We are tired of the divide, tired of the negativity, and tired of the lack of compromise within politics, and data shows that most of you are too.

We are fighting to identify ways for ordinary people to bridge this political divide, and bring unity back to the United States.

We are committed to supporting compromise between the parties to find solutions to the many challenges our country faces.

Research Partners

Daniel Schmidt, M.A.

Senior Research Project Manager, Pennsylvania State University​​

Daniel served in the United States Army for 11 years and is a combat veteran. Daniel received numerous prestigious awards, most notably from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his work on the investigation of the attacks on September 11th, 2001 in New York City and Washington, D.C; and for his work in assisting the National Threat Reduction Agency in assessing the vulnerability of the United States Nuclear Command.

Academically, Daniel has a degree in Russian, earned while he was in the Army, as well as a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Applied Communication Studies from Southern Illinois University.

He became a Prevention Scientist to enact change and benefit the greater community through understanding organizational culture to improve efficiency, effectiveness and acceptance in society.
E. Duff Wrobbel, Ph.D.

Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville​​

E. Duff Wrobbel received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994, and is currently a Professor in the Department of Applied Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

He is a recipient of both the Teaching Recognition Award and the Great Teacher Award, and he has taught 30 different undergraduate and graduate courses from across the communication curriculum and elsewhere in the University.

His research interests are eclectic, and he has published work in the areas of conversation analytic methodology, language and social construction, disability studies, university governance, and academic assessment.

He is a happily married father of 2 who lives out in the middle of the woods and is a relentless woodworker in his free time.
Jocelyn DeGroot Brown, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville​​

Jocelyn M. DeGroot earned her Ph.D. from Ohio University in 2009, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

She was recognized with the Teaching Distinction Award in 2013, has earned several top paper awards at regional and national communication conferences, and is a Mensa member.

Josie’s research focuses on interpersonal communication, computer-mediated communication, and communicative issues of death and dying. Her scholarship includes investigations of online voyeurism (Emotional Rubbernecking), Transcorporeal Communication, disenfranchised grief, and relational continuity with the deceased.

She has published in Communication Teacher, OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying, Death Studies, Small Group Research, Communication Research, Men’s Studies, and has book chapters in Blogging in the Global Society and Dark Side of Communication Contexts.
Mark Poepsel, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville​​

Mark Poepsel received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in 2011. He teaches media entrepreneurship, introductory mass communication theory, media literacy, basic media writing, digital design, broadcast writing, journalism, and graduate research courses at SIUE.

He researches media entrepreneurship and group cohesion among journalists, but he shares an abiding fascination with political communication. He serves as acting chair of the Participatory Journalism Interest Group in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Mark was one of several Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Fellows in 2016.

He traveled to the Cronkite School in Phoenix to learn about entrepreneurial media pedagogy from leaders in the field. He was also a Scripps Howard Foundation / AEJMC Visiting Professor in Social Media in 2016. For this fellowship, Mark worked as an "extern" for two weeks at Digitas LBi, a digital media-focused advertising agency, in Chicago where he briefly studied how social media data are gathered, analyzed, and used to promote engagement with advertising content.

Mark worked as a broadcast journalist from 2002-2005 after earning degrees in Journalism and English from Mizzou in 2002 with a Spanish minor. He was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary societies. Mark completed his master's degree in Latin American Studies in 2007 at the University of Arizona.

He has been married to Gabriela Renteria-Poepsel for 15 years. They met in Guadalajara in 1999, when Mark was a sophomore learning Spanish in a study abroad program. They have one son, who is five years old and who is a PokemónGo fanatic. Mark enjoys jogging slowly when he's not eating quickly. In the past 10 years, he has hardly gone a day without reading and posting on social media.