Brianna L. Avalos

Your Name: Brianna L. Avalos

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Please introduce yourself: Who are you and what are your research/teaching/activist interests?
I am currently a fourth-year PhD candidate studying interpersonal communication with an emphasis on weak- and strong-tied dyads. I have always been passionate about how we initiate, maintain, and end relationships in our lives. Additionally, I have focused on the ways in which different relationships impact our lives. My teaching is heavily student-oriented by embracing my students’ knowledge as well as focusing on topics that make us uncomfortable. As of late, my research is focusing on friendship dissolution and how that impacts our emotional and physical wellbeing.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about opening the conversation about interpersonal communication to all. Everyone deals with relationships within our lives, and I am passionate about having an accessible and safe space for all to understand not only interpersonal theory but research as well. It’s a fascinating world, and I want to encourage others to step into it. It’s surprising how we can each relate to different interpersonal and relational topics whether it’s first-, second-, or even third-hand! 

What does transformation mean to you?
Transformation means being able to see where you’ve come from and seeing where you want to be through the assistance and encouragement of not only yourself but from others. I believe that transformation opens up endless opportunities. I continually tell my students that our communication ebb and flows – and this… this is transformation. We change our mind. We shift priorities. We are constantly evolving through life experiences and relationships. We are always transforming.

What do you value most about the Transformation Project?
I value the safe space that the Transformation Project has built for graduate students and faculty members to come together and recognize one another. I have had some of the best conversations of my PhD career with Transformation Project members. Together we are able to step away from the stressors of academia and focus on being human beings. Yes, it’s inevitable that conversations circle back to research, but luckily we all love learning! I know these individuals have become lifelong friends and supporters and to me, that’s worth any collegiate degree. 

How has the Transformation Project supported you and your work in the past?
I have been extremely grateful for being awarded with both a Transformation Project seed grant as well as the Herberger Communication Fellowship. With these awards I was able to conduct research focusing on ghosting and friendships. This research was presented at both international and national conferences, and they are currently under review for publication. 

In what ways do you want to transform the future?
I want to transform the future by opening the conversation of interpersonal and relational communication to all. I want to help individuals initiate, manage, and maintain the best possible relationships in their lives starting at young ages. This could be done through social media posts and also workshops for teenagers in high school. I think it would be rewarding to introduce individuals early on with tips, tricks, and tools for living their best lives.  

What is your favorite dessert (and can you share a recipe for it)?
I would share a recipe if I knew how to make it… but I love key lime pie. The coolness. The creaminess. The tartness! Yes, please.