Inaugural Newsmakers Luncheon Honors Baylor Faculty Experts

September 30, 2018

Dr. Michael K. Scullin named Newsmaker of the Year for news coverage of his sleep research; Dr. James A. Roberts recognized for long legacy working with news media

Media Contact: Lori W. Fogleman, Baylor University Media Communications, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 30, 2018) – More than 80 Baylor University faculty who share their knowledge, research and expertise with the news media were honored Sept. 27 by Baylor Media Communications during the inaugural Newsmakers Luncheon.

The event in Barfield Drawing Room, attended by Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone and deans and campus communicators from the University’s colleges and schools, also recognized two faculty members for shining a light on Baylor through wide-ranging news coverage of their academic contributions.

Newsmaker of the Year 2017-2018

Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory, was honored with the inaugural Newsmaker of the Year for 2017-2018 award for his sleep research that received international media attention during the year. He was presented with a crystal microphone for his time working with Baylor Media Communications as staff pitched his research nationally to media and preparing and completing multiple interviews.

Scullin was the lead author on a study of 57 university students – published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology – that compared sleep patterns of participants who took five minutes to write down their to-do list versus participants who wrote down their completed activities. The “to-do” group fell asleep an average of nine minutes faster than the other group, suggesting that making a list helps clear the head and makes falling asleep easier.

Stories about Scullin’s research at Baylor were featured by ABC’s Good Morning America,, more than local TV stations, USA TODAY, Discover, LiveScience, HealthDay, BBC Radio and many more. Overall, the news coverage reached an international circulation and viewership of nearly 1 billion people.

Scullin’s co-researchers were Baylor graduates Madison L. Krueger (B.S. in neuroscience, 2016) and Hannah K. Ballard (B.S. in neuroscience, 2017); Natalya Pruett, polysomnography technician; and Donald L. Bliwise, Ph.D., professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Scullin’s primary research investigate how sleep physiology impacts memory, education, health and aging, how individuals use “prospective” memory to fulfill daily intentions and how lifestyle choices, including exercise, diet, and medication adherence, affect cognitive and neural functioning.

Long legacy honored

James A. Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in the Hankamer School of Business, was recognized for his long legacy of working with the news media. Roberts was presented with a vintage microphone lamp in appreciation for “shining a light” on Baylor by investing his time in Media Communications and sharing his research and expertise with hundreds of media outlets.

A noted consumer behavior expert, Roberts has been the University’s go-to expert for nearly two decades on compulsive buying, consumerism and happiness, smartphone addiction and now the impact of that addiction on personal and business relationships, a research area he shares with Meredith David, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing. Roberts also provided valuable feedback to Media Communications staff during the development of a robust media training program in 2015 to help prepare faculty for news interviews.

“I understand firsthand that time is a precious commodity for faculty, and we are thankful to you, our faculty, for working with the news media to share your expertise and research in a way that’s accessible to the public,” President Livingstone said. “As we build the visibility and profile of Baylor under Illuminate, our University will have a more significant and distinct voice in the world on issues that matter.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.