The Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) welcomes new faculty research fellows, faculty affiliates, and graduate students who will take part in our community this academic year. The CITAP affiliates bring expertise in communications, sociology, law, information science. Together with CITAP faculty, staff, and returning affiliates, the incoming cohort will collaborate and research how we use information technology to build community, exercise power, and make sense of the world.
“As someone who is also new to CITAP, I’m delighted to have such a talented, participatory community helping to shape the center and our work. Collaboration is a CITAP core value, and I’m eager to see how these new affiliates support and enrich one another’s research, introduce new ideas, and make impact,” said CITAP executive director Kathryn Peters.
These new affiliates join a community of principal researchers, returning faculty and student affiliates, and three senior faculty researchers.
In recognition of the non-traditional working arrangements this academic year brings, CITAP has established a new “fluffiliate” role and welcomes several canine and feline members contributing to the collective well-being of the community.
Faculty research fellows
David Ardia, UNC Law
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 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. Prior to his time at Harvard, he was assistant counsel at The Washington Post, where he provided pre-publication review and legal advice on First Amendment, news gathering, privacy, intellectual property, and general business issues. His research focuses on examining the impact of new information technologies on law and society, particularly the role that government and private intermediaries play in shaping the environment for speech and how legal and social forces affect these actors.
Santiago Olivella, UNC Department of Political Science
Santiago Olivella is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Miami and a Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton Politics’ Q-APS Program. Originally from Colombia, he received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, and specializes in developing and applying statistical models — particularly Bayesian graphical models and machine learning techniques — to study electoral and legislative politics. His work focuses on the measurement of latent traits (such as group memberships of networked actors) and the political consequences of electoral and legislative institutions (particularly as they interact with geographic patterns of political support). You can find some of his peer reviewed work in Political Analysis, the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies and the Journal of Politics.
Enrique Armijo, Elon Law
Enrique Armijo, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law, 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. He also has provided advice on media and internet law reform to governments, stakeholders and NGOs around the world, including in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Most recently, he has worked on media and communications reform projects in Myanmar (Burma) for the U.S. Department of State with Annenberg’s Center for Global Communications Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His commentaries on these and other topics have appeared on NPR’s On the Media, Voice of America, and other news and print outlets.
Sayamindu Dasgupta, UNC School of Information and Library Science
Dr. Sayamindu Dasgupta develops new tools and experiences that support young learners in creating, thinking, and learning with data so that they can be active and empowered participants in the data-driven and data-mediated society that they live in. In this work, he seeks to engage young learners not only in understanding and consuming, but also in creating with and questioning data. As a part of his research, Dr. Dasgupta designs new computational toolkits that help learners develop data literacies. Additionally, to understand how to best support learning and design for it, he studies learners as they engage in creative learning activities in a range of contexts and settings. Before coming to UNC SILS, Dr. Dasgupta was a Moore/Sloan & WRF Innovation in Data Science postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington. He received his PhD from MIT in 2016, where he was a part of the team that developed the Scratch programming language and online community.
Cori Dauber, UNC Department of Communication
Dr. Cori E. Dauber is a Professor of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on the visual propaganda of violent extremists in the online space. Dr. Dauber’s work has appeared in Perspectives on Terrorism, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Small Wars Journal, and Jihadology.net, among others, and she has presented her work at the Council on Foreign Relations, the NATO Annual Communicators Conference, and the INDO-PACOM J-39 Conference, among other venues. She is also an Associate of the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) the Research Arm of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFTCT.) She holds a Phd and BS from Northwestern University, and an MA from UNC-Chapel Hill, all in Communication Studies.
Matt Perault, Duke Center on Science & Technology Policy
Matt Perault 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. He previously worked as a consultant at the World Bank and served as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Matt holds a law degree from Harvard Law School, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown University.
Amanda Reid, UNC Hussman School
Amanda Reid is an Assistant Professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, an adjunct professor at the UNC School of Law, and a Faculty Affiliate at the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. She is also a Candidate on the Fulbright Specialist Roster and a member of the Board of Directors of The Daily Tar Heel. Her interdisciplinary legal scholarship analyzes meaning-making, including how we make, create, and interpret cultural artifacts around us. In particular, she studies how substantive laws (e.g., copyright) and procedural rules (e.g., burdens of proof and standards of review) impact—both positively and negatively—our ability to encode and decode meaning. Her research on copyright law complements CITAP research on the impact of technology on democratic and cultural participation. Before coming to Carolina, Reid taught at a law school for eight years. Prior to entering academia, she served as a commercial litigation associate at 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. She graduated with high honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. She maintains her law license in the state of Florida.
