Regina Ahn is a second-year doctoral student in the Institute of Communications Research (ICR). Regina received her bachelors degree in Business Administration at Sookmyung Womens University, South Korea. She earned her masters degree in Advertising at the University of Illinois. Regina has been involved in diverse studies focused on digital advertising, children's socialization, health communication, and advertising literacy. Currently, she is involved in studying transmedia character culture which becomes dominant in creating immaterialized affection that links to young children. Particularly, she studies parental mediation practices for children's consumption of commercial books with a qualitative approach. In addition, she is learning media ethics that can be implemented for balanced mediation of such formidable forces which push young children's cultures into consumerism.
- Teaching Interests: Advertising, Statistics, Qualitative Research Method
- Adviser: Michelle Nelson
Arais research interests include critical race theory, mixed race studies, cultural studies, visual culture, postcolonial theory, Asian American studies, and Japanese studies. Focusing on representations of race, nation, and gender in a wide variety of texts in the media, her research explores ideological struggles between different social groups. Her dissertation project seeks to provide insight into the ways in which national memories of World War II and the U.S. Occupation of Japan are reconstructed through representations of mixed race people in Japanese media and popular culture in the political, historical and social contexts of postwar Japan.
Youngkwan received his bachelor's in Information and Communication at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, and his M.A in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, the University of London. His main interest is the (re)formation of collective memory standing on/against media experience, and more specifically the mode of memory reconstituted after public funerals and obituaries on broadcasting. His approach focuses on the interaction of media and how it affects human perception, emotions, and feelings, which may lead to memory-changing or forgetting in a collective level.
Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Diana Leon-Boys received her B.A. in Communication Studies from Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX.) and her M.A. in Communication from the University of New Mexico. Her Masters thesis, A Latina Captain in Showtimes Dexter: (Un)Veiling a Progressive Image of Latinas through Discourse Analysis of Media-Audience Co-Constructions of Latinidad, was a critical discourse analysis of Captain LaGuertas character on Showtimes Dexter along with a critical discourse analysis of viewer comments about the character on IMDB blogs. Currently, she is interested in examining the intersections of race, class, and gender on television shows, particularly in relation to bilingual Latina characters.
Stephanie Brown is a comedy, podcast, and television enthusiast whose interests lie at the intersection of comedy studies, feminist media studies, fan studies, and culture studies. Her research theorizes comedy as a culture with its own set of rules, behaviors, practices, and ideologies. For her dissertation project, she is conducting interviews with women starting out within their local comedy scenes about breaking into a historically male-dominated culture. This project seeks to answer questions about how women as an often marginalized group within comedy negotiate their identities as both comedy fans and comedy performers at the start of their (potential) careers. More broadly, she hopes to highlight the ways in which patterns of underrepresentation within certain segments of the media industry might be traced back to cultural gatekeeping at the start of those career trajectories.
Before returning to school, she received her B.A. in English from Indiana University and her M.A. in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University. She also worked for the New York Television Festival and for VOX, a voice-over talent agency located in Los Angeles.
- Teaching interests: Stephanie has taught several classes, including Introduction to Popular Television and Movies, Media Literacy, and Popular Culture. She is also involved with the Education Justice Project and is in the process of co-launching an after school program called Girls Amplified (girlsamplified.org), which is being piloted in the fall of 2015.
- Personal Site: stephbrown.net
Rico Kleinstein Chenyek
Rico Kleinstein Chenyek's major focus of study is in the social and cultural studies of science, medicine, and technology, with minors in American Indian & Indigenous studies, Latina/Latino studies, and gender & women's studies. His interests include transnational third world feminisms, queer of color critique, critical indigenous theory, and disability studies. In particular, Rico's research focuses on networks of alternative medicine with respect to indigeneity, latinidad, and conventional medical systems in the U.S., Bolivia, and Peru. Rico received a B.A. in Chicano/a & Latino/a studies from Pomona College. He is in the Medical Scholars Program (MSP) and will pursue an MD after completing the PhD.
Susmita received her Bachelor of Business Administration and Masters in Mass Communication from India. She also received a Master of Science in Advertising from the University of Illinois in 2009. She is currently a doctoral student in the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois.
Her current research project charts the origins of the advertising industry in India by tracing the commercialization of soap and its role in contemporary culture and society. Her topic examines the pivotal role that brand-name advertising plays in creating and sustaining consumer markets in developing economies. This project is interdisciplinary in nature as it draws theories and methods from advertising and marketing strategy, consumer culture theory, communication and media studies, political economy, postcolonial studies, material and visual culture.
