We're pleased to welcome our 2023-2024 cohort of faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student affiliates this week.
We couldn’t be more excited about introducing our largest group of affiliates thus far (185!), or about the diverse group and variety of talents that are joining our community.
Affiliates include graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and professionals working on these topics in nonprofits, think tanks, and other organizations. This year’s cohort brings together institutions spanning the Research Triangle and the globe, from Chapel Hill and Durham to Israel, Germany, Iran, India, South Africa, and Turkey, to name just a few.
They're experts in mis- and disinformation, digital (in)equality/justice/equity, ethical technology, media and communication, AI, and journalism (among many other topics). The group brings together philosophers, sociologists, legal scholars, historians, information scientists, linguists. And we're unified by a common commitment to producing research that's concerned with how social difference shapes unequal experiences on information platforms and committed to advancing justice and equality.
Over the course of the coming academic year, the affiliates will gather for research workshops, topical working groups, professional development conversations, speakers and symposia, and informal collaboration both virtual and in-person. We'll be sharing their work in our newsletter and via our social media channels throughout the year ahead.
New Community Members
Faculty & Postdoctoral Affiliates
Ashkash Gautam is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at San Francisco State University. He is interested in designing socio-technical systems to realize an inclusive and just society, with research ranging across human-computer interaction (HCI), learning sciences, and community-based participatory action research. He completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech where he was a member of ThirdLab.
Adrian Hillman is an Associate Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London. His present research interest covers the sociology of news, and the influence of polarisation and advocacy on news dissemination. He explores how data usage is becoming increasingly important in news organizations, as data can provide insights into audience behaviour, content performance, and trends in the news.
Aidan Moir is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Windsor. Her research analyzes the relationship between legacy and social media on the circulation of iconic identities in popular culture. Her current research analyzes the intersections of strategic communication and digital advocacy for political campaigning, influencers, and corporate brands in mediating iconic promotional performances on social media.
Anna D. Gibson researches the role of digital communication technologies and platforms in social and civic life. She recently received her PhD from the Department of Communication at Stanford University in 2022 and currently works as a Postdoctoral Associate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Comparative Media Studies/ Writing. Her interdisciplinary approach is informed theoretically by the sociology of labor, organizational studies, and STS.
Ayse D. Lokmanoglu is an assistant professor in the Communication Department at Clemson University, and a member of the Media Forensics Hub. Her work takes a mixed methods approach that integrates computational methodologies and critical cultural theory to examine information campaigns in digital media associated with racial, gender, and religious supremacy.
Bayan Khosravi received her Ph.D. in Information Technology Management from Allameh Tabataba’i University in 2019. Bayan’s research has been published in Telecommunications Policy and Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, among others. Her research is inspired by the idea that the academic world has to play an important role in guiding policy and ensuring the well-being of all members of society. Her approach centers on understanding the imbrications of technology and policy, especially on the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion of various stakeholders in digital innovation.
Blake Atwood is Associate Professor of Media Studies and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies at the American University of Beirut. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of technology, culture, and politics in the Middle East. He is the author of Underground: The Secret Life of Videocassettes in Iran, and Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic.
Blake Hallinan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and affiliated with the ERC-funded DigitalValues project directed by Prof. Limor Shifman. They study the politics of classification on digital platforms and their current research investigates how users make sense of and contest algorithmic governance.
Carly Schnitzler is a lecturer in the University Writing Program at Johns Hopkins, where her teaching and research center on digital rhetoric, creative computation, and the public humanities. She is at work on two book projects: TextGenEd: Teaching with Text Generation Technologies and Generations: Creative Computation, Community, and the Rhetorical Canon. She also founded and continues to co-organize If, Then: Technology and Poetics with Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, a community working group and event series promoting inclusivity and skills-building in creative computation for artists, scholars, and teachers. Before coming to Hopkins, Carly taught writing and literature courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she received her Ph.D.
Christian Schwarzenegger is serving as a temporary professor in Communication and Media Studies with a focus on Media Society at the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI) at the University of Bremen. Christian Schwarzenegger is on leave from his position as Akademischer Oberrat at the Department of Media, Knowledge and Communication at the University of Augsburg. He currently leads the DFG-funded research project "Alternative Media - Alternative Publics - Alternative Realities? Users and usage patterns of system-critical alternative media and their significance in the media repertoire over time" (2021-2024).
Christopher Terry received his Ph.D. from UW-Madison in 2012. He spent 15 years as a producer in commercial radio, and his research agenda includes regulatory and legal analysis of media ownership, internet policy and political advertising. Terry served for six years as a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before becoming joining University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the Fall of 2016.
Chuck Tryon is a professor of English at Fayetteville State University. He has written three books, Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence, On-Demand Culture: Digital Delivery and the Future of Movies, and Political TV. He has also published articles in Media Industries Journal, Media Culture and Society, Screen, and The Journal of Film and Video.
Cindy Ma is an incoming Lecturer of Race and Media at the University of Leeds. Her research examines how sociotechnical systems, political discourse, and racial inequity intersect.
Colin Henry is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Vanderbilt University. He will be starting a one-year post-doc in an online extremism lab at George Washington University in the 2023-2024 academic year. Henry's dissertation work examines how the architecture of government on Western social media platforms radicalizes online political communities, with a particular focus on extremist movements at the intersection of race, gender, and religion.
David S. Levine is a Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Dave was a fellow at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy from 2014-2017. Dave has been published in leading law reviews on issues involving technology, information law, trade secrecy and accountability, and is co-author of Information Law, Governance, and Cybersecurity. He is also the founder and host of Hearsay Culture on KZSU-FM.
Eden Consenstein is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and the Mary Noel and William M. Lamont Fellow in Religion and Media at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research explores the varied intersections of conservative Christianity, capitalism, media, and technology in the twentieth and twenty-first century United States. She holds a Ph.d. in Religious Studies from Princeton University, where she also completed a certificate from the program in Media and Modernity.
Elizabeth Ramsey is an associate professor and librarian at Boise State University’s Albertsons Library. She is the liaison to programs in the School of Public Service, the School of the Environment, and the Center for Global Education. Among her research interests are critical information literacy, libraries and civic engagement, and outreach to underrepresented students in higher education.
Erkan Saka is a professor of media and journalism studies in the Media Department at Istanbul Bilgi University. He is the author of "Social Media and Politics in Turkey", "A Journey through Citizen Journalism, Political Trolling, and Fake News", and "Big Data and gender-biased algorithms".
Fabian Virchow is a political scientist and sociologist with a long history in researching racism, antisemitism, and the radical right - its history, worldview and political performance, including violence and terrorism. He is also investigating how right-wing/white supremacist violence is remembered. Further research is in protest and social movements, particularly how they make use of digital media.
Greg Day is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the Terry College of Business and holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Law. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project. His research has primarily focused on the intersection of competition, technology, innovation, and privacy as well as the disparate impact of anticompetitive conduct.
Guido Zurstiege is a Professor at the Institute for Media Studies at the University of Tübingen, Germany. His research has been centered on vulnerable audiences, with studies on preventing childhood obesity through serious games, public health campaigns, and parental mediation. Currently, he focuses on exploring forms of and motivations for digital disconnection.
