The Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) is pleased to welcome its 2021-2022 cohort of faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student affiliates. This year’s affiliates represent institutions spanning the Research Triangle and the globe, including North Carolina Central University, Stanford, Princeton, ITESO University (Mexico), and Oxford. They bring expertise in mis- and disinformation, health communication, surveillance, public policy, far-right media ecosystems, and more.
In our research, CITAP explores technology as it’s embedded in societies structured by economics, race, politics, culture, and more. Common themes found in our work include:
- Coding inequality: New technologies frequently recreate and reinvent historical inequalities. We explore the interplay of technology and bias, and contextualize it in light of broader social, economic, and political shifts.
- Networked publics: Social media enable new forms of collaboration and connection. We study how people come together, coordinate, organize, and move on- and offline.
- Platform governance: Given the significant role social platforms play in politics and journalism, we consider how tech companies amplify and regulate user speech, set and enforce internal policies, and how these decisions shape public discourse.
- Identity & disinformation: Social media amplifies content that triggers strong emotion, while political discourse increasingly appeals to audience identity. Our research examines how mis- and disinformation plays on deeper social narratives.
Together with CITAP faculty, staff, and returning affiliates, affiliates will collaborate on work exploring how we use data and technology to build community, exercise power, and make sense of the world.
Faculty & Postdoctoral Affiliates
Jeeyun (Sophia) Baik is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley School of Information. She earned her doctoral degree from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include technology governance, social justice movements, and critical data studies. She examines how various stakeholders engage in and negotiate the governance of media and information technology, covering the issues of privacy/surveillance, content moderation, and mis/disinformation.
J. Scott Babwah Brennen is senior policy associate at the Center on Science & Technology Policy at Duke University. Scott is a communication scholar and specializes in misinformation, science communication, and technology policy. Before joining the Center on Science & Technology Policy, Scott was a research fellow at the University of Oxford, where he led research for the Oxford Martin Programme on Misinformation, Science, and Media, which examined the interplay between media change and misinformation about science, technology, and health.
Kirsten Eddy is a postdoctoral research fellow in digital news at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. She draws on a range of methodological approaches to study the interplay of journalism, politics, and digital media, with a focus on moral and civic media and political discourse. Before coming to Oxford, Kirsten obtained her PhD in media and communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation research analyzed and documented the “moralization” of media and political communication.
Melanie Feinberg is an associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before SILS, Melanie was an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information from 2009-2015. From 2019-2021, Melanie was a Marie Curie fellow in the Department of Communication at the University of Copenhagen. Melanie is a classificationist: she studies the selection, description, and arrangement of collections of things. Or, put another way, Melanie studies the design and implementation of datasets. Melanie’s book, Everyday Adventures in Unruly Data, is forthcoming in 2022 from MIT Press.
Jennifer Forestal is the Helen Houlahan Rigali assistant professor of political science at Loyola University Chicago. She is a political theorist whose research focuses on democratic practices, with an emphasis on studying the effects of digital technologies for democratic life. She is the author of Designing for Democracy: How to Build Community in Digital Environments (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) as well as the co-editor of The Wives of Western Philosophy: Gender Politics in Intellectual Labor (Routledge, 2021).
Amelia Gibson is an associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science and Carolina Health Informatics Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her primary research interests focus on sociotechnical and sociospatial contributors to information access, poverty, and marginalization among disabled people and birthing parents in clinical settings, in local communities, and online. Her current work examines how judgments of risk and safety in information environments impact trust and information seeking behaviors.
Siobahn Day Grady is an assistant professor of information systems at North Carolina Central University. She is an AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador and a North Carolina Central University Office of e-Learning Faculty Fellow. She seeks to broaden participation in computing, especially for women and girls of color in STEM. Her research includes human-computer interaction and machine learning.
Kathy Hill is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on health consequences of work in the platform economy, disability in the platform economy, work and occupations, race and racism, and identity and discourse.
Paul Johnson is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. His work is focused on the American Right, and in particular detailing how what are often thought of as “fringe” tendencies among American conservatives are rather mainstream habits of thought, often indebted rather than opposed to political liberalism. This work is conducted through active lenses focused on analyses of race, gender, sexuality, and capital.
Kolina Koltai studies how groups’ use of sociotechnical systems affects decision-making and information behavior. In particular, she focuses on vaccine hesitancy & the anti-vaccination movement, and how social networking sites and digital communities play a role in the ways people assess, trust, and share information about vaccines. Koltai received her Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for an Informed Public at The University of Washington.
