Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2013

  •  Ron De Mungrun defends his disseration, April 26, 2017.Ron De Munbrun served as a career federal employee who was an advisor to government officials counseling them on a wide variety of issues related to the dissemination of (Web and non-Web-based) information to the media and the public.  He holds a B.A. in Radio, Television and Film and M.A. in Mass Communication from California State University Northridge.  His interests include the relationship between the media and public policy, in particular anti-hunger policy in America. Dr. De Munbrun successfully defended his dissertation on April 27, 2017.
  • James GauchauJames Gachau comes from the East African country of Kenya. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Nairobi and an M.A. from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. Having lived in his native home of Kenya during the oppressive regime of President Daniel arap Moi, and seeing how members of the press sacrificed life and limb to give voice to the frustrations and privations experienced by the majority of the population, Gachau says he is persuaded that journalism should always and everywhere play the role of watchdog against the powers that be. This is why he is pursuing a Ph.D. at the Merrill College of Journalism. His goal is to become a journalism educator and researcher who helps mold and turn out a new cadre of professionals given to the democratic function of a free press. In recognition of his potential, the Foreign Press Association has awarded him a third-place prize scholarship for their 2013 annual FPA Scholarship Fund Competition. The majority of populations in the Global South remain voiceless amid government corruption and the hegemonic globalization of dominant Western cultures. James hopes his PhD will help him open up avenues for articulating the yearnings and dreams of such populations.
  • Pallavi GuhaPallavi Guha has been a professional journalist and media educator for a decade. Pallavi has worked internationally for leading media organizations including BBC News and television in London and The Times of India in India. Pallavi has been a teaching assistant and taught courses on gender, race and class in media, Images of journalists in films and Media Literacy. Pallavi’s academic background is in international relations, politics, communication and women studies. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals on intersections of gender, social media and politics. Pallavi frequently presents her work at academic and professional conferences. Currently, Pallavi is working on multiple research projects including sexual harassment of women journalists in Indian newsrooms, implications of social media for voter engagement in India. Pallavi’s research interests include social media communication, gender, politics and media in India and US.  Guha successfully defended her dissertation on December 6, 2017.
  • Carol LeeCarole Lee served as editor and publisher of city magazines in southern markets both before and after completing her M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her professional experience also includes a stint as press secretary for a U.S. Senator and five years directing communications for The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, a Washington, DC-based think tank that seeks to inform and influence health policy initiatives at local, state and national levels. Throughout her work in journalism and communications, Carole has maintained a strong interest in understanding how media influence and reflect their cultural contexts. Her academic work includes an extensive study of the coverage of evangelist Billy Graham throughout the first forty years of his career. Her ongoing research interests include the relationship between media and religion, the role of free media in the development and survival of democracy, and the history and significance of the changing nature of media delivery and consumption.
  •  Rob WellsRob Wells is a former Deputy Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires in Washington, D.C., moved into the academic world in 2012. He was a 2012 Reynolds Visiting Business Journalism Professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, where he helped build its business journalism program. Wells first began teaching in 2010 at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism as an adjunct lecturer; he’s taught basic and intermediate news reporting and business journalism classes at College Park. As part of his transition to academia, Wells in August 2013 earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, where he studied political science, literature, philosophy and history. As a doctoral student, Wells is interested in studying media coverage of the 2008 financial crisis, among other issues. Prior to his academic career, Wells reported for Bloomberg News, The Associated Press and newspapers in California. Wells successfully defended his dissertation on May 19, 2016 and began a tenure-track position at the University of Arkansas in fall, 2016. Dr. Wells is also the inaugural winner of the Ray Hiebert History of Journalism Endowed Award, announced March 27, 2017.

Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2012

  • Tanya LokotTetyana (Tanya) Lokot has an M.A. in journalism from National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, Ukraine (2004) and a B.A. in management from International Christian University (2002). Upon receiving her M.A., she became Assistant Professor and Head of New Media Sequence at Mohyla School of Journalism (NaUKMA,Kyiv, Ukraine) and has taught Radio News Production and New Media and Online Journalism courses for masters-level students. Tetyana has worked as journalist for radio, online and print media, most recently covering technology; she has also served as Development Director at Media Reform Centre, a Ukrainian media NGO. She has also acted as media trainer in projects for Westminster Foundation for Democracy and USAID Parliamentary Development Project in Ukraine. Tetyana has been a Consultant in Eastern Europe markets and social media for Webbmedia Group. In this capacity she has served on the judging panel for the ONA 2011 Online Journalism Awards (Non-English entries). She has also conducted new media trainings in Belarus newsrooms for ICFJ. As of 2012, Tetyana is in charge of researching the Ukraine chapter for the Freedom House “Freedom on the Net” report. Her research interests include: online protests, digital activism and political participation online, impact of internet communities on political decisions, social media platforms and social/political change, post-Soviet online spaces. Lokot successfully defended her dissertation in Maym 2016 and is assistant professor in the communication at Dublin (Ireland) City University.
  • Antonio PradoAntonio A. Prado was a journalist for two decades, working as a reporter at a number of newspapers – including Investor’s Business Daily and The Orange County Register – and more recently was an assigning editor for 10 years at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California. In 2011 he completed his master’s degree in Communications at California State University, Fullerton, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1993. His research interests include the restoration of collective contemplation made possible by contemporary communications technology, the portrayals of people with disabilities in the news media, and convergence culture’s effect on the news. His master’s thesis, “Collective Contemplation and Issues in the News: Why Citizens Gather Online to Share and Debate,” explored what motivates people to discuss and comment on news stories online. His roots in newspapering go back to when he decided at age 8 to become a journalist and when he got his first delivery route for the local afternoon daily newspaper at age 10.
  • XuBoya Xu earned an M.S. in Journalism from West Virginia University where she received a graduate assistantship in the television journalism department and also worked as the Assistant Producer and Government/Politics reporter for WVU News, a weekly newscast produced by WVU’s Reed College of Media (formerly Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism). She interned at CBS News’ Washington D.C. bureau with the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” team in the summer of 2010, and served public relations effort with the China Performing Arts Agency during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Originally from China, she earned her B.A. in English and Literature from Yanshan University where she was a producer and program host for the on-campus English radio station. In China, she was actively involved with English parliamentary debate events, English speaking tournaments, and the Yanshan University’s international programs and foreign delegations. Boya Xu has presented research at a number of national conferences throughout her masters and doctoral studies, and is the recipient of an AEJMC top paper award and the Aylward award at Merrill. Using primarily a quantitative approach, her main research interests include media effects, audience studies, public sphere in the digital era, and political communication. She currently works as an adjunct instructor at the Merrill College.

Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2011

  • Saranaz BarforoushSaranaz Barforoush earned her M.S. degree from Southern Illinois University in 2011, where she wrote a thesis on the news production of Persian television channels broadcast from Britain and the United States. During her studies at SIU she also worked as a PR officer for SIUE’s School of Business and its Emergency Operation Center. She completed an M.A. degree in Cultural Studies and Media from the University of Tehran in 2008, where she studied the social effects in Iranian popular cinema before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution. After gaining her BA in journalism from Allameh Tabatabai University she worked as a journalist and translator for a number of high profile Iranian newspapers and weekly magazines. In addition to her journalism experience, she has worked as a PR manager for well-known IT organizations and news publications in Iran. Her research interests include: international journalism, diasporic media production and use, conflict coverage in the media, and freedom of the press. Dr. Barforoush successfully defended her dissertation in June 2017.
  • JustinHudsonJustin Hudson graduated with an M.A. in education from the University of California-Berkeley in 2009.  He earned his B.A. from Rice University in 2008, where he majored in history. At Rice, he was a sportswriter for the Rice Thresher and worked as a sport marketing intern for Rice’s athletic department. He continued his work in sports communications at Berkeley, where he interned for the athletic media relations office. Since graduating from Berkeley, he has been a copy editing intern at Bleacher Report and currently works as a writer for LA Focus, a monthly newspaper in his hometown of Los Angeles. His research interests include examining historic and contemporary media representations of African American male athletes, as well as broader issues dealing with sports, media, and society, media history, media and race, and media literacy. Justin won the Ann G. Wylie Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year. The Fellowship supports students with excellent qualifications who are in the latter stages of writing their dissertations.
  • Joanna_NurmisJoanna Nurmis earned her MA in International Relations from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris in 2010, where she pursued a dual research program in conjunction with Freie, Humboldt, and Potsdam Universities in Germany.  She earned her BA in Philosophy and Sociology in 2007 from the Université Paris X Nanterre.  She interned at the Communications department of Agence France-Presse in 2008 and spent her last months in Europe working as a photo editor at the International Herald Tribune. Her research interests lie at the vast, but vastly under-researched, cross-section of photography/visual journalism and international politics. She is also keen to explore the role of the still image in today’s increasingly virtual and video-based media landscape. Dr. Nurmis successfully defended her dissertation in February, 2017 and is a research affiliate at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.
  • Rachel Buchanan O’Hare worked as a news reporter at the Raleigh News & Observer and Charlottesville Daily Progress.  She earned her master’s degree from Columbia University and undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University.  For over five years, Rachel taught news writing as an adjunct at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and an introductory journalism course at Towson State University.  Besides newspapers, she has written for magazines and radio.  Her research interests are American history and journalism, especially slavery and the civil rights era.
  • YacongYacong Yuan graduated with an M.S. in Journalism from Ohio University in June 2011. After earning her B.A. degree in Economics English from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics in 2007, she worked as a market researcher at Infineon Technologies AG and as a communication specialist at TynTec GmbH in Munich, Germany. As an undergraduate, she worked at China Radio International English Service in Beijing covering China’s railway system reform and management buyout reform at State-Owned Enterprises. She also produced investigative news reports as an intern for Shennong TV Station in Beijing.  As a master’s student at OU, she assisted individual faculty members researching topics such as comparative international news coverage and globalization of cultures. She is currently a quantitative researcher interested in media psychology, cross cultural communication, and social network analysis. Dr. Yuan successfully defended her dissertation in December, 2016.