J. Clark Powers is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Maynooth University. His work concerns the development and teaching of interdisciplinary methodology for practical, pragmatic social research in contemporary mediatized societies. He is a co-founder and active member of the Interdisciplinary Digital Research Group at Dublin City University. Clark has 20 years of continuing experience as a communications practitioner in the international security and disarmament space.
Jeffrey W. Treem is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is part of the Organizational Communication & Technology group. His work explores how the material affordances of communication technologies affect attributions of knowledge.
Jessica Maddox is an assistant professor of digital media technology at the University of Alabama. Her research focuses on the intersection of culture, social media platforms, and the tech industry, and how the experiences of influencers and content creators reveal systemic inequalities and power imbalances for marginalized users.
Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat is a Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. He teaches and researches the politics of Media Technologies and Industries, with particular attention to how they shape the conditions for social communicative interactions.
Josephine (Jo) Lukito is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism and Media. She is also the Director of the Media & Democracy Data Cooperative and a Senior Faculty Research Affiliate for the Center for Media Engagement. Jo uses mixed methods and computational approaches to study political language in the information ecology, focusing especially on harmful digital content (e.g., mis/disinformation, hate speech) across multiple platforms.
Justin Pottle is a political theorist and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. His research explores the intersections of democratic theory and social epistemology, with a focus on how racial, political, and economic inequality affect what citizens learn about politics.
Kaitlin Stack Whitney is an assistant professor in the Science, Technology & Society Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. She holds a PhD in Zoology with a minor in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research explores intersections of technology with biodiversity, such as how community science moving mostly online has shaped who participates and how museums are (or are not) including disability as biological diversity in their missions and messaging.
Laura Schelenz is a researcher at the International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, University of Tuebingen, Germany. In the past 6 years, she has worked at the Ethics Center on digitalization and technology development in Africa, Europe, and the USA. She looks at technology and society from a critical perspective, centering diversity-aware design in her research and practice.
Lauren Alfrey is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Portland. She studies how systemic racism and gender inequality in Silicon Valley shape the design and use of digital technologies, including how common-sense ideologies about race, class, and gender difference are produced through these technologies. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.A. in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University.
Mark Coddington is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University. He studies the sociology of digital journalism, focusing on professionalism, epistemology, and organizational influence. He has published a book on news aggregation and co-authors RQ1, a newsletter on news research. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Martin Kwan is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Hong Kong’s Asian Institute of International Financial Law, and a 2022-2023 Associate in Research at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. His transnational research focuses on law, tech and policy.
Martin J. Riedl is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research investigates platform governance and content moderation, digital journalism, as well as the spread of false and misleading information on social media.
Meghan Manfra is a Professor in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the integration of technology in secondary social studies classrooms and action research as a professional development tool for teachers. She is the author of Action Research for Classroom, Schools, and Communities and editor of the Handbook of Social Studies Research.
Photini Vrikki is a Lecturer in Digital Methods in the Humanities at the Department of Information Studies at University College London. Her research focuses on the links between social and digital inequalities; power and data; and algorithmic cultural developments. In her work, she examines the integration of technology into our lives by exploring the socio-cultural opportunities of data while conveying their humanities challenges.
Robyn Caplan is a Visiting Fellow at DLI Cornell Tech, and an Assistant Professor at Duke Sanford. Researcher at Data & Society Research Institute and a founding member of the Platform Governance Research Network. She received her PhD from the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. She conducts research at the intersection of platform governance and media policy. Her research examines the impact of inter-and-intra-organizational behavior on platform governance and content moderation.
Saba Eskandarian is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on cryptography, privacy, and security. He is particularly interested in privacy and accountability in messaging systems. Previously, he completed his PhD in the Applied Cryptography group at Stanford University, where he was advised by Dan Boneh.
Sandip Kana received his PhD in History from King’s College London. Sandip is the recipient of an award from KCL's Enhancing Education Fund for the design of a 'Decolonised' Digital Journal. Sandip carried out research into the salt tax in India, which involved photographing revenue commissioner reports on the open shelves at LSE. He is an IHR Peter Marshall Fellow, an Early Career Member of the Royal Historical Society, and a Royal Asiatic Society Fellow.
Sharrona Pearl is Associate Professor of Bioethics and History at Drexel University. Her forthcoming book "Do I know you? From face blindness to super recognition" is the third in her face trilogy. She also has a book under contract on "The Mask" with Bloomsbury Academic. She has published widely on Victorian history of medicine, media and religion, apologies and forgiveness, plastic surgery, and faces more broadly. Pearl maintains an active freelance profile with bylines in The Washington Post, Real Life Mag, Lilith, and a variety of other sites.
Siva Vaidhyanathan is a cultural historian and media scholar, and the Robertson professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. He directs the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. Vaidhyanathan is a permanent columnist at The Guardian and Slate; he is also a frequent contributor on media and cultural issues in various periodicals including The Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Slate, and The Baffler.
Suzanne van Geuns is a second-year postdoctoral research associate at Princeton's Center for Culture, Society, and Religion. Her scholarship examines the intellectual exchange between computational projects and the gendered or sexual imagination, with her most recent project focusing on artificial intelligence research as it appears in heterosexual seduction advice. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto, where she was a fellow at the Schwartz-Reisman Institute for Technology and Society.
Tamar Wilner is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, where she works on Co-Designing for Trust, a National Science Foundation-funded project that draws on workshops with teachers, librarians, and community members to develop initiatives to tackle the misinformation crisis. Her research interests include news literacy, misinformation, media trust, and the research-practitioner gap in journalism. She earned her Ph.D. in Journalism and Media from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tanja Thomas is Professor of media studies with a focus on transformations in media culture at Tübingen University. Throughout her carrier, she has worked extensively on socially relevant and very topical issues in the field of media and communication studies including racism, sexism, the representation of right-wing populism and violence in Germany, political protest in Germany and Israel as well as questions of collective memories in and through media.
TJ Billard is an Assistant Professor and William T. Grant Scholar in the School of Communication and, by courtesy, the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University. They are the founding Executive Director of the Center for Applied Transgender Studies in Chicago and Editor-in-Chief of the Center’s flagship journal, the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies. Dr Billard is the author of Voices for Transgender Equality: Making Change in the Networked Public Sphere and editor of Public Scholarship in Communication Studies.
Vignesh Rajahmani holds a PhD in Politics and Public Policy from King’s India Institute, King's College London. With a multidisciplinary background encompassing political science, sociology, and business studies, Vignesh brings over 5 years of professional experience in public policy, legislative research, and political consulting. His research focuses on the multi-pronged impact of social media on shaping societal common sense, voter behaviour, and democratic and electoral outcomes in the Global South. Specifically, Vignesh examines the intricate dynamics of social media networks, particularly the influential heavy tweeters on Twitter, who possess the ability to shape the digital public sphere in India.
Waqas Ejaz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Oxford Climate Journalism Network. His research interests include studying digital media effects, climate change, political, and computational communication. Since his doctorate, Waqas has been working as an Assistant Professor in Pakistan, where he has looked at climate change journalism, conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, and media representations. At the Reuters Institute, he is working on an international comparative survey to understand how people consume news on climate change and its impact on a range of different attitudes.