Juan S. Larrosa-Fuentes is a researcher in the Department of Sociocultural Studies at ITESO University (Mexico), where he teaches at the School of Journalism and Public Communication. His interests in the study of communication are concentrated in political communication, journalism, and the political economy of media. He is the general coordinator of ETIUS, a Communication and Culture Research Hub.
Christopher (Cal) Lee is a professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and former editor of The American Archivist. He teaches archival administration, records management, digital curation, understanding information technology for managing digital collections, and digital forensics. Dr. Lee’s primary area of research is the curation of digital collections, particularly the professionalization of this work and the diffusion of existing tools and methods into professional practice.
Tiffany C. Li is a technology attorney and legal scholar. She is an Assistant Professor at University of New Hampshire School of Law, where she teaches Internet Law and Constitutional Law. She is also a Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. Li is an expert on privacy, artificial intelligence, and technology platform governance. She regularly appears as a legal commentator in national and global news outlets, and she has written for popular publications including the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and Slate. She writes a recurring column on technology and privacy for MSNBC.
Rachel Moran received her doctoral degree from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Her research explores the role of trust in digital information environments and is particularly concerned with how trust is implicated in the spread of mis- and dis-information. Her research has been published in Information, Communication & Society, Journalism, Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice, Media, Culture & Society and Telecommunications Policy.
Iva Nenadić is an instructor at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb (Croatia) and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). She researches media pluralism in the context of content curation and ranking policies by large online platforms. Her research interest lately particularly focuses on self-, co-, and regulatory interventions that seek to address problems of disinformation and to ensure pluralistic and diverse (social) media environment. Since 2016 she has been one of coordinators in the EU-wide Media Pluralism Monitor – a research project that assesses risks to media pluralism across political, social, economic, and legal dimensions.
Caitlin Petre is an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. Her work uses qualitative methods to examine the social processes, organizations, and actors behind the digital datasets and algorithms that increasingly govern the contemporary workplace. Petre’s book, All the News That’s Fit to Click (forthcoming September 2021 from Princeton University Press), is a behind-the-scenes look at how performance analytics are transforming the work of journalism, from the New York Times to Gawker Media.
Aaron Shapiro received his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently Assistant Professor of Technology Studies in the Department of Communication at UNC–Chapel Hill. His research examines the cultural and economic impact of new media technologies and infrastructures.
Nikki Usher, PhD is an associate professor in the journalism department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with affiliate appointments in political science and communication. She is most recently the author of News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism (2021).
Aarthi Vadde is associate professor of English at Duke University. Her book in progress is called “We the Platform: Contemporary Literature after Web 2.0.” In it, she considers how technical and rhetorical shifts in the formulation of the World Wide Web (from network to platform) are shaping contemporary literary culture and popular literacy practices. Related articles have appeared in PMLA and New Literary History.
Emily Van Duyn is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research explores why people talk (or do not talk) about politics and the role of digital media in facilitating a space for community and political discourse. She tackles these questions using diverse methodologies, including surveys, experiments, interviews, and ethnography.
Melissa Zimdars is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. She is the co-editor of the book Fake News: Understanding Media and Misinformation in the Digital Age.
David Ardia is an associate professor of law at the UNC School of Law and serves as the faculty co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. He also holds a secondary appointment as an assistant professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Before joining the UNC faculty, he was a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he founded and directed the Berkman Center’s Digital Media Law Project.
Enrique Armijo, is the associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at Elon, and an affiliate fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project, teaches and researches in the areas of the First Amendment, constitutional law, torts, administrative law, media and internet law, and international freedom of expression. Professor Armijo’s current scholarship addresses the interaction between new technologies and free speech and has been published in law reviews and peer-reviewed journals.
Neal Caren is an associate professor in the Sociology Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before coming to Carolina, he received his Ph.D. from New York University and completed a two-year postdoc at the University of Michigan. His current research is on contemporary US social movements and the uses of media data for understanding movement processes.
Victoria “Tori” Smith Ekstrand is an associate professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Before coming to Carolina, she was an associate professor in the Bowling Green State University Department of Journalism and Public Relations and an affiliate faculty member of BGSU’s American Cultural Studies department. A former senior executive for The Associated Press, Ekstrand’s research began as an investigation into the hot news doctrine, a part of unfair competition law that protects ownership of the facts of news for a limited period.
