Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2019
- Shannon Scovel is a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar from North Carolina with research interests in women’s sports and media studies. She competed as a varsity swimmer for American University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She received her master’s degree at the University of Stirling (UK) in gender studies. Scovel has worked as a sports journalist for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports and Turner Sports and hopes to use her background to explore topics surrounding women’s representation in sports media.
- Mahfuzul Haque’s research interests include fact-checking, misinformation, computational journalism, impacts of digital technologies on news organizations, risk communication, and climate change communication. He holds a master’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. He was a journalist in Bangladesh, worked for New Age, an English-language national daily. In more than half a decade as a journalist, he has covered environment, health, human rights, business, and the effects of climate change.
- Carolina Velloso has a B.A. in History with high honors and an M.A. in Journalism, both from UMD. Her research interests broadly lie in U.S. media history, but she is particularly passionate about the intersection of gender, media and sports; the history of female and minority reporters; and historical media coverage of underrepresented groups. Her master’s thesis uncovered the careers of some of the country’s earliest women sports reporters in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her undergraduate thesis won the university-wide Best Honors Thesis award in 2017.
Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2018
- Sara Browning comes to us from Maryland’s Department of Government and Politics. Her background is in political journalism with experience as a Washington correspondent. She is researching media history, media and politics and the role of investigative reporting in shaping history. She has produced an award winning paper on how the New York Times covered Chinese immigration, which was presented work at the conference of the American Journalism Historians Association.
- Welma Campbell Mashinini Redd is Associate Professor of Multiplatform Production in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University. She received Morgan’s African Heritage Award for the documentary, “Botswana: An African Jewel,” screened as the centerpiece at Morgan’s 2010 TransAfrica Day Convocation. Her research interest is free speech rights and freedom of the press in Liberia and other parts of Africa.
- Karlis Dagilis came to Merrill College from Latvia as a Humphrey Fellow. His primary interest is data journalism. As a fellow, Karlis worked at The Washington Post and with Professor Dana Priest, for whom he is a research assistant.
- Robin Sundaramoorthy has 20 years of TV news experience at the local and network levels. She has a master’s in journalism from Michigan State University. Her research interests include the social media habits of women and minorities in the U.S. and developing nations, how underserved communities around the world are using new media to tell new stories and all aspects of the Kerner Commission and its report.
- Kate Yanchulis is a sports journalist from the Washington, D.C., area. She received her undergraduate degree from Merrill College and a master’s degree in digital media from King’s College London, and has have spent the past five years as a newspaper reporter. With her research, Yanchulis plans to explore how digital storytelling techniques have (and have not) affected sports journalism.
- Weiping Li worked as a journalist in Taiwan covering financial and legal news for several years, then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she received a Master of Laws degree in 2007. Since then, she has conducted research and provided consulting services in the field of digital rights and policy. She is also licensed as a lawyer in New York state. Her research interests include journalistic ethics, data privacy and free speech issues, particularly how democratic countries address disinformation.
Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2017
- Bobbie Foster’s research lies at the intersection between politics and digital culture, with a focus on Internet memes. Her publications include two book chapters and an award winning paper titled “The Divide between Journalists and the Audience: Perceptions of Journalism Credibility at a Statewide Level.” She holds a master’s from the University of Arkansas, where she was assistant director for the Center for Ethics in Journalism.
- Hazel Feigenblatt‘s interests include how watchdog journalism is evolving in new media ecosystems; the uses of investigative techniques, data and multimedia storytelling; and dissemination by civic media seeking policy change. She also explores how publications interact with democratic accountability mechanisms. For 10 years, Feigenblatt covered politics and government contracts for Costa Rica’s leading newspaper, later moving to the investigation unit where she won several awards.
- Sholpan Kozhamkulova has a background in agenda-setting and framing studies of news media in Kazakhstan. Sholpan was previously chair and assistant professor of the Media and Communications department at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Her most recent research focuses on the language of persuasion online. In addition, Sholpan is interested in exploring “glocal” diffusion of information/innovations in news media and social networks in today’s multimedia environment.
- Andrew Otis was a 2013-14 Fulbright Fellow in Kolkata where he researched journalism in early India. His findings have been featured in India’s Business Economics Magazine. Andrew was also a 2011 Joseph P. O’Hern Scholar researching early British South African and Indian colonial newspapers in London. He’s written a book on Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, the first newspaper printed in India.