- Teaching Interests: Consumer Insight, Qualitative Methods in Communications Research, Advertising and Society, Consumer Culture, Branding
Yayu graduated with a M.S. degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where she concentrated on media ethics research. Her thesis analyzed moral argumentation in newspaper editorial content about rape culture and developed an instrument to apply Kohlberg's moral development theory in critical discourse analysis. She is interested in exploring ethical issues from an in-depth philosophical approach, deconstructing media texts to unveil social and cultural implications of media with critical theories, and also incorporating environment-related discussions such as environmental injustice into the critical and ethical media framework.
Vernita Pearl Fort entered ICRs Ph.D. program after completing a diplomatic career with the United States Agency for International Development, United States Department of State. She worked in 40 countries across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and managed some of the worlds largest development portfolios. She holds a Master of Science degree from Yale University in evolutionary biology and tropical ecology and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley in natural resource systems management. Before becoming a National Economics Association Doctoral Fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park, she completed the Economic Studies Program at the United States Foreign Service Institute. She also actively pursues film, dance, music and performance as avocations and tools of pedagogy. In 2014, the International Communication Association honored Vernita Pearl Fort with the Best Visual Display of Research Award at its annual meeting in Seattle. She views the translation of rigorous scholarship into multi-modal formats as important for making such content accessible throughout the public sphere and for bridging theory, policy and practice. In 2015 and at the invitation of the School of Music at the University of Illinois, she served as Stage Director for collaboratively repurposing and theorizing La Prpura de la Rosa, the first opera composed and performed in the Americas, specifically in 1701 in Lima, Peru.
- Teaching Interests: Political Economy of Communication and Media; Communication Philosophy, Communication Ethics; International Communications; Media and the Environment; Music, Dance and the Brain; First, Second and Third Cinema Theory; Performing Critical Research
- Dissertation Title: Music and Human Rights: Their Relationship through a Transdisciplinary Frame of Critical Ethnography, Critical Neuroepigenetics, and Political Economy
- Personal website: http://pearl2013.wix.com/pearl2013
- Advisers: Clifford G. Christians, Norman Denzin, Cameron McCarthy, Kent Ono, Pradeep Dhillon, Kathleen Howland (Berklee College of Music)
Meghan holds a B.A. from Lake Forest College in communication and politics and a M.A. in communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her undergraduate thesis, National Public Radio's Great Leap Forward: Space, Power, and Audience in NPR's Move Online focuses on concerns for localism and shifting perceptions of public interest in a new media landscape. Her masters thesis, Maturing or Dying?: Historicizing Contemporary Radio and Online Audio Delivery emphasizes the degree to which new media are extensions of rather than replacements to old media, existing in an interconnected landscape of communication activity. Her concentration is on the intersection of new media, media history, and critical media theory. Currently, her primary research looks at the history of the 1990s internet, the Clinton administration policies that defined internet governance of that era, and the ways in which this policy was exported and understood internationally.
Adviser: James Hay
Joy Yang Jiao
Jiao is a 5th year PhD student at ICR. She holds a Master's Degree from Miami University. Her current research/teaching focuses on public diplomacy and nation branding within the context of the changing power structures of our globalized world. Aside from research and teaching, Jiao is actively engaged in many international communication programs, including serving as the spokesperson for the annual US legislator delegation to China. She also worked as the international communication specialist at the Peacekeeping and Public Information sectors at the United Nations.
Painting is one of Jiaos many hobbies; she enjoys visually representing her cultural heritage via the traditional Chinese watercolor on rice paper.
- Teaching Interests: Introduction to Media, International Communication, Global Media, Critical Cultural Studies
- Dissertation Title: Brand New China: Performing Heritage, Culture, and Harmony in the Global Business of National Identity
- Advisers: Kent Ono, James Hay
Ran Ju holds a B.A. from Fudan University (China) in journalism and a Master in International Affairs at Columbia University. Ran Ju's encounters with political and economic studies in both US and China have led her to value collaborative frameworks for research and writing in the field of communication study. In ICR, Ran Ju's current research is engaged with intersectional issues concerning new media technology and it relationships to the incremental transformation of political institutions in Asian countries. She centrally addresses the topics of public discourse in micro-blogging and Twitter and explores how it would reshape or reform the institutional development in transitioning societies. Collectively, Ran Jus research pertains to her longstanding interest in developing analytic and work from the multidisciplinary communication research and cross-cultural standard for the media today.
- Teaching Interests: New Media and Culture, Political Economy of Media, Political Philosophy of Communication.