Xinyan (Eva) Zhao is an assistant professor at UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Her research focuses on computational strategic communication and examines social media information acquisition, processing, and diffusion surrounding crisis, risk, and health topics.
Anurag Shukla has completed his Ph.D. at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA). He has an MPhil degree from Delhi University and a master's degree from Azim Premji University and has worked previously with organizations such as the Azim Premji Foundation, Pratham, the Centre for Advocacy and Research, Times Group, and Business Standard. He has also been a J-PAL Research for Impact (RFI) fellow and a Reimagining Migration fellow. His interests are in public policy and administration, the history of education, the use of technologies, the digital humanities, and the use of social theory in education.
Anabelle Torek is the Associate Director of Technology Policy at the Anti-Defamation League's Center for Technology and Society. Her subject matter expertise drives ADL's tech policy strategy around promoting platform transparency and accountability and combating online harassment and abuse, and her research focuses on free speech and information integrity. She is an alum of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and the Knight Foundation.
Elizabeth Thompson is a researcher for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at UNC Chapel Hill and a Master of Science student in Foundations of Data Science at North Carolina State University. Thompson’s research ranges from burnout in United States local journalists to news and information ecosystems.
Jasmine Baker is a multi-talented digital creator, thought leader, and changemaker. Jasmine develops content to promote civic engagement which includes educating 230K+ subscribers via YouTube on history, politics, and pop culture with an emphasis on Black feminist theory. Jasmine has also worked with organizations like Google, HarperCollins, and the NAACP through her consulting firm SBG Digital. Throughout her career, Jasmine has interviewed numerous public figures, including hosting an interview with Michelle Obama for YouTube’s BookTube launch which drew 2.7M views.
Nicholas Croce is a public policy researcher at Mathematica and is working on a doctorate at Syracuse University. Croce holds an M.P.P. in poverty alleviation from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and an M.A. in sociology from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. At Mathematica, Croce works on projects related to homelessness, disaster recovery, and childhood nutrition.
Simon Strick is an independent researcher in cultural and gender studies, and works as a dramaturg. He has held positions at FU Berlin, Paderborn University, JFK-Institute Berlin, ZfL Berlin and the University of Virginia. Simon’s research focuses on gender and critical race studies, popular culture, affect studies, media and cultural analysis. With Susann Neuenfeldt and Werner Türk, he founded the performance group PKRK in 2009. He lives and works in Berlin.
Spencer Izen is a civil and digital liberties advocate and researcher studying political science and information science at the University of British Columbia. Currently, Spencer is a legal researcher with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, examining the law and policy of access to information rights in his province, and research fellow at New York University’s Library Futures Institute. His main research interests are in issues of information (in)justice, stemming from his background developing the Student Press Freedom Act, Canada’s first student press protection legislation, alongside co-drafter Jessica Kim. They are the Co-Champions of Free Expression for 2023.
Yukun Yang is a data scientist at the Center for Antiracist Research, Boston University, and an incoming Ph.D. student at Network Science Institute, Northeastern University. He received his MS in Information science from UNC-Chapel Hill. His research interests lie in understanding how social identities undergird communication and interactions on social media, specifically identities about political ideology, nationality, and race/ethnicity. On a larger scale, he is interested in how identity-based complex social processes influence the phenomenon of balkanization, polarization, mobilization, and user migration in online spaces.
Graduate Student Affiliates
Akriti Gaur is an Indian lawyer currently pursuing a J.S.D. at Yale Law School where she also serves as a Tutor in Law. She obtained her LL.M. degree from Yale Law School in 2022. Akriti is a Resident Fellow at the Yale Information Society Project and a research affiliate with the Yale Genocide Studies Program (Mass Atrocities in the Digital Era Project). Before coming to Yale, Akriti was a policy advisor and an independent researcher focusing on technology and human rights in India.
Alex Rochefort is a PhD Candidate in the Division of Emerging Media Studies at Boston University’s College of Communication. He is currently working on a dissertation that uses theories of the policymaking process to explain the emergence of digital platform regulation as a public concern in the United States. His broader research interests include platform governance, tech policy, and human rights. Alex has held fellowships with Freedom House and Ranking Digital Rights. In 2022 he participated in the Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute.
Alphoncina Lyamuya is a Ph.D. student at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California. Her research is centered on the intersection of digital technologies, transnational governance, and inequality. She focuses on the use of automated decision-making systems, data science techniques, and other digital infrastructures by governments and humanitarian agencies in migration management and border control.
Ava Francesca Battocchio is an Information & Media Ph.D. Candidate and University Enrichment Fellow in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. Their research employs ethnographic and computational methods to explore how rural, remote and post-industrial community structure and collective identity shape hybrid civic storytelling networks. This work explores how these communities, particularly those underserved by local news and broadband, learn about and organize around challenging social issues.
Azza El Masri is a doctoral student in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a journalist, disinformation expert, and digital security consultant that has worked with independent media organizations, human rights organizations, and journalism students across North Africa and Western Asia (NAWA) to develop and support open-source investigations and fact-checking projects. Her research interests sit at the intersection of media, technology and human rights.
Benjamin Listyg is a PhD candidate in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology Department at the University of Georgia. His substantive research interests primarily revolve around improving how workers find occupations that match their interests and skillset. His methodological interests focus on Item Response Theory (IRT) modeling, mixed-effect modeling, and applied graph theory.
Diana Casteel is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her areas of interest include political discourse, conservative news cultures, critical disinformation, and the social construction of knowledge. She is currently working on her dissertation which explores the discursive online communities constructed by female conservative political influencers and self-identified journalists using a critical interpretivist perspective.
Dien Luong is an upcoming PhD student in Communication and Media at the University of Michigan. He has held fellowship positions at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore and the Ash Center at the Harvard Kennedy School. Dien is also interested in researching Big Tech-government relations, online censorship and the media landscape in Southeast Asia.
Ellen Perleberg is a Master of Science in Library Science student at UNC-Chapel Hill and the co-principal investigator of the Yallah Y'all Queer Jewish Linguistics lab at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her current research focuses on "algospeak" and other forms of digital language innovation, especially in relation to digital labor practices.
Elliott Edsall is a first-year PhD student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research centers on American political culture, specifically in the realm of right-wing media. He is primarily interested in the way conservative media figures relate themselves to their audiences, and how political and cultural symbols are used to represent outlets' target audiences. He is interested in how political media affects American culture more broadly.
Emily Mendelson is a doctoral student in Interpersonal Communication at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is interested in how individuals make sense of their relationships and communicate about their relationships to others. More specifically, Emily researches communication during sexual encounters, mediated displays of public intimacy, and how individuals understand love and care.
Enrique Núñez-Mussa is a Ph.D. student in the Information and Media program at Michigan State University and is a Fulbright scholar. He is an external graduate student affiliated with the Center for Latinx Digital Media of Northwestern University. His research interests are journalism's societal function, authority, discourse, and norms.