Lee McGuigan is an assistant professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. He studies the history and political economy of advertising, media and information technology. His ongoing work looks at knowledge infrastructures and logistical processes in advertising and media industries. This research tries to make sense of today’s “attention merchants” and “choice architects” by examining how related efforts to predict and influence consumer habits and to package and sell audience attention have collectively channeled and amplified currents in surveillance, data processing, and behavioral and management sciences.
Matt Perault is the director of the Center on Science & Technology Policy at Duke University and an associate professor of the practice at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. He previously served as a director of public policy at Facebook. He led the company’s global public policy planning efforts on issues such as competition, law enforcement, and human rights and oversaw public policy for WhatsApp, Oculus, and Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research. Prior to joining Facebook, Matt was Counsel at the Congressional Oversight Panel.
Amanda Reid is a scholar and teacher whose work focuses on copyright, trademark, and First Amendment topics. She graduated with high honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Prior to entering academia in 2010, she served as a commercial litigation associate with Holland & Knight, LLP, as a one-year judicial law clerk for the Honorable Susan H. Black of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and as a two-year judicial law clerk for the Honorable Harvey E. Schlesinger of the Middle District of Florida.
Alex Worsnip is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a core faculty member in UNC’s Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) program. He currently works primarily in normative epistemology, which examines how we ought to regulate our beliefs in order to be rational agents and responsible citizens. Recently, he has thinking about topics such as habits of media consumption, lay beliefs about climate change, the rational response to political disagreement, and the tension (if any) between deference to expertise and democratic participation.
Graduate Student Affiliates
Kyle Ashburn is a master’s student at UNC Chapel Hill in the Information Science program. Academically, his focus is on analytics with a secondary focus on misinformation and online communities. He was a 2021 REMS Fellow at the University of Michigan where he worked on integrating social justice and data science into an intermediate python programming course.
Parker Bach is a Roy H. Park doctoral fellow and Ph.D. student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. He holds an M.A. in Media, Culture, and Technology and a B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Virginia. Parker’s interests include online political communication broadly with an emphasis on political humor, platform governance, media policy and regulation, and digital culture.
Erik Brooks is a Ph.D. student and Roy H. Park fellow at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill. His current research studies are focused on political polarization, its origins, roots, and societal consequences, and the intersection of polarization with media, journalism, censorship, and propaganda. He hopes his research will aid in the discovery of the deeper, underlying conflicts and contentions occurring in American political life. Before attending UNC Chapel Hill, Erik served in the U.S. Army for the Signal Corps.
Shanice Jones Cameron is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her areas of interest are media studies, critical health communication, and Black feminism. For her dissertation tentatively titled, “Locating the Everyday: Black Women, Well-being, and Social Media”, Shanice is relying on ethnographic methods to explore Black women’s holistic health and well-being discourses on digital media.
Rachel Davis is a sociology PhD candidate at the University of Kentucky with expertise in critical criminology, digital sociology, gender inequalities, and sexual labor. Her goal is to further the movement for social justice locally, nationally, and globally through education and activism.
Margaret E. Foster (Maggie) earned her BA from Clark University (Worcester, MA) as a double-major in Cultural Studies & Communication and Spanish Language, Literature, & Culture, with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. She is currently pursuing an MA in Media & Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her research interests include gender-based violence, queer theory, and hashtag activism.
Ryan Gallagher is a network science PhD candidate at Northeastern University. As a member of the Communication Media and Marginalization (CoMM) Lab at Northeastern’s Network Science Institute, he studies how individuals use online communication networks to amplify their voices, and how that amplification resonates through online media ecologies.
Rohan Grover is a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. He researches how digital technologies shape civic engagement and political activism, especially transnationally. Rohan explores this topic at the intersection of online politics, digital platforms and infrastructures, and social movements by drawing from critical race studies, political economy, and STS.
Isaac Kimmel is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation project uses a mixed-methods approach to study how preexisting cultural identities and value schemas shaped the official response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, using a dataset taken from the Twitter accounts of congressional and gubernatorial candidates in the 2020 US election. More broadly, Isaac’s interests include computational methods, qualitative methods, collective memory, cognition, religion, critical realism, and the interaction between culture and new media.