Morten Stinus Kristensen
Morten Stinus Kristensen is a member of the 2015 cohort at the ICR. His interests are in how media and popular culture construct and perpetuate discourses of difference and how these discourses are received, challenged and negotiated through personal media use and production. He holds a BA in English from the University of Copenhagen, and an MA in American Studies from Cal State Fullerton.
Supathida received her B.B.A.(Accounting) with first-class honours from Thammasat University, Thailand and M.S. in mass communication from Iowa State University. Her research interests are media effect and audience psychology. Specially, she is interested in exploring the influence of advertising attributes on consumers' behavior and choice as well as the impact of mood and emotion on an individual's information processing.
Ke Li(Angela)received her BA in World History from Peking University in China and M.Phil(Master of Philosophy) in Communication from Baptist University of Hong Kong. In ICR, her research interests broadly include political economy of communication, popular culture, consumerism and middle class,the transition of legacy media in the digital era, financial journalism and investigative journalism in China, anthropology to modern China.Outside the academy, she has interned in China Central Television as a journalist and editor, Caijing magazine and Beijing News as an investigative journalist.
Adviser: Dr. Amanda Ciafone
As a winner of annual China Journalism Awards, Chunfeng worked sixteen years at several Chinese major newspapers before joining ICR in 2011. He received his second M.A. in Communications from the University of Hawaii, where he was a recipient of an East-West Center Fellowship. His major concentration is propaganda studies with a special emphasis on the Chinese school of thought on xuanchuan/propaganda and its implications for contemporary China. His research interests lie in many areas, including normative press theory, critical/cultural studies of popular culture and political economy of communications. His work has been published in journals such as Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Studies in the Humanities, as well as in several anthologies. Currently ABD, he is managing editor for three journals: Qualitative Inquiry (Sage), Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies (Sage) and Studies in Symbolic Interaction (Emerald).
- Teaching Interests: He has taught Mass Communication (COM355) and Intercultural Communication (COM340) in the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii and Introduction to the Media (MACS 101) in the Media & Cinema Studies Department at Illinois.
- Personal Site
- Adviser: Dr. John Nerone
Claudia Lagos Lira
I am interested in investigative journalism in Chile after the military dictatorship and its interplay with the model of democracy built since 1990. I am looking at the actual stories published during the last 20 years, in different outlets, and how they were performed, which methods were used, what kind of impact they had, and what topics were mainly covered.
- Teaching Interests: The last ten years, I've taught freedom of expression and access to information, investigative journalism, and guided final projects for journalism in the University of Chile (Chile).
- Website: Claudia Lagos Lira
I'm currently a third-year student in the ICR whose research falls within the category internet studies - specifically, in the subcultures, and methods of dissent and discourse that form within online spaces. My specific focus centers around online communities (Reddit and 4chan), virtual worlds (Second Life), and trolling. Other research concerns include the design and power of infrastructure and interfaces, queer theory, and representation in computer gaming. I hold a Master’s of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, and studied English literature and creative writing at Valparaiso University. I am currently a fellow with the Learning to See Systems INTERSECT program. Previously, I have TA'd for MACS100 (Popular Television & Movies) and MACS320 (Popular Culture), and have been instructor of record for MACS326 (New Media, Culture, & Society).
Hye Soo Nah
Hye Soo (pronounced hey-soo) is a first-year Ph.D. student at the Institute of Communications Research. She received her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea and her M.A. in Journalism at the University of Missouri. Before coming to Illinois, she worked as a photojournalist, videographer and news reporter at news organizations in the U.S. and South Korea. Her current interests are journalism and new media studies.
I received my B.A. in history from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia and an M.A. in Social Communication from the same University. I'm a fellow researcher of the Learning to see systems Iniciative sponsored by the INTERSECT program at University of Illinois.
Before coming to ICR, I worked for Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. I collaborated with NTIC deployment for a social responsibility Foundation, and volunteered in a free software project on education. Also I worked in consultancy project, leading sistematization of experiences for two Colombian government programs. As a researcher, I worked on techno culture in Latin America. I studied the online communication practices of teachers and software developers for the OLPC project, and the role of mediators, from a perspective of feminist critique of design. Last year I conducted a research on the history of computer science in Universidad de los Andes. For my PhD I'm interested in focusing on design histories of communication systems in Latin America, specifically in Colombian during the seventies and eighties.