Ethan McAndrews is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, where he is studying an MA in International Politics. He is interested in the intersection of international relations, culture, and technology, primarily exploring how states shape the conditions of digital culture and communication within modern society. He studied at Indiana University Bloomington (B.A., International Relations & East Asian Studies) and Nanjing University as a Boren Scholar.
Hunter Hinson is a Shirley Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he is pursuing an MSc in Social Science of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute (2023-24). His research focuses on how violence, hate, and political radicalization are promoted online through computational propaganda and other emerging technologies like generative AI. He holds a BA in Communication and Political Science from the University of Southern California.
Jaylexia Clark is a PhD Candidate and 2022-2023 Fulbright recipient in the Department of Sociology. Her primary research interests are, structural racial and gender inequality, platform work, and digital entrepreneurship. Currently, she is investigating the experiences of female digital entrepreneurs and platform workers in Accra, Ghana. This project is a part of her ongoing research which seeks to bridge the gap between theories on gendered racial capitalism and platform capitalism.
Jennifer Dudley is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Her research explores issues of politics, power, organizations, and culture. With Jennifer’s dissertation, she examines three potential sources of political incivility in the U.S - through the pool of potential candidates, voter preferences, or acculturation by politicians in office. Her results have implications for sociological conceptions of incivility as well as democratic discourse in the U.S. Her research uses experimental design, computational text analysis, and survey research.
Jessica Shaw is a Ph.D. student and a Roy H. Park fellow at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. Jessica's current research explores the public understanding and ethics of data privacy in strategic communication efforts, such as advertisements, disclaimers, and PR initiatives. Previously, she worked as a journalist and in public relations.
Julianna Surkin is a scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science majoring in Information Science and Computer Science. After being inspired by a Cyberlaw course at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Julianna expanded her areas of study beyond software and experience design to include many fascinating aspects of technology regulation. Her research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of design and regulation, uncovering how the intersection of platform architecture, dark patterns, and artificial intelligence pose a threat to individual autonomy and democratic processes.
Kamile Grusauskaite is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute for Media Studies at KU Leuven, Belgium. She was previously a visiting doctorate researcher at Yale Sociology. Her research lies at the intersection of media and cultural sociology. She has written about conspiracy theories, online 'deviance', online subcultures, platform politics, and mechanisms of online socialization. Her work was published in journals like Social Media + Society, New Media and Society and Public Understanding of Science.
Kara Ortiga is currently a PhD Candidate at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She is interested in how and why online users or audiences become entangled with disinformation narratives. She finished her Master of Digital Communication and Culture at the University of Sydney and was a feature writer for Esquire, CNN Philippines, and Vice Asia.
Kim Fernandes is a joint doctoral candidate in Anthropology & Education at the University of Pennsylvania. As a researcher, writer and educator, they are interested in when and how the body meets and moves through the world. Their current research, emerging from their dissertation project, lies at the intersections of disability, data and governance.
Lauren Bridges is a Ph.D. candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches the social and environmental impacts of digital infrastructures. Bridges has published on surveillance infrastructures, digital labor, and moments of digital failure, among other topics. She is co-PI of a two-year grant from the Internet Society. Starting in Fall 2023, Bridges will be fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
Li Qian Tay is a Ph.D. student in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Western Australia. His research explores how different types of misinformation and interventions affect individuals’ cognition and behaviour. He also has broad interests in causal inference and computational modelling.
Megan Rim is a PhD Candidate in American Culture and Digital Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research interests broadly look at race and digital technology with specific attention to social movements, surveillance, infrastructures, and algorithmic bias. Her work is theoretically and methodologically inspired by Black and Women of Color Feminisms, Feminist STS, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and Critical Data Studies.
Namita Gupta is a doctoral student at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research lies at the intersection of print and digital public sphere, where she aims to study the impact of new technologies on social and political discourse in popular culture. Particularly, she is interested in examining nationalism and resistance in new media publics.
Nicole Cote is a Ph.D. student at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY). Her research investigates the historical and contemporary entanglements of media, technology, and cultural work that shape how “natural” disasters and other environmental crises are understood in the public sphere, and how they might be refigured.
Nishant Sahdev is a research scholar at Delhi Technological University, New Delhi, India. He is doing his work on monetary policy & flow. He keeps a good knowledge of South Asia History and the Indian constitution. He has received various scholarships from the government of India.
Rebecca Scharlach is an international PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a core member of the ERC-funded research project DigitalValues. Her dissertation, supervised by Limor Shifman, focuses on the construction of values by social media platforms. Broadly, her research critically examines the intersection between platform governance and society.
Roxana Mika Muenster is a PhD student in the graduate field of Communications at Cornell University. Her work focuses on social movements, the far-right and digital communication. Currently, she is researching lifestyle politics on the far-right and their role in the online spread of ideology. She has a background in journalism, including as the Marjorie Deane Fellow at the Economist, and has worked as a researcher at the FU Berlin, the LSE and Cornell University.
Sam Shear is a graduate student at Wake Forest University's Department of Communication. He is interested in the political and epistemological underpinnings of sociotechnical structures, such as algorithms and minimalistic, techno-libertarian logics.
Sananda Sahoo is a Ph.D. candidate in Media Studies at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She looks at the intersections of public, public space, and digital infrastructures. Her previous research includes political posters and platforms, Internet shutdowns, sites of violence in the digital sphere, data imaginaries in colonial and democratic India, and colonial narratives in photographs and memoirs by women.
Sarah Whitmarsh is a PhD student and Roy H. Park Fellow at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Her research interests include collective action and social change, especially on abortion and reproductive justice. Prior to UNC, she worked as a communication professional in international development and reproductive health and spent nearly 15 years designing, implementing, and evaluating advocacy and communication strategies.
Shu Wan is currently matriculated as a doctoral student in history at the University at Buffalo. As a digital and disability historian, he serves in the editorial team of Digital Humanities Quarterly and Nursing Clio.
Stephanie Kaczynski is a Royster Fellow and PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also pursuing UNC’s Graduate Certificates in Participatory Research and Cultural Studies. Her work centers the biopolitical and colonial relationship between mobility and the nation-state, focusing on the ways marginalized communities resist police racism.
Sudhamshu Hosamane is a first-year PhD student in Information Science at Rutgers University- New Brunswick. He is interested in studying and modelling human reactions to user-generated content on the internet and has had a longstanding interest in keeping the internet safe and accessible. His current research interests are in social media experiments, online disinformation campaigns, crowdsourcing information, adaptive experiments, studying misinformation on private messaging channels.
Talia Berniker is a Ph.D. student in Communication at Cornell University. Broadly, her research uses qualitative methods to examine how emerging communication technologies are represented in public policy and advertising campaigns.
Thomas Struett is a communication PhD student at American University. He is also the research director at the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub located at George Washington University. His research has focused on data governance, folk theories of algorithms, and internet governance.
Yarden Skop is a PhD researcher. Her dissertation research will explore relationships between digital news and journalistic publishers and large platform companies, using case studies in which machine learning is used to automate content moderation and fact checking. Before starting her graduate studies, Yarden was a journalist in Israel for more than a decade.