Ofra Klein is finishing her dissertation at the department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute (San Domenico di Fiesole). Her dissertation, which she writes under supervision of Professor Hanspeter Kriesi, addresses the role of online platforms in shaping far-right communication and mobilization: from the people, groups and communities that appear online, to the hate speech and memes they
Melody Kramer is the Director of Communications for both the Carolina Population Center and Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill, and an MLIS student at UNC-Greensboro. She is also a frequent contributor to journalism-related publications. Mel is particularly interested in the non-profit and public media news ecosystems, and looking at the third-party tools that newsrooms use to make content decisions.
Andrea Lorenz is a doctoral student and Roy H. Park Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research interests include local news, political communication and campaigns at the state and local level, and women in journalism and politics. She holds a BA in International Studies from American University and an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Chris Lenhardt is a Ph.D. student at the School of Information and Library Science where he studies the development of scientific information infrastructure from a variety of perspectives including information science and sociotechnical domains such as computer supported cooperative work, socioinformatics, and science and technology studies. He is particularly interested in dynamics around scientific information infrastructure related to power and structural bias.
Pranav Malhotra is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. He has a master’s degree from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research focuses on the social impact of communication technologies, particularly the use of mobile phones and social media, and is often situated in the urban Indian context.
John Maldonado is a PhD candidate in the sociology department at Princeton University and fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. His research focuses on right-wing politics, social movements, and digital communities. His dissertation investigates how individuals generate meaning and produce knowledge in online spaces.
Dan Malmer is a Ph.D. student and Roy H. Park fellow in the Media and Communication program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include online radicalization and extremism. Dan comes to UNC after a career developing software in Silicon Valley. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.
Robert Manzo is a former public librarian and second-year doctoral student in Library and Information Science. His research examines information about autism that is authored by autistic people, and often published online in blogs or videos. These online publishing spaces serve as counter-hegemonic spaces where autistic people can articulate what autistic personhood means, often in disagreement with the dominant medicalized notions of autism as a ‘disorder’ or biological malady.
Pratiksha Menon is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a media professional in India for 8 years. Her experience spans the sectors of broadcast journalism, movie marketing and digital content creation. Her dissertation examines the ways in which humor mainstreams extremist thought in online spaces, through a comparative study of White and Hindutva supremacies.
Narayanamoorthy Nanditha is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Humanities at York University. Her research lies at the intersection of Digital Humanities, Cultural Studies and Computational Social Science, and is primarily focused on the role of social media platforms and digital activism in identity construction and representation of online subaltern collectives in the Global South. She also studies polarization, hate speech, and radicalization in the context of digital activism in the Global South.
Sarah Nguyễn is a PhD student at the University of Washington Information School (UW iSchool) and earned their ALA-accredited Master in Library and Information Science degree from UW iSchool. Currently, Sarah contributes to the NSF COVID-19 Rapid Response Research with UW’s Center for an Informed Public about the misinformation and discourse about masks during the pandemic, the misinformation crisis within the Vietnamese diaspora during the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, and privacy encryption of sensitive data.
Judeth Oden Choi is a PhD student at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon. Using a mixed-methods approach, she researches social justice activism on Twitter. Her research interests also include theatre-based design methods, and playtesting methods for game and experience design. Judeth is interested in marrying elements of dramaturgy, play and performance with participatory and community-based design methods to support equitable collaborator relationships and the design of technology grounded in social justice principles.
Shanetta Pendleton is a doctoral student and Roy H. Park fellow in the School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill. Shanetta holds a bachelor’s in public relations from Auburn University and a master’s in public relations from Ball State University. Her research focuses on academic gatekeeping in higher education, pedagogy, digital activism, corporate social activism, and relationship management.
Contia’ Prince is a two-time graduate of Elon University, where she completed her B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts and her M.A. in Interactive Media. She is currently a Park doctoral fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism & Media interested in how black women use media to construct both their identities and definitions of “blackness” as well as the resulting effects on their self-perception and self-esteem.
remmah is a public-interest technologist with a focus on applied interface research. Her current projects include the design and implementation of fact-checking tools, digital literacy apps, and other civic software.
Jessica Roden is a PhD candidate in the department of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan. She studies how activist social media messages are perceived by advantaged group members and how these perceptions motivate or deter these individuals from supporting the advocated social movement.
Danilo Reuben-Matamoros is a doctoral student at the University of Leeds School of Media and Communication. His current research focuses on online civility. Prior research interests include social media and the ethnographic study of advertising in Costa Rica. Danilo is a former lecturer of sociology and social science research methods at the University of Costa Rica’s Schools of Sociology, Public Health, and Library and Information Sciences.