- More information: http://seeingsystems.illinois.edu
Ned Prutzer currently serves as a Seeing Systems Fellow in a pilot fellowship program supported by the INTERSECT initiative of the Graduate College and the Center for People and Infrastructures. He earned his Masters degree in Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown University, where he was a graduate teaching assistant and was awarded a distinction for his Masters thesis entitled The Subjects of Subjective Mapping: Locative Art, Critical Theory, and Creative Systems. He received his Bachelors degree in English and American Studies with a minor in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on the intersections of new media and cultural memory in relation to conceptualizations of art, knowledge, and resistance. His current research projects situate locative art projects in a larger body of critical theory through ideological critique, cultural semiotics, and systems analysis, but his other research interests include technology and the political economy; data visualization; STS and controversy studies; virtual communities; and online identities. Ned has taught at the University of Maryland, College Park as a graduate assistant with the Academic Achievement Program and has interned in a research capacity with several organizations, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
Carolyn A. Randolph holds Bachelors of Arts in English and Communication & Cultural Studies from Indiana University. She is a recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. Her research interests center on race, gender, and health communication. She also has extensive experience in the areas of popular culture, sex and gender in popular media, environmental media studies, and interpretive ethnography. Her dissertation, How to communicate an epidemic: Black women, media, and the post-AIDS era, interrogates the contemporary representation of black women living with HIV/AIDS in traditional and digital media. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts, making arts and crafts, and producing original music along with her husband and son.
- Dissertation Title: How to communicate an epidemic: Black women, media, and the post-AIDS era
Yilin (Coco) Ren
Yilin (Coco) Ren is a doctoral student in the ICR program. She received her bachelor degree in advertising at Jinan University in 2013. It’s a practical program that she learned how to make print ads, video ads and strategic planning for clients. She then got her master degree in advertising at University of Illinois and her master thesis explored how walking forward influence people’s emotional response to and memory for different stimuli viewed on a mobile phone. Broadly speaking, her research interest is media psychology, for example, how interaction with screens (phones, tablets, computer) influence people’s cognitive processing of media message. She is also interested in how mind wandering influence people’s response to advertisement and how it related with personality traits.
Jessica L. Robinson
Jessica L. Robinson is a doctoral student in Media and Cinema Studies (Institute for Communications Research) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work focuses on the politics and poetics of the life-making/saving practices of black girlhood. With specific focus on art making legacies of black feminisms, her research and artist practice interrogates black girl creations of soundscapes as well as analog and digital landscapes. Her work is made possible and nurtured by SOLHOT (Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths), a collective based in Champaign-Urbana, IL who she started working with as an undergraduate student in 2008. SOLHOT is a space with intention and focus on working in community with Black girls and those folks who love them, to creatively and collectively imagine the ways in which Black girlhood is an articulation of ideas such as genius, justice, love and freedom.
She is also a part of the multimedia band, We Levitate, which is a digital formation of SOLHOT. Her work is heavily influenced by the lessons of queer, Black feminist organizers and artists as well as women of color feminisms, grandmother/mama knowledge and black girl friendships.
I received both my B.A. And M.A. in Popular Culture from Brock University. My research interests center around critical/cultural studies of television. My main focus is on reality television and the contestants who appear on those programs. For my Master's project, entitled Wanna Be On Top?: Naturalizing Neoliberalism and Self-Branding on America's Next Top Model, I considered the types of labour that contestants were rewarded for on the program. I am continuing to work in this vein, considering the various ways in which contestants are encouraged to commodify themselves and the potential implications of this commodification.
- Adviser: Dr. James Hay
I am a first year PhD student in the ICR. I earned my B.A. (summa cum laude) in English Literature from Ewha Womans University in South Korea and M.S. in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research interests involve the underlying mechanisms of how consumers respond to multiple media streams and to what extent they are influenced by environmental cues without their full awareness or intention. During my graduate career, I developed my research interests in the cognitive processes underlying attitudes and persuasion, and conducted experiments on how consumers selectively attend to advertising stimuli and form brand attitudes automatically when cognitively loaded. In particular, I have examined how people vary in the extent to which they chronically engage in media multitasking attend to substantive issues (i.e., argument strength) and peripheral information (i.e., endorser attractiveness) in advertisements when exposed to a media multitasking environment. I plan to expand my research in consumer behavior, especially in the context of selective attention and automatic evaluation.