Yena Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society program at Northwestern School of Communication. She is a member of Digital Apothecary Lab and an affiliate of Center for Latinx Digital Media and The Center for Race and Digital Studies. She is interested in studying the emerging forms and processes of networked social movement and the technological, political, and organizational conditions that enable or challenge the rise of such movements.
Zarine Kharazian is a PhD student in the Department of Human-Centered Engineering at the University of Washington, where she works at the Center for an Informed Public. Her research focuses on how online communities across a variety of platforms govern and are governed as they navigate disinformation, cyber-enabled influence operations, and related online harms.
Zelly Martin is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Media Engagement and a current Ph.D. candidate in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She graduated with an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Feminist Studies from Southwestern University. Her research focuses on disinformation and data surveillance, particularly as they exacerbate inequality of marginalized communities.
Returning Community Members
Faculty & Postdoctoral Affiliates
Aaron Shapiro is assistant professor of technology studies in the Department of Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. His current research is a study of the cultural and moral economies of subscription.
Alex Worsnip is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Applied Epistemology Project at UNC Chapel Hill. His research interests are primarily in epistemology and the theory of rationality, with particular recent attention to applied and political epistemology. He has published on topics such as the epistemology of media consumption, the epistemology of climate change denial, and political disagreement.
Amanda Reid is an Associate Professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, an adjunct professor at the UNC School of Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. Her interdisciplinary legal scholarship focuses on the intersection of law, technology, and society, with particular emphasis on the First Amendment, intellectual property, and privacy.
Andrea Lorenz is an assistant professor of journalism at Kent State University. Her research interests include local news and democracy, political communication at the state and local level, and women in journalism and politics. She is a former journalist and holds a BA in International Studies from American University, an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. from the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Ashley Muddiman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, as well as a Faculty Research Associate with the Center for Media Engagement. Her research explores media effects, specifically those related to digital politics and political incivility. She also enjoys using innovative methods to address the challenges of studying social media content. She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Aspriadis Neofytos is an Adjunct Lecturer of Strategic Communication in the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Patras. His research interests are in strategic communication, crisis management and communications, nation branding, public diplomacy, strategy, information warfare, psychological operations, fake news, disinformation, character assassination, and rhetoric. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Piraeus.
Bente Kalsnes is Professor of Political Communication at the Department of Communication, Kristiania University College. Her research interests include political communication, social media, disinformation, platform power. She is founding member of the research project Source Criticism and Mediated Disinformation (SCAM) financed by the Norwegian Research Council. Kalsnes has been a member of the Freedom of Speech Commission, as well as a member of a Nordic think tank. She is the author of a book about fake news and disinformation in a Norwegian context (Falske nyheter: Løgn, desinformasjon og propaganda i den digitale offentligheten, Cappelen Damm Akademisk, 2019). She received her PhD at the University of Oslo.
Brian Creech is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Lehigh University. His research takes a critical look at the technology and journalism industries, with a focus on institutional power and public discourse.
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, is a behind-the-scenes look at how performance analytics are transforming the work of journalism, from the New York Times to Gawker Media.
Chad Bryant is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Global Studies. He is the author of Prague: Belonging and the Modern City (Harvard University Press, 2021). A Czech translation, published by Argo, is forthcoming. Bryant is also author of Prague in Black: Nazi Rule and Czech Nationalism (Harvard University Press, 2007), winner of the Hans Rosenberg Book Prize. He is currently embarking on a project that looks at conspiracies (real and imagined) and conspiratorial thinking in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe, within a global context. He has been a CITAP affiliate for two years.
Chelsea Butkowski is an Assistant Professor at American University's School of Communication. She studies how people use digital media technologies to make sense of their identities, particularly during periods of great sociopolitical change. Chelsea's work focuses on the personal politics of digital storytelling and media representation in shaping online communities.
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.
David Morar is a Senior Policy Analyst with New America’s Open Technology Institute, a visiting scholar at the Schar School of Policy and Government, and a Fellow at the Digital Interests Lab. He is a researcher and public policy professional, a three time ICANN Fellow, who has done work throughout the spectrum of technology policy issues, both nationally and internationally, from privacy and open data to ethics and content issues.
Diana Freed is a 2023-24 joint fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and at the Center for Research on Computation and Society. She will join the faculty at Brown University in 2024 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and at the Data Science Institute. Her research interests are in human-computer interaction, usable security and privacy, technology policy, and digital health. Her research focuses on designing, developing, and evaluating sociotechnical systems in the context of youth interpersonal relationships, intimate partner violence, and caregiving systems.
Elizabeth Dubois is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and a member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa. Her work examines political uses of digital media including media manipulation, citizen engagement, and artificial intelligence. She hosts the Wonks and War Rooms podcast where political communication theory meets on the ground strategy. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.
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. He is a Research Fellow with George Washington's Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics. 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.
Gabriel Nicholas is a Research Fellow at the Center for Democracy & Technology where his research focuses on automated content moderation and data governance. He is also a joint fellow at the NYU School of Law Information Law Institute and the NYU Center for Cybersecurity. He holds a MA in Information Management and Systems from the UC Berkeley School of Information.
Heather Suzanne Woods is a scholar and researcher of digital rhetoric. Her areas of expertise include memes, virtual assistants Siri and Alexa, online activism and social media, and smart homes. She is Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies of Communication Studies at Kansas State University. She is author of Make America Meme Again: The Rhetoric of the Alt-Right with Leslie Hahner.
Iuliia Alieva is a 3rd year Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where she works at the Center for Informed Democracy and Social Cybersecurity (IDeaS) and the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS). Her professional and academic interests are focused on research about disinformation, computational propaganda, state-funded disinformation operations, and political communication.
Iva Nenadić is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom. She studies media pluralism in the context of content curation, ranking and moderation policies of online platforms, democratic implications such policies may have, and related regulatory interventions.
Jared Schroeder is an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where his research focuses on freedom of expression and emerging technologies. His research considers how we should understand and rationalize freedom of expression in an era defined by difficult questions about artificial intelligence, the flow of information, and questions concerning platform regulation. Schroeder is the author of The Press Clause and Digital Technology's Fourth Wave and co-author of Emma Goldman's No-Conscription League and the First Amendment.
Jennifer Forestal is the Helen Houlahan Rigali Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. She is a political theorist whose research examines the relationship between digital technologies and democratic politics; she has written on topics like platform design and governance, digital culture, and misinformation. Her book, Designing for Democracy: How to Build Community in Digital Environments (Oxford University Press, 2022), won the 2023 APSA STEP section's Don K. Price Award for Best Book on Science, Technology, and Politics.
Jessica Mahone is the Research Director of the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (CISLM) at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Prior to joining CISLM, she has held research and evaluation positions at Report for America, the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University, Democracy Fund, and Pew Research Center. She received her Ph.D. in mass communication, specializing in political communication, from the University of Florida, M.A. degrees in communication and sociology from East Tennessee State University, and a B.A. in religion from King College.
Jessie Barton Hronesova is an incoming lecturer in political sociology at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London, beginning September 2023. She is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, funded by the European Union. From April to September 2023, she is a visiting fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Her general research interests are in democratic backsliding, memory, transitional justice, post-war reconstruction and the rule of law in post-war and transitional contexts.