Carolyn Schmitt is a master’s student in theory and research and a Roy H. Park Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill. Previously, she worked in communications at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and was a researcher on their Public Discourse in the U.S. 2020 Election project. She holds a B.A. with High Distinction in Media Studies from the University of Virginia. She is particularly interested in the interface of journalism and digital media.
Elaine Schnabel is a 4th-year PhD candidate in the communication department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Elaine’s research focuses on how Christian organizations in the United States create religious identity and to what sociopolitical effects. Her current dissertation project examines how people who design, lead, and/or leave American churches establish a sense of “Christian” place through both the creation of physical church buildings and stories about them.
Cara Schumann is a masters student and Roy H. Park fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill. Cara is interested in the impacts of the professionalized political digital industry, and the impact of digital tools, tactics, and platforms on voters and democratic institutions.
Jacob Smith is a first-year Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the intersection between environmental anxiety and far-right sub-communities. In specific, Jacob studies the emergent strands of eco-fascist thought germinating within the contemporary far-right.
Sonja Solomun is the research director of the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill’s Max Bell School of Public Policy, an affiliate at the Data & Society Research Institute and a Co-Founder of the Coalition for Critical Technology. She is currently completing her PhD in the Department of Communication Studies at McGill University. She works on the histories and politics of platforms, platform governance, and most recently, climate justice and AI.
Zari Taylor’s interests are in critical cultural studies and media & technology. She’s specifically interested in how marginalized communities utilize media and technology to create community and how these platforms amplify social justice movements. Zari is also a public scholar and invested in writing for the public so that her research reaches beyond the academic community. Much of her interests are focused on Black communities in the Diaspora and approached from a Black Feminist framework.
Delaney Thull is a third year PhD student in the Philosophy Department at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research interests include moral and political philosophy. Currently she is working on research projects about internet troll farms and about the role of anger in our lives. She completed her M.A. in Philosophy at UNC. She graduated from Princeton University with an A. B. in Philosophy and a certificate in Values & Public Life.
Chad Van de Wiele is a Ph.D. candidate and NSF-IGERT Fellow in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois Chicago, with a graduate concentration in Black Studies. Their research examines the relationship between innovation, knowledge, power, and carcerality from an interdisciplinary perspective. In particular, they are interested in understanding how new technologies map onto existing power structures, as well as the possibilities for resistance and abolition they expose.
Noelle Wilson is a second-year Media Law Dual Degree candidate at the University of North Carolina School of Law and the Hussman School, and a graduate research assistant with CITAP. She just completed her first year of law school and is excited to begin pursuing a Master’s in Media and Communication this fall. Prior to returning to school, Noelle worked in digital communications and ecommerce, and she plans to focus her research on regulation of communication technology.
Luxuan Wang is a doctoral student of Media Studies at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. She’s interested in information crisis, polarization, and platform regulation and governance. Her previous work has examined the complexity of social media in civic life concerning citizen journalism, the democratic divide, misinformation engagement, and politics of computational quantification in different socio-political contexts.
Adrian Wong, a PhD student with the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, is a burgeoning mixed methods scholar focusing on the nexus of Information and Communications Technology infrastructure and the communication practices of transnational public policy organizations, especially those based in East Asia and South America.
Bridget Barrett is a Roy H. Park doctoral fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media and studies new media in political advertising. Bridget is interested in the intersection of digital marketing and politics, like how technologies developed for the commercial advertising industry impact political messaging online. How does this impact campaigning, elections, and people’s understanding of politics?
Kristen Bowen is a Ph.D. candidate in information science at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her primary research mainly uses qualitative methods to explore how social media and technology act as barriers to or support the health and wellbeing of marginalized populations. This work has included research into the online information behavior of pregnancy loss; inspecting the level of diversity within disability studies; exploring the information behavior of racial minority youth; and determining the information exchange experiences of Black adults, who have had concerns for their mental wellbeing in connection to rape.
Aashka Dave is a PhD student in the School of Information and Library Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is interested in media ecosystems, risk communications and evolving storytelling practices. Aashka holds an M.S. in comparative media studies from MIT and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Romance languages from the University of Georgia. She has previously worked at the MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media, the Harvard Kennedy School, and The Associated Press.
