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Merrill College

Merrill Ph.D. Students Wei-Ping Li, Robin Sundaramoorthy Awarded UMD Research Fellowships

COLLEGE PARK – Wei-Ping Li and Robin Sundaramoorthy, Ph.D. students at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, have been awarded campus-wide research fellowships by UMD.

Robin Sundaramoorthy
Robin Sundaramoorthy
Wei-Ping Li
Wei-Ping Li

Li was awarded the UMD Graduate School’s Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship for the 2022-23 academic year. The fellowship supports students with excellent qualifications in the latter stages of writing their dissertations and carries a $15,000 stipend, a candidacy tuition award and a credit for mandatory fees for one semester. Li’s advisor is Merrill Professor and Senior Scholar Sarah Oates.

Sundaramoorthy was awarded the UMD Graduate School’s Lee Thornton Dissertation Fellowship for the semester of her choice during the 2022-23 academic year. Sundaramoorthy’s advisor is Merrill Professor Linda Steiner.

Thornton was one of the nation’s most distinguished broadcast journalists and later served as a Merrill professor, Merrill dean, and then the graduate school's associate provost for equity and diversity and ombuds officer. Thornton was the first woman of color to serve as a University of Maryland dean. Thornton endowed a campus-wide dissertation fellowship for dissertation research in any discipline or field, particularly but not exclusively for research with implications for the betterment of society.

The fellowship carries a $15,000 stipend, a candidacy tuition award, a credit for mandatory fees for one semester and reimbursement of an individual health insurance plan.

“Both of these award winners are excellent students, researchers and teachers,” said Dr. Ronald Yaros, director of the Merrill Ph.D. program. “Merrill College, and now the graduate school, recognize that these doctoral students are worthy of recognition and support. I couldn’t be more proud of their hard work in the Ph.D. program.”

Li was a journalist covering financial and legal news in Taiwan. She is also a lawyer licensed to practice in New York state and worked as a consultant and researcher focusing on digital rights policy. In her dissertation, she will explore how foreign disinformation flows into other countries' domestic media systems and impacts societies. She hopes the research could help find ways to combat foreign disinformation and propaganda in an age when authoritarian countries have aggressively expanded their information influence.

Sundaramoorthy has 20 years of TV news experience at the local and network levels, and earned a master’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University. Her research explores the gaps and silences found in traditional and new media. Through oral history and archival research, she examines how videography, radio, podcasting and social media highlight and give voice to those who have been omitted, overlooked or forgotten.

For more information, contact:
Josh Land

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