Colleen Connolly-Ahern

Advertising/Public Relations

Colleen Connolly-Ahern

Associate Professor

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  • International Political Advertising
  • Health Communications
  • Strategic Communications


  • Bachelor's: Georgetown University
  • Master's: University of Florida
  • Ph.D.: University of Florida



Colleen Connolly-Ahern joined the Penn State faculty in 2004. She brings a mix of teaching, research and public service that match well with the mission of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications to train future communications professionals for careers and for life.

Connolly-Ahern is an expert in the area of applied communications research. Recent research areas include refugees and communication and science communication. She has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles, and her work has appeared in journals such as Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, and Communication, Culture and Critique. Since coming to Penn State, she has presented dozens of papers at academic conferences. She is a former head of the Public Relations Division of AEJMC, a member of the editorial board of JPRR and JPIC, and has served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Penn State Yearbook, La Vie.

Connolly-Ahern teaches a wide range of undergraduate advertising and public relations classes, and serves as the course co-coordinator for COMM 420 Advertising and Public Relations Research. She also teaches graduate seminars (COMM 511 Qualitative Research Methods and COMM 597 International and Intercultural Strategic Communications). Colleen Connolly-Ahern graduated from Georgetown University with an undergraduate degree in medieval history, but because Romanesque cathedrals are scarce in the United States, she took a job in the advertising industry. Among other positions, she worked as managing editor for Marine Log Magazine and promotion manager for USA Today before starting her own marketing communications firm, Abbey Lane Marketing.

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Colleen Connolly-Ahern
127 Carnegie Building