Graduate student affiliates
J. Sophia Baik
Jeeyun (Sophia) Baik is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California. She focuses on issues of privacy, surveillance, and communication law and policy. Through her research, she explores sociopolitical and regulatory consequences of the networked information environment on our everyday lives and people at the margins in specific. Her dissertation examines ways to enshrine data privacy as a civil right, by centering questions around discrimination and inequity in privacy policies and laws being shaped both at a state level (i.e., California) and at a federal level. The project particularly follows coalition-building dynamics across privacy advocacy groups and civil rights communities who are putting forward the frame of data privacy as a civil right in public discourse and rule-making processes. Her work has been published in leading journals such as Telematics and Informatics, International Journal of Communication, and Mass Communication and Society.
Kristen Bowen is a Ph.D. student and Rodney Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. Her primary research interests focus on the ways social media & technology support and act as barriers to marginalized populations’ health and well-being. She employs an interdisciplinary approach to exploring how individuals search for, process, and use information (particularly in connection to socially stigmatized topics or invisible disabilities) in online spaces. Kristen’s dissertation research examines Black emerging adults’ information exchange experiences (18-25) on their mental well-being regarding sexual violence they have experienced. Aside from CITAP, she is a member of the Community Equity, Data & Information Lab.
Tegan Rae Bratcher is currently a Roy H. Park doctoral fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-CH. She holds a BA and MA in Political Science from West Virginia University. As a doctoral student, her research focuses on the intersection of digital media, race, and politics. Specifically, she analyzes podcasts in attempt to investigate the ways in which Black Americans use media for strategic and political communication. Tegan’s research paper “The New Space of Opinion: Understanding the Role of Black Podcasts in Contemporary Black Thought” won the Top Student Paper Award in the Ethnicity and Race in Communication (ERIC) division for the 2020 ICA conference. In addition to research, Tegan teaches Media Ethics and Principles of Advertising and Public Relations.
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 Center for Civic Media, the Harvard Kennedy School, and The Associated Press.
Michelle Dromgold-Sermen is a PhD student in the Sociology Department at UNC. Her research focuses on international migration, migration policy, refugee resettlement, immigrant incorporation, the Middle East, and time and waiting. She has spent extensive time researching and working with migrant populations in Germany and Turkey and engages locally with refugee resettlement organizations. Michelle’s work draws on both traditional qualitative methods as well as digital ethnography and textual and qualitative analysis of television news media, Twitter posts, online immigration forums, and other online sources. Through analysis of online immigration forum posts, her dissertation examines the experiences, strategies, and consequences of nonimmigrants adjusting their legal status in the United States to become legal permanent residents. Her research emphasizes the centrality of time and waiting and the role of government institutions and policies in shaping this process.
Lauren C. Garcia is a first year doctoral student in the Media Art and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of South Florida and an MS in Sociology from VCU. She researches the role of digital platforms and algorithms in the spread of white supremacy, the digital aesthetics of right-wing groups, and the political economy of higher ed. Lauren’s work has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education and featured by WordPress Discover. She is responsible for several community-centered projects in the city of Richmond, including a multi-organization annual winter drive and the Race, Space, Place Initiative’s 2019 DATUM unConference.
Ashley Hedrick is a Roy H. Park Doctoral Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. Ashley’s research focuses on the impact that social norms—such as rape myths, gender role ideologies, victim blaming, and stigma—have on a variety of sexual health issues, including sexual violence prevention, HIV prevention, and human trafficking education. She is particularly interested in how social media and online communities may be used to learn more about the relationship between social norms and health outcomes, especially among adolescents. Her recent work also includes research on: the effects of rape myths and stereotypical gender role ideologies among participants of teen fanfiction communities, online discourse about stigma associated with an HIV prevention drug, adolescents’ victim-blaming responses to educational materials about sex trafficking, and meta-analytic research about the relationship between media consumption and rape myth acceptance.
Daniel Johnson is from Cary, North Carolina, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University in 2013. He is now 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 hopes to pursue a career in educating others in communication techniques and media literacy, and wants to research and refine methods used to prevent radicalization of vulnerable groups.
Becca Lewis is a PhD student in Communication at Stanford University, a Stanford Graduate Fellow, and a research affiliate at Data & Society Research Institute. She researches online political communities and their offline counterparts, with a focus on the production and consumption of disinformation and propaganda. Her research combines a range of qualitative methods, including interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, historical analysis, and content analysis. Formerly a full-time analyst at Data & Society, she published research on reactionary YouTubers and co-authored the organization’s flagship report on the media manipulation efforts of far-right internet communities. She holds an MSc in Social Science from the Oxford Internet Institute, where she researched the role of information and digital media technologies in political campaigns.
Lan Li is a doctoral student in the School of Information and Library Sciences at UNC.