Katherine Furl (Katie) is a PhD student in the Sociology department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is interested in exploring the connections between gender, language, and media through qualitative and quantitative methods. Her research investigates how the language and rhetoric of male supremacist online communities promote broader gender inequalities on and offline.
Heesoo Jang is a doctoral student at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Her research interest lies in the intersection of technology, politics, and culture. She is particularly interested in discourses around artificial intelligence, which she is working towards as a dissertation topic.
Daniel Johnson is pursuing a master’s degree in the Media and Communication program at UNC Chapel Hill, with a focus on theory, research and strategic communications. Daniel’s interest in the communications field began after serving as a Department of Defense journalist during Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, and then as a public affairs officer afterwards. Daniel’s research interests include communication techniques, media literacy, and methods to prevent radicalization of vulnerable groups.
Becca Lewis is a PhD candidate in Communication at Stanford University, a Stanford Graduate Fellow, and a research affiliate at Data & Society Research Institute. She researches the production of knowledge among political groups online, particularly conservatives and the far-right. Her research combines a range of qualitative methods, including interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, historical analysis, and content analysis.
Lan Li is a doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s department of Information and Library Science. Her research explores how technologies – such as AI and online labor platforms – shape how we find and conduct work, and its implications for workers and skill development. Prior to joining UNC-Chapel Hill, Lan worked as a programmer developing digital learning tools.
Yuanye Ma (马元晔) is a a doctoral candidate at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before UNC SILS, I obtained my Master’s degree at the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI), with a specialization in Information Policy. Her doctoral dissertation research examines the concept of privacy through natural language processing. Her research interests include information ethics (IE), intercultural information ethics (IIE), and natural language processing (NLP).
Laura March (MS, Art Education; MEd, Learning, Design & Technology) is a PhD candidate at the School of Information and Library Science. Laura is a Digital Innovation Lab Fellow and a member of the Community Equity, Data & Information Lab, the Equity in the Making Lab, and UNC’s Digital Accessibility Advisory Team. Laura’s research interests include digital literacy education and creative uses of technology for inclusive learning experiences.
Michele Meyer is a mixed-methods social scientist who specializes in the representation of marginalized groups in new, social, and entertainment media. She is a PhD candidate at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill and her dissertation centers on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ online video creators. She holds an MA in Media Studies from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and a BA in Culture and Communication from Ithaca College. Michele is affiliated with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) as well as the Association of Internet Researchers.
Martin Naunov is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research explores the psychological underpinnings of illiberal impulses, susceptibility to disinformation, and the role of social identities in explaining political outcomes. Prior to joining UNC, Martin worked as a researcher for USAID in North Macedonia (where he is originally from) and for the Prague Security Studies Institute, researching online disinformation campaigns and foreign non-democratic influence in the Western Balkans.
William Clyde Partin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a researcher at Data & Society Research Institute. He researches the relationships between culture, technology, and power.
Madhavi Reddi is a PhD student at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, UNC-Chapel Hill and a Graduate Research Fellow with CITAP (UNC). She studies identity and representation through the lens of entertainment media, art, and politics with a focus on the South Asian diaspora. Specifically, her academic work demonstrates the need for scholars to think critically about the ways in which power dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender and nation shape identity construction in the media.
Evan Ringel is a first year Ph.D. Park fellow at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. He holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law and an M.A. from Hussman. Evan’s master’s thesis examined the potential First Amendment limitations to the regulation of emerging technologies like facial recognition technology. His research also focuses on state attempts to regulate the falsity of political advertisements, with a particular emphasis on the constitutional barriers to content-based regulation.
Jonathan Schlosser is a data scientist and computational social scientist whose current work is focused on fringe beliefs, conspiracy theories, and disinformation online and how they affect public political and social discourse. He is methodologically driven and works in the realms of natural language processing, machine learning, sentiment analysis, topic modeling, text analytics, and data visualization.
Lingyu Wang is a doctoral student at UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS). His research focuses on digital archives of socially produced artworks and social media images, examining their relations to communities, public memories, and perceptions of the body. His current research project critically examines archives of social movement arts in the intersection between library and information science, art history, critical media studies, and urban studies.
Lucas Wright is a PhD student in the Department of Communication and the Citizens and Technology Lab at Cornell University. He researches the governance of online communities and automated content moderation. Prior to returning to graduate school, Lucas conducted research on online speech with non-profits including the Dangerous Speech Project and the Global Disinformation Index. He has a MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford and a BA in Political Science from American University.