Joe B. Bak-Coleman is an associate research scholar at the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security at Columbia University and a computational social scientist. He earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University in 2020, working with Iain Couzin and Dan Rubenstein, and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington Center for an Informed Public. His research focuses on understanding how collectives make decisions in the face of uncertainty. He’s particularly interested in understanding what makes collective decision-making work and how it can go awry. Over the past decade, he has worked on collective decision-making in a range of contexts from animal groups and social media to metascience.
Jonathan Peters is the chair of the Department of Journalism in the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, where he also has a faculty appointment in the School of Law. His research focuses on First Amendment and media law, and his work has appeared in journals published by the law schools at Harvard, Berkeley, NYU, Virginia, and North Carolina, among others. He is a member of the Panel of Experts on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, which is part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). His contributions to the Panel focus on digitally-mediated assemblies and press rights at protests.
Larissa Doroshenko is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Communication and an Affiliate Faculty in Network Science Institute, both at Northeastern University. Her computational research projects focus on "the dark side" of online media: populism, nationalism, and disinformation campaigns. She received her Ph.D. degree in Communication Arts (Political Communication) with a minor in Political Science (Comparative Politics) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lauren Zentz specializes in the study of language socialization in contexts of online communication, political activism and news media, and the relation of such language use to nationalism, politics, and identity work. Her recent work takes an interest in how political activists and members of the news media make use of social media platforms in constructing individual and group identities, forming sociopolitical movements, and conveying news events.
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 book, Selling the American People: Advertising, Optimization, and the Origins of Adtech, will be published by MIT Press in 2023.
Luise Papcke is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Classical Liberal Institute at the New York University School of Law. A political theorist by training, she received her Ph.D. from Columbia in 2020. In her research, she draws from the history of political thought to analyze the nature and dynamics of nascent digital subjectivity and the challenges it poses to ‘traditional’ liberal democratic ideas about individuality and autonomy. Prior to coming to the U.S., Luise earned a Franco-German dual M.A. in History and Political Theory from Sciences Po Paris and Freie Universität Berlin, and a B.A. in Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin.
Madhavi Reddi is an assistant professor of mass communication at York College of Pennsylvania. Her research explores identity and representation through the lens of entertainment media, art, and politics.
Matt Perault is the director of the Center on Technology Policy (CTP), a professor of the practice at UNC's School of Information & Library Science, and a consultant on technology policy issues. He previously led the Center on Science & Technology Policy at Duke University and was a professor of the practice at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy. Matt holds a law degree from Harvard Law School, a master's degree in Public Policy from Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy, and a bachelor's degree in political science from Brown University.
Melanie Feinberg is an Associate Professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at UNC-Chapel Hill. 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, was published in October 2022 from MIT Press.
Meredith L. Pruden is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and Media at Kennesaw State University, as well as a Fellow with Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and an affiliate with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Meredith earned her PhD in Communication and certificate in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Georgia State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow with the Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative. Meredith’s interdisciplinary, methodologically agnostic research is rooted in feminist media studies and explores supremacisms and far-right media and politics, including the mis/disinformation and conspiracism circulated by these groups across platforms and channels.
Michael Eng teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State University and is a faculty affiliate in the Program in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies, offering courses in data and information ethics, as well as in gender, media, and popular culture. His work deals with the intersection of aesthetics and politics from the standpoint of the philosophy of race and gender.
Morgan Wack is an Assistant Research Professor at Clemson University's Media Forensics Hub. His research is focused on the influence of new technologies in autocracies and nascent democracies. Current projects revolve around the use of synthetic media to distort elections and the efficacy of interventions aimed at countering the influence of misinformation.
Paul Elliott Johnson is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. His first book, I the People: The Rhetoric of Conservative Populism in the United States, is a comprehensive study of the how conservative political discourse defines and utilizes the idea of 'the people,' particularly towards anti-social and catastrophic ends, with consequences rooted in its misogynistic and racist understanding of the concept of freedom.
Pranav Malhotra is an incoming Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan. His research examines how cultural and relational norms intersect with the affordances of social and mobile media to impact how people engage with information and each other. His work has been published in Social Media+Society, Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, International Journal of Communication, and Digital Journalism.
Rachel Davis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Middle Tennessee State University with expertise in critical criminology, digital sociology, gender inequalities, and sexual labor. She currently maintains two parallel research agendas concerning gendered violence and sexual labor, respectively. Her ultimate goal is to further the movement for social justice locally, nationally, and globally through education and activism.
Rachel Kuo is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She writes, teaches, and researches race, social movements, and digital technology. Previously, she was a 2020-22 Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life and 2021-22 Visiting Scholar at Duke University's Asian American and Diasporic Studies program and Siegel Endowment Research Fellow. She has a Ph.D. and MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri.
Rachel Moran is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for an Informed Public (CIP) at the University of Washington. 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. Rachel received her Ph.D. degree from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Ruth Moon is an assistant professor of media and public affairs at Louisiana State University. She studies power relationships and knowledge production with a focus on communication processes and journalistic practice in the Global South. She has published research in Digital Journalism, Journalism Studies, Journalism, Information, Communication & Society, and International Journal of Communication. Her first book, Authoritarian Journalism: Controlling the Press in Post-Conflict Rwanda, is in production with Oxford University Press. Her research is informed by more than 10 years’ professional experience working as a reporter and editor for magazines and newspapers in the U.S.
Scott Timcke is a political economist of digital technology and democratic life. He is a Research Associate of the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Change. Previously he held a LUCAS-LAHRI Research Fellowship at the University of Leeds’ Centre for African Studies and was a Tenure Track Lecturer in Communication Studies at The University of The West Indies, St. Augustine. His second book, Algorithms and The End of Politics, was released in February 2021 and his third book, The Political Economy of Fortune and Misfortune: Prospects for Prosperity in Our Times, was released in March 2023.
Shan Xu is an Assistant Professor of Public Relations & Strategic Communication Management at Texas Tech University. Her interests include how people make media choices and how that influences their physical health and psychological well-being. She publishes in journals in communication and cross disciplines, such as Health Communication and Computers in Human Behavior, and has won research awards and grants.
Shanetta Pendleton is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Media's doctoral program, and will join the faculty at Elon University as an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication in fall of 2023. Her research is centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the academy, society, and in the public relations industry. Shanetta’s current research focuses on pedagogy, digital activism, corporate socio-political activism, and relationship management through social media.
Shanice Jones Cameron is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research areas are media studies, critical health communication, and Black feminist thought. She researches Black women's health and well-being digital networks. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Stewart M. Coles is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research examines how people develop their understanding of social issues related to identity. He is especially interested in the political effects of entertainment media and how evaluations of media's political relevance are related to how people select and respond to media content.
Tyler Easterbrook is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of Composition at the University of Idaho. His research focuses on the rhetoric of conspiracy theories and rhetorical approaches to studying digital content. Tyler received his Ph.D. in 2021 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Victoria (Tori) Ekstrand is an Associate Professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and is currently serving a three-year term at the UNC Graduate School as the Royster Distinguished Professor for Graduate Education. Her research has focused on critical and interdisciplinary perspectives in media law and free expression, with research on anonymous speech, campus free expression debates, the trademarking of social movement hashtags, online accessibility issues for people with disabilities, and problems with regulating online political advertising.