Ph.D. Cohort Entering 2010

  • EckertStine Eckert earned her Master’s of Science in journalism from Ohio University after studying Journalism, Media and Communication Studies as well as American Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. She worked as producer and reporter for Leipzig radio station mephisto 97.6, San Francisco station Radio Goethe, radio and TV reporter, producer, and anchor for NRP-affiliate WOUB in Athens, OH. She also traveled to Bangladesh as a Student Fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to cover the situation of women. More recently she produced interviews for Al Jazeera English. Her research interests include international comparative work; the intersection of media, culture, and gender; and the democratic potential of new media. You can find her full CV on where you can also read about her most current work, teaching experience, and publications. Follow her on Twitter at @stineeckert. Dr. Eckert defended her dissertation in May of 2014 and is an assistant professor of communication at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mi.
  • Jackie IncollingoJacqueline Soteropoulos Incollingo, the 2010 Scripps Howard Doctoral Fellow, was a newspaper reporter for 12 years, including six years at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Previously, she was a Washington correspondent for The Tampa Tribune. Her beats have included Philadelphia criminal and juvenile courts; federal and state courts in Florida; local and national politics; and U.S policy towards Cuba. She has a B.A. in history and government from Connecticut College and an M.A. from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Her research interests include how evolving technology will allow traditional media to become more interactive with consumers. Jackie served as the Annapolis Bureau Chief for the Merrill College’s Capital News Service during the 2013-2014 school year. Jackie successfully defended her dissertation in August, 2014 and assistant professor of communication at Rider University in Lawrence, NJ.
  • Michael KoliskaMichael Koliska worked as radio reporter for the last 10 years in Germany, the US and China. He has a MA degree in Sociology and English from Magdeburg’s Otto-von-Guericke University in Germany, where he worked for a private radio station, a local newspaper and then Germany’s largest broadcast network. He then joined an NPR affiliate in Illinois as news anchor/ reporter while pursuing a MS in Journalism at the University of Illinois. His latest assignment was as editor for China Radio International in Beijing, China. Koliska successfully defended his dissertation in May, 2015 and is now in a tenure track position as an assistant professor in the Communication, Culture and Technology program at Georgetown University.
  • Klive (Soo-Kwang) OhKlive Oh successfully defended his dissertation in June, 2014. His research interests include audience engagement with online news, digital culture, journalism roles, media effects, pedagogy, and intercultural communication studies. He has several research publications and conference presentations regarding various aspects of journalism and mass communication. He has won numerous top paper awards and is the recipient of the Aylward Award and the Hiebert Journalism Travel Award. Before devoting himself to journalism studies, he worked in the marketing/PR field at Samsung Electronics. As a journalist, he worked as a convergence reporter for the Missourian, KBIA Radio and KOMU-TV in Columbia, MO. He also worked at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, employing social media techniques for its communications strategies. As an instructor, Klive has taught courses such as media literacy, journalism history and understanding audiences at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. With his successful teaching experience, he has been chosen as a Lilly Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Center for Teaching Excellence. Originally from Korea, Klive graduated from Korea University with a B.A. in English Language and Literature and received a Master’s in Journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism.  Dr. Oh is an assistant professor of public relations at the Seaver College of Communication at Pepperdine University.
  • Elia PowersElia Powers main research interests are media, news, information and health literacy; journalism pedagogy with a focus on assessment and learning outcomes; audience engagement with digital media; and perceived credibility of news outlets. He has published articles about media literacy pedagogy and nonprofit news audiences in academic journals such as Journal of Media Business Studies and the Journal of Media Literacy Education. He is the winner of the college’s 2013 Graduate All-S.T.A.R. award, given to the top journalism graduate student. As lead instructor for Maryland’s undergraduate media literacy course, he was named a distinguished teaching assistant in 2012 by the Center for Teaching Excellence. As the instructor of record, he teaches news writing, journalism history and media literacy to students at Maryland.  He served as a research assistant on a grant project that investigated the health information needs of Latinas in the neighborhoods surrounding College Park. During this semester he helped arrange interviews with focus group participants, analyzed survey results and co-wrote a study report. As part of this assistantship, he also helped put together an event in Knight Hall in which researchers presented study findings and discussed how to better serve the Latina population with health information. Powers is also president of the Merrill Graduate Student Association. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he received his master’s degree in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a contributor to American Journalism Review. He previously covered higher education, health, business, sports, the environment and the arts for print publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Inside Higher Ed and the St. Louis Beacon. Dr. Powers successfully defended his dissertation in April, 2014 and is an assistant professor of journalism and new media at Towson University.