traditional classroom methods to distance education venues; he teaches general education writing courses at the Oregon Tech Portland-Metro campus. 

Dr. Christopher J. Syrnyk

Dr. Christopher J. Syrnyk, Associate Professor, Director of the Honors Program


Christopher J. Syrnyk earned his B.A. and first M.A. from the University of Oregon, in Russian, and his second M.A., in English, from Virginia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. in English: Composition and Rhetoric, and a Ph.D. Minor in Cultural Studies and Literary Theory, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Syrnyk is a native Oregonian and enjoys living in the high desert of the Klamath Basin.

Dr. Syrnyk enjoys teaching foundational writing courses in the Communication Department, as well as select courses in the Communication Studies and Professional Writing major. Dr. Syrnyk is the Director of the Oregon Tech Honors Program: if you are interested in the Honors Program, email him or check out the Honors Program website.

His research and scholarly interests include writing program administration, first-year composition, and the rhetoric of science and medicine. He is also interested in rights-based argumentation, how people's lives are shaped by arguments because of how they live with ideas in the world, and the intersection of ethics and rhetoric. He is currently working on an article that was accepted by the Oregon English Journal about the late Oregonian writer Brian Doyle. He is also working on article (the proposal was accepted) for a National Collegiate Honors Council monograph about the Oregon Tech Honors Program's first-year honors seminar; the monograph focuses on the role of first-year honors seminars at honors colleges and universities in the United States.

For the Communication department, Dr. Syrnyk teaches WRI 121, WRI 122, COM 216, SPE 111, COM 246, COM 407 (“Communicating Science”), and COM 424 the Capstone course.

For the Honors Program, Dr. Syrnyk teaches the Idea Seminar, the Question Seminar, and an Honors section of WRI 122. He's currently at work on the Answer Seminar.

Chelsie Akers

Chelsie Akers, Assistant Professor


Dr. Chelsie Akers is an Arizona native and she received her Bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University, her Master’s degree at Brigham Young University, and her PhD from University of Arizona. She has been teaching at University of Arizona for the past five years and is excited for the opportunity to teach communication courses here at Oregon Tech.

Her area of research is in new technology and media effects with a special interest in their impact on children. Dr. Akers has also done extensive research regarding social support given and received both online and face-to-face. She finds it fascinating how we have all changed and adapted to using digital technology in our everyday lives. Her work can be found in journals such as Communication Research and Human Communication Research.