- Sohana Nasrin holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. A 2013 professional fellowship award from the U.S. State Department supported Nasrin’s to travel to the U.S. to learn the best practices in journalism and to complete a textual analysis of audience perceptions on humanitarian issues, public diplomacy through social media in Western Hemisphere countries, and critical cultural analyses of popular media. Sohana is now focusing on the social psychological aspects of online activism and users’ motivation behind slacktivism.
Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2016
- Brooke Auxier (M.A. ’12) has been a social media strategist and engagement coordinator for a leading cable network, social media journalist for a content marketing agency, digital media teacher at a public charter school and a freelance social media strategist/consultant for several businesses and organizations in D.C. She wrote her master’s thesis on how U.S. journalism and mass communications schools teach and use social media. She is interested in how social media is changing journalism its consumption. She is especially interested in how social media and social journalism have impacted crisis reporting.
- Alison Burns worked for more than 20 years as a television and radio news reporter, and is now researching ways to improve and expand journalism education. Alison spent most of her career as a Washington correspondent for Cox Media Group’s nationwide network of TV and radio stations. Reporting from Capitol Hill, the White House and the Pentagon, Alison delivered daily live reports and covered major breaking news and historic events. She continues to freelance at Cox as a producer.
- Hoa Nguyen is an award-wining journalist from Vietnam who came to the U.S. as a Humphrey Fellow in 2007. He holds an MSc. degree in Media and Communications Management from the University of Stirling, Scotland. His research interests include media literacy, social media, data journalism, communication strategies for climate change and mega-events, user-generated-content for TV, and viewer engagement.
Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2015
- Karin Assmann, a native of Germany, has been Spiegel TV’s Washington correspondent and owner of a media production company and has won numerous awards and commendations for her documentaries and short features. Her research interests lie in the study of news values and selection and newsroom practices as well as audience participation and its impact. She earned her Master’s Degree in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Prashanth Bhat has worked for leading international media organizations including China Central Television-America, National Geographic Channel, and Voice of America. Bhat holds an M.A. from American University in Washington, D.C. His research interests are comparative media systems, millennials and news consumption, social media and news credibility, as well as media and journalism in India.
- Oray Egin born in Istanbul, is a newspaper columnist and a popular journalist in Turkey. He is also the author of four books in Turkey, including a novel. He holds an M.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Throughout his career, he has traveled all around the world and reported from different countries, including conflict zones. Oray’s latest book, Imha Plani (Plan of Destruction) is an account of how in the recent decade Turkish media has lost its independence and transformed into a pro-government mouthpiece through political pressure and censorship.
- Denitsa Yotova, originally from Bulgaria, received her master’s in journalism and media students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Yotova, an avid photographer, studies primarily visual media. She is fascinated with the psychological elements of photographic images and film, their historical development, as well as the social effects they produce across continents and cultures.
Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2014
- Katy June-Friesen is interested in how news media represent the identity of places and the people who live and work there. She is particularly concerned with how journalistic framing and language choices construct, reproduce, or dismantle dominant ideas about the culture and politics of U.S. regions, cities and neighborhoods, from West Baltimore to small-town Kansas. Her research draws on geography and cultural studies fields and often employs textual and discourse analysis.
- April Newton is a journalism student, professional and teacher. Inspired by the Clinton impeachment trial, she returned to school to study journalism, ultimately finishing a master’s degree at Syracuse University. Since then, she has worked as a local television news producer, winning a regional AP award, and as a freelance journalist for local publications. She has also taught communication and journalism courses at several universities. April’s research interests are in broadcast journalism, visual journalism, and online and social media and journalism.
- Allissa Richardson is an award-winning journalist and college professor. Under her leadership, Morgan State University became the first and only historically black college in the country to offer mobile journalism courses. In spring 2012, NABJ recognized her as its Journalism Educator of the Year for her international work. In 2013, Apple, Inc., inducted Richardson into its Distinguished Educator program for her innovative uses of its products. In 2014, Harvard University selected her for its Nieman Foundation Journalism Fellowship. Richardson successfully defended her dissertation in April 2017 and is an assistant professor at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School For Communication and Journalism.