ICR welcomes 2021 cohort

The Institute of Communications Research is excited to announce our newest cohort! Please learn more about their research interests in their profiles below and join us in welcoming them to the University of Illinois College of Media community this fall.

Tingyu ChenTingyu Chen received her bachelor's degree in journalism and her master's degree in communication at Renmin University of China. With critical-cultural approaches to media study, she situates her research interests at the intersection of media industry practices, cultural studies, and media criticism. Her recent research focuses on realist media (mainly realist film and documentary) and the culture of production and consumption in contemporary China.

Kirby CookKirby Cook received her master's degree in advertising at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and her bachelor's degree in classical languages and literature from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. Kirby's master's thesis, "Evaluating Gender in Retail Servicescapes: Beyond the Heteronormative Binary Approach," explored how retail companies communicate gender norms and how consumers of diverse backgrounds receive such messages and process shopping experiences. In her doctoral program, Kirby is interested in research pertaining to branding strategy, consumer behavior, and media effects as they relate to consumer identity. Prior to joining the ICR program, Kirby worked for UIUC as a career advisor and communications coordinator for Engineering Career Services at the Grainger College of Engineering, and as an international student advisor at the International Student and Scholar Services office. Before joining the University, Kirby worked abroad in Germany and South Korea as a consultant, adjunct lecturer, and high school English teacher. 

Seo-Jeong (Rachel) HeoSeo-Jeong (Rachel) Heo graduated from Yonsei University (South Korea), receiving her bachelor's and master's in communication. She also received a master's degree in advertising at the University of Texas at Austin. She studies media psychology and marketing communications. Her research interest lies in understanding the social/moral implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and psychological processes in AI-powered technologies, Virtual Reality (VR), and social media. Her recent research focuses on exploring how people make moral judgments toward robots’ behaviors and how we can effectively implement AI in assisting people’s decision-making processes. She is also interested in online consumer privacy and gave a presentation about conversational agents and privacy at the 2021 International Communication Association conference. 

Youngin KangYoungin Kang attained her master’s degree in gender, media and culture at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2018. As a new ICR student, she wants to examine the inextricable relations between individual subjectivities in producing, distributing, and appropriating "culture(s)" within various socio-political processes, which construct a discursive mega-text, with which we cognitively, materially, and affectively engage in our everyday lives. Her research interests focus primarily on the unique characteristics of contemporary South Korean popular culture, which are hybrid, albeit, distinctively Korean.

Ketan Krishna Ketan Krishna holds a master's degree in media and cultural studies from TISS, Mumbai, and a bachelor's degree in English literature from Hindu College, New Delhi. His research interests are centered around user-generated audio-visual content, art cultures on the internet, and technological change. His previous work includes writings on cinema and music. He has also worked as a documentary filmmaker and video editor on several projects.

Yan Anna LiuYan (Anna) Liu’s research interest lies in exploring consumer's cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral responses to brand messages on social media from the socio- psychological perspective. Specifically, she is interested in the influence of relational factors in the process, such as online network, consumer's relationship with message source, etc. Before joining ICR, she has been working as a professional marketing researcher in Ipsos for about four years.