Benjamin Lennett is a tech policy researcher and writer focusing on digital platforms and democracy. He is a contributing editor for Tech Policy Press, a nonprofit media and community venture intended to provoke new ideas, debate, and discussion at the intersection of technology and democracy.
DeVan Hankerson is the research manager at the Center for Democracy & Technology. DeVan has spent her career working as an researcher and advocate for digital rights with a background in technology and communications regulatory matters. Her research has focused on disinformation, especially race and gender based online abuse.DeVan has also developed research on digital access issues for students with disabilities as well as on the social implications and ethics of AI development. DeVan holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and a B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from Vassar College.
Kirsten Eddy is the senior researcher at the Center for News, Technology & Innovation, a research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, and a senior researcher at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. She studies the interplay of journalism, politics, and digital media.
Kyle Ashburn is a 2023 graduate of the M.S.I.S. program at UNC-CH. His interests include misinformation, education policy, and international affairs.
Laura March is the Associate Director for Learning Design at Georgetown University. She is a learning experience designer, trainer, and web developer with more than ten years of experience designing accessible online environments and teaching virtually. Laura received her Ph.D. from the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill where she was a Digital Innovation Fellow.
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.
Scott Babwah Brennen is the head of online expression policy at the Center on Technology Policy, where he leads the Center's work on online expression, misinformation, and political advertising. Before joining the Center on Technology Policy, Scott was a senior policy associate at the Center on Science & Technology Policy at Duke University. Prior to Duke, 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.
Graduate Student Affiliates
Adrian Wong is a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He grew up in Murrieta, CA, as the third child in a bi-racial family of 6 with a Chinese-immigrant father and a white, 6th generation Californian mother. His Fulbright-Hays supported dissertation research focuses on digital transformation policies and initiatives in Chile and their implications for regional socioeconomic inequality and South-South digital infrastructure development.
Allison Koh is a Ph.D. researcher at the Hertie School's Centre for International Security in Berlin. Her dissertation research focuses on how pro-government actors from authoritarian regimes can leverage the vulnerabilities of social media to influence transnational information flows, even on platforms where their governments do not have direct provision over content moderation. More broadly, Koh's interests include computational methods, online disinformation, transnational repression, and coercive power dynamics on social media.
Arjun Sawhney is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at Queen's University at Kingston. He is currently studying jurisprudence, political philosophy, and the social impacts of artificial intelligence. Arjun's work explores many areas in philosophy and has most recently focused on the impact of policing algorithms on Indigenous communities.
Ayana Monroe is a 1st year Ph.D. student at the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science. Her current research focuses on increasing the transparency of systems that reduce friction in the everyday lives of various users while also creating and expanding ways in which users can interact or participate in their creation. In addition to the creation of such systems, she interrogates existing systems while also addressing inequities that may be present in them.
Brooke Molokach is a PhD student in Communication at the University of Delaware. Her research centers on affective polarization, motivated reasoning, and the role of intellectual humility in reducing misinformation beliefs, moral disengagement, and dehumanization of political opponents. She is also interested in the narrative-based mechanisms of disinformation and how these narrative features can exploit the salience of group identity. Brooke holds an M.A. in International Affairs from American University and a B.A. in English from Yale University.
Carl Colglazier is a PhD student in Technology and Social Behavior at Northwestern University. Carl studies sociotechnical systems and their impact on public discourse with a particular focus on decentralized social networks like Mastodon.
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 and CITAP affiliate in the Hussman School of Media & Journalism interested in the way historical and contemporary narratives of “defectiveness” impact perceptions of contemporary black women. She is also interested in how black women navigate these narratives while expressing themselves through changes in their physical appearance.
Daniel Johnson is a Ph.D. student and Roy H. Park Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. He was a journalist with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2016-2017, has worked in public relations, and has written for Slate, The Hill, and Task and Purpose. His current research focuses are on how social media is being used for positive mental health purposes, and on how information warfare tactics are being used domestically and internationally.
Daniel Malmer is a Ph.D. student and Roy H. Park fellow in the Media and Communication program at UNC-Chapel Hill. He uses computational methods to study online radicalization, extremism, and conspiracy theories. Prior to UNC, Dan had a long career in software development 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.
Danilo Reuben-Matamoros is a Ph.D. 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.
Edith Hollander is a graduate researcher in the Department of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research broadly focuses on the intersections of markets and civic engagement in digital media and tech industries. She currently hold a position as a Graduate Student Fellow at the Center for Media Engagement at UT Austin and have previously worked as a research assistant at reproductive rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice America, where she studied anti-abortion movement tactics and disinformation campaigns, and at Princeton’s Bridging Divides Initiative, where she used open-source tools to monitor acts of political violence.
Evan R. Jones is a Ph.D. student at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research investigates space, place, and abandonment as communication phenomena. He is currently writing a dissertation on the adaptive reuse of decommissioned shipping containers and the processes of placemaking.
Felix M. Simon is a journalist, communication researcher, and doctoral student at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and a Knight News Innovation Fellow at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. He also works as a research assistant at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) and regularly writes and comments on technology, media, and politics for various international outlets. His research seeks to understand the structural implications of artificial intelligence, including forms of generative AI such as ChatGPT and DALL:E, for news organizations' gatekeeping processes—the production and distribution of news—and the public arena.
Ian Williams is a Ph.D. student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Communication. Ian’s research interests concern the connections between design, mass production, and craft movements. He examines both the labor conditions under which these activities occur and the communities which spring up around them.
Isaac Kimmel is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Isaac’s research synthesizes insights from cultural sociology, legislative studies, and political communication to advance our understanding of the evolution of social problems in American public discourse. Isaac’s dissertation relies on qualitative analysis of 2020 congressional candidates’ Twitter accounts to illuminate the influence of political pressures on COVID-19 as a cultural object. Isaac holds an MA in sociology from Notre Dame and a BA in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He anticipates finishing his PhD in 2023.
Jacob Smith is a Ph.D. student at UNC-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.
Jaclyn Carroll is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at Boston College specializing in deviance, communication, and health culture. She is currently completing a dissertation on wellness influencers and online health coaches, focusing on their migration toward extremist beliefs and their spread of institutional distrust and covid-era misinformation. Her work interrogates new frontiers of expertise and the limitations of platform regulation.
Kaitlin Joshua is a third-year doctoral student in Department of Sociology at UNC Chapel Hill and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She is broadly interested in reproductive health, mental health, culture, and media. Her current projects examine the intersection of culture and reproductive health outcomes.
Katherine (Katie) Furl is pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Broadly, her research focuses on gender, media, and inequality. In past research, Katherine has employed qualitative and computational methods to examine how rhetoric and discourse in male supremacist online communities perpetuate social inequalities. In her dissertation work, Katherine is interested in exploring the ranking and quantification of physical appearance and beauty online.
Lan Li is a Ph.D. 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.