Yuanye Ma is a doctoral student at SILS whose main research interests include information ethics (IE), intercultural information ethics (IIE), and natural language processing (NLP). Yuanye’s dissertation explores privacy as a concept under the light of intercultural information ethics, and by leveraging semantic measures seeks more nuanced understanding of the concept of privacy in an inter/cross-cultural environment. My research work touches on a range of information studies topics, including health information management, health informatics, recommender systems, pedagogy in LIS, etc. Methodology wise, I have been trying to familiarize myself with network analysis and natural language processing, including but not limited to semantic network analysis, topic modeling. I also have experience with qualitative research. Before SILS, I studied Information Policy at University of Michigan School of Information Science, and Library Science at Soochow University in China.
Laura March (MS, Art Education; MEd, Learning, Design & Technology) is a PhD student at the School of Information and Library Science. She is an instructional designer, trainer, and web developer with more than ten years of experience designing accessible online environments and teaching virtually. Aside from CITAP, she is 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. She enjoys painting friends and family in the style of famous works of art, trivia games, and eating far too much pizza.
Michele is a doctoral student and Roy H. Park Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill. Michele’s research interests include digital media, entertainment industries, and technology – and how those fields intersect with issues of sexual orientation, gender, race, and other forms of marginalization. Her dissertation is centered around the experiences of LGBTQIA+ creators of digital entertainment media. Michele’s research utilizes mixed-methods including semi-structured interviews, participant observation, content analyses, surveys, computational methods, and social network analyses.
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. Martin holds a BA in Political Science from Middlebury College. Prior to joining UNC, Martin was a 2017-2018 Fellow at the Hearst Media Corporation in New York. Additionally, he has 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.
Sasha Pierre-Louis grew up in Richmond, Virginia and recently graduated with a master’s from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). During her tenure at VCU she attended many conferences and was the recipient of several departmental and college travel grants. Her proudest moment was being a recipient of the ‘2020 Black History in the Making’ as a result of her service and dedication to the community, sociology department, and sociology field overall. Her thesis focused on how Black creatives use Twitter hashtags to find opportunities in their respective fields and network with other creatives online. More broadly she is interested in how Black women navigate their work environment, and professionally network and create niche communities on social media, and digital methods. Her long-term goal is to earn a PhD to continue studying these topics. In her free time, Sasha enjoys reading and giving book suggestions.
Evan Ringel is a fourth-year dual-degree J.D./M.A. student studying law and communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research focuses on state attempts to regulate the falsity of political advertisements, with a particular emphasis on the constitutional barriers to content-based regulation. He is also interested in attempts to regulate emerging technologies like facial recognition technology. Before coming to Chapel Hill, Evan worked as a professional musician, and he continues to teach jazz trombone at UNC-Charlotte and perform throughout the area.
Jonathan is a computational social scientist with experience researching social and political discourse online. He is more methodologically driven and works in the realms of natural language processing, machine learning, sentiment analysis, topic modeling, text analytics, and data visualization. Jonathan’s current work is focused on fringe beliefs, conspiracy theories, and disinformation online and how they relate to public political and social discourse. For more information, please feel free to reach out via email or to check out his website at www.JonathanSchlosser.com.
Rhyan Vereen is a Roy H. Park doctoral fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a member of the Royster Society of Fellows at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on exposure to and effects of exposure to health-related content on social media, particularly among health disparity populations. Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Rhyan worked on research teams supporting cancer prevention and health equity research at the American Cancer Society.
Lingyu Wang is a current doctoral student at UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS). He is broadly interested in the intersection of media practice, community archive, and public memory. His current research project aims to evaluate and develop tools for individuals to archive, understand, and represent social movements against censorship, disinformation, and radicalization. Beyond academic writing, Lingyu has also worked in scholarly communication, film production, and individual film and mixed media projects that examine conflicts and continuities across the boundaries of cultures, identities, and temporalities.
Lucas Wright is a graduate student in the field of communication at Cornell University, where he is affiliated with the Citizens and Technology Lab. His research covers platform governance, community-led moderation interventions, and the emerging platform regulation industry. He has previously worked as a researcher for the Global Disinformation Index and the Dangerous Speech Project and graduated from the University of Oxford and American University.
- Joe Czaboskvy
- Neal Caren
- Tori Ekstrand
- Rhonda Jones
- Lee McGuigan
- Andrew Perrin
- Alex Worsnip
Graduate student affiliates
- Kirsten Adams
- Bridget Barrett
- Ashley Fox
- Will Partin
- Madhavi Reddi
- Ian Williams
Kirby Kuo brings together behavioral psychology and performance studies to research the giving of treats. A second project focuses on soft materials for napping.
Thistle Meyer-Twaite studies the connections between platformization and the exploitation of artists on social media. She loves batting at the cursor on the computer screen and is the CFO of a small sticker company.
Hex Meyer-Twaite studies the impact of screen exposure on feline social development. He loves walking across keyboards and is an aspiring Instagram influencer.
Penny studies the affordances of pet adoption platforms such as petfinder.com. In her free time, she eats trash.
Pixel Petunia specializes in the uses of scent technology as an information medium, particularly in the geolocation of squirrels. Their collaborative contributions include snuggles and belly rubs.