The International Communication Association (ICA), an esteemed academic association for scholars of human and mediated communication, recently announced that Eszter Hargittai, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the Northwestern University School of Communication, was selected to receive the 2010 Outstanding Young Scholar Award.
The award honors one scholar each year whose career is no more than seven years past the Ph.D., on the strength of published work, including its conceptual foundation and argumentative clarity, on the scholar's productivity at a given career stage, on the rigor of the research produced so far, and on the promise of existing work serving as a springboard for continuing scholarship.
Hargittai received her Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University in 2003. Her broad areas of interest include the social and policy implications of information technologies and, in particular, how digital media may contribute to or alleviate social inequalities. She is especially interested in how people's skills differ with respect to their Internet uses and developing methods that can help improve people's online abilities. Her work also looks at how skills related to people's online behavior, such as the types of content they access — for example, health or job information — and the types of cultural products they consume, produce and disseminate. She is also interested in how people evaluate the credibility of content they find and how misunderstandings of online content may lead to problems. She has published nearly 50 academic papers on these topics.
"Eszter Hargittai is an accomplished scholar whose intelligence and hard work have brought her to a position of intellectual leadership early in her career," wrote Barbara O'Keefe, dean of the School of Communication, in a nomination letter that highlighted Hargittai's high productivity as a researcher and scholar.
Hargittai's work has previously been recognized by the MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation, among others. She has served as a Fellow at both Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
The Outstanding Young Scholar Award, which carries a $500 prize, was presented on June 25, 2010 during ICA's 60th Annual International Conference in Singapore.