Lingyu Wang is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Information and Library Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill. He studies community archives of social movement artworks and documents, examining their relations to identities, public memories, and perceptions of the living space. He works in the intersection of library and information science, art history, critical media studies, and urban studies. In praxes, he also builds digital libraries and databases with people across disciplines of LIS, arts, and humanities.
Margaret E. Foster (Maggie) is a Ph.D. student in Communication at Cornell University. Her research interests include gender-based violence, epistemic (in)justice, online creator economies, aspirational aesthetics, and queer theory. Prior to Cornell, she completed her MA in Media & Communication at UNC Chapel Hill, where she studied the #MeToo movement.
Mariana Sánchez Santos is a Ph.D. student in the School of Communication at American University. She holds a BA in International Relations from ITAM in Mexico City and a Master of Arts in Political Communication from the University of Leeds, UK. Her Ph.D. research focuses on political communication, elections, and technology in Latin America.
Nicholas Gerstner is a doctoral researcher in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He researches culture, media, and technology, with particular attention to the cultural politics of common sense. Nicholas' current research traces a techno-cultural history of “polarization” that describes how an idea once limited to the study of electromagnetism has become a common and apparently obvious way to describe society.
Parker Bach is a Ph.D. student and Roy H. Park Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill. Parker researches online cultural politics, with particular interests in political humor, youth politics, and the American Right. His research incorporates both qualitative and computational methods. Parker holds an MA in Media, Culture, & Technology from the University of Virginia.
Patrick R. Johnson is the Director of Student Media and teaching assistant professor of journalism in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa whose work centers on finding a pathway toward more just and equitable futures in journalism and media practice. He focuses his time on understanding how news literacy, journalism education, and journalism practice intersect. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. LGBTQ advocacy is core to his personal mission and identity.
Peter Andringa is a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford (Exeter College), where he is studying an MSc in Social Science of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute (2021-22) and a master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government (2022-23). He is interested in the intersection of journalism, platform policy, and law, exploring how structural conditions of the internet facilitate or inhibit accountability journalism. He studied at UNC-Chapel Hill (B.A., Journalism & Computer Science) and Duke University as a Robertson Scholar.
Pratik Nyaupane is a doctoral student in communication at the University of Southern California in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where he broadly looks at the intersection between society, technology, and politics. As a graduate researcher, Pratik has been exploring the ways in which technology mediates interactions through state and corporate power. He also looks at the digitization practices of citizenship, migration, and borders and how digital technologies have an impact on democratic cultural and political processes. He holds an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Informatics.
Rebecca Lewis is a PhD candidate in Communication at Stanford University, an incoming Dissertation Fellow at the Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and a Graduate Fellow at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center. Her research has been published in academic journals including New Media & Society, Social Media + Society, and American Behavioral Scientist.
Reed Van Schenck is a Ph.D candidate in Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Pittsburgh and an assistant debate coach at the William Pitt Debating Union. Their research applies critical-cultural studies to understand reactionary digital networks. They are currently working on their dissertation which interrogates the decline of the Alt-Right after 2017 and the ideological effects of platform governance in the United States.
Robin Lange is a third year PhD student working with Dr. Brooke Foucault Welles at Northeastern University. Her research interests include covering online hate speech and leadership in teams. Her current project includes understanding how hate speech impacts entire communities, and that by studying vicarious victimization, we can better understand the harm of hate speech and how community based interventions can reduce its harm. Robin is also working on a collaboration with igraph and Women in Network Science to study leadership in open-source communities.
Rohan Grover is a PhD student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on how human-data relations are constructed and (de)stabilized through technology policy and platform governance. He holds an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU and a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Sakshi Bhalla is a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois's Institute of Communications Research. She studies news consumption, its interactions with politics and what that can mean for being politically informed. Her work incorporates a variety of qualitative, quantitative and network analytic methods.
Sarah Nguyễn is a PhD student at the University of Washgton's Information School, where she also received a Master in Library and Information Science. They investigate memory and trauma, problematic information, and information disorder among immigrant and refugee diaspora, and non-English communities.
Shedrick Garrett is a Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience with an area of emphasis in Behavioral Neuroscience from West Virginia University. Garrett's program of research explores the role of digital media on positive youth development and socialization experiences.
Sérgio Barbosa is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, where he is part of the program "Democracy in the Twenty-First Century". Since August 2020, Sérgio has been a Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) fellow. In addition, he holds a Digital Humanism junior fellowship at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. His research interests include the emerging forms of political participation vis-à-vis the possibilities afforded by chat apps, with emphasis on WhatsApp for digital activism and everyday social interactions, focusing on Digital Sociology, Digital Activism, Digital Literacy and Global South.
Zari Taylor is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a critical platform studies and cultural studies scholar whose research lays at the intersection of popular culture, social media, and beauty capital. Her dissertation explores the gendered and radicalized implications of beauty capital within the social media influencer industry - specifically on Tik Tok. She is also an opinion writer and columnist with The Daily Tar Heel.
CITAP is also introducing a “fluffiliate” cohort, welcoming several canine, feline, and galline members who contribute to the collective well-being of the community.
Darcy Eddy is a multi-year recipient of the peer-reviewed “who’s the best girl?” award. Her current research project, "Just Because I'm a Retriever Doesn't Mean I'll Retrieve," proposes a justice-oriented approach to misrepresented canine breed nomenclature.
Boots El-Masri-Trowell is an expert in human-canine relations and has successfully brokered many accords including The Throw-That-Ball Treaty and the Pet-Me-Now Protocols. She is currently conducting a longitudinal study on squirrel movement tracking.
Bailey Tryon is deeply concerned about doggie disinformation and would like to assure you that you really cannot give him too many belly scratches.
Cluckers McGee is an egg-septional and prolific researcher, mostly consisting of digging around in the garden for worms and bugs.
Brioche Kaczynski is a rescue dog whose interdisciplinary research combines food studies and chaos theory. However, she is currently on strike negotiating for more guaranteed peanut butter snack breaks.
Grey Lady Avanasi-Furl is eager to contribute to CITAP's ongoing research over the next academic year, as can be seen from her very professional headshot. She conducts meticulous research into the stream of water coming out of her parents' kitchen sink and would be delighted to discuss her findings with anyone interested.
Zoey Xia's research centers around the concept of objectivity. She defines objectivity as "object-chasing activity" and has appeared in numerous media reels as an expert in this research area.
Sundae Xia is interested in purr-sona studies and is an eminent scholar of self-presentation in everyday life. He has explored topics including grooming and self-image, wellness-oriented naps, as well as challenges in dietary management
Samson Maddox earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. with his mom through the University of Georgia in '12, '15, and '18. He's very pupset after all that education and loyalty his mom wrote a book called "The Internet is for Cats"
Rocky Balboa is a researcher and best boy at the Center for I'm Too Amazing and Pretty.
Rocky and Mocha Mahone lead a research collaborative dedicated to skill acquisition and retention in senior canines. The collaborative recently started exploring the nutritional value of dried worms.
Jericho Charleyhorse Reynolds is a young scholar-practitioner currently conducting a sensory ethnography of Jerusalem with a focus on dirt research and embodied practices of refusal.
Zuko Gancedo is a part-time fire bender, full-time mischief-maker, who is exploring the idea that offering paw without prompting = treats.