- Adviser: Dr. Patrick Vargas
Hong Shen is a doctoral student at the Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a BA and MA in literature from East China Normal University in Shanghai, China as well as a MS in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently working on a project examining China's Internet policy.
elizaBeth Simpson studies the dynamics of collaboration, participation, social responsibility, and personal agency, especially as they intersect with cultural work. Her current research interests include participatory knowledge making for citizenship, with particular emphasis on embodied cognition, political theater, and restorative justice. In addition to her work as a researcher, elizaBeth has been a facilitator and consultant for grassroots social justice organizations for over 16 years, and is also a performance and multimedia artist who specializes in collaborative projects with people who would not call themselves creative.
I am interested in how the status of religion is used in national iconography and ritual, and how religion and religious messages are used to justify certain acts or attitudes by the individual and organizations. My work encompasses tracing the evolution of religious messages embedded in communication and media within these social institutions, and how text and visuals are received by those members. I am also interested in how these groups show either acceptance or resistance to these textual and visual messages. My research interests also include both historical and freedom of expression legal frameworks.
- Teaching Interests: Extensive experience teaching journalism writing, interviewing, broadcast, media law, public relations, and advertising courses. I am very interested in expanding my teaching into critical-cultural areas.
- Adviser: Dr. Clifford Christians
- Adviser: John Nerone
I am currently a first year PhD student at ICR. I graduated from Nankai University with dual degree of economics and English literature/translation and recently graduated from the University of Illinois with M.S. in advertising. I have expansive interests in psychology, psychophysiology, neuroscience, design, computer technology, and economics, and am eager to connect the nodes in those disciplines to better understand communication. Having learned and practiced painting/drawing for more than 15 years, I still dream to be a designer, not only one that appreciates and creates design, but also one that understands the motivation and acceptance of design. My current research interests are two-fold: 1) to understand the complex visual environment in which media messages are processed or ignored; 2) to understand how technology and design are ingrained into our daily life. Recent research has appeared in Computers in Human Behavior, Journal of Interactive Advertising, and Social Science Computer Review.
- Teaching Interests: Advertising, Statistics, Design, Technology
- Advisers: Dr. Brittany Duff and Dr. Kevin Wise
Kerry Wilson received her master's degree in communication with an emphasis in women's studies in 2011 and a bachelor's degree in communication and a bachelor's degree in African American studies in 2009 from Saint Louis University. Her research focuses on African American women's mediated, popular, and cultural representations with a specific attention to the representation of African American motherhood. Current projects include looking at the representation of race and gender in youtube videos and examining the representations of white savior narratives in contemporary film. Kerry's master's thesis, "Yo' Mama's Been Misrepresented: Portrayals of African American Mothers in Film Between 1959-2009" traces the representation of African American mothers from before the release of the The Negro Family: A Call For National Action, also known as The Moynihan Report, to the release of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. She situates her research at the intersection of race and gender, media, and cultural studies.
Shili Xiong is a second-year doctoral student in the Institute of Communications Research. Shili received her bachelors degree in Communication University of China in 2013. She received her masters degree in Advertising at the University of Illinois in 2015. Her research interest lies in the intersection of communication technology and media psychology. She is interested in how mobile phone use influences walking performance, and how walking performance in turn, have impacts on people’s information processing. In addition, she is also interested in exploring how different transmedia advertising combinations (product placement in TV program, online ad, mobile push notifications, etc) persuade consumers.
- Adviser: Dr. Brittany Duff
I completed my undergraduate and masters degree in the department of Communication in Seoul National University (South Korea). I also spent an academic research year at the University of Tokyo, Japan, where I grew my interest in the historiography and ethnography of the intersectional media/urban space. It culminated in my masters thesis, An Ethnography of Urban Cafe as a Non-place: the Case of Seoul, which takes into account the role of mobile and environmental media in the production of space and in the spatial practices of the urban population in South Korea. My current research interests include media and cultural studies, political economy of communication, science and technology studies, and politics of representation and governance in and of the media/urban space. I am particularly interested in temporal and spatial aspects of media technology in terms of its relation to the modern cities in the developmental East Asian countries. My proposed thesis will be based on a discursive and historiographical analysis of contemporary city planning programs (e.g. smart city, creative city, U-city), focusing on their material and semiotic technologies of infrastructural governance.
- Adviser: Dr. James Hay
Jiachen (Lulu) Yao is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the ICR program. Jiachen got her bachelor degree in Communication Studies at South China University of Technology. She got her master degree in advertising at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jiachen is mainly interested in media psychology and information processing. Her research has looked into how attention and goals influence people’s processing of advertising stimuli and how mood influences people’s memory and evaluation of advertising stimuli. Currently, she is working on a project examining how personality differences influence college students’ mobile apps usage. Jiachen considers herself as someone who stands at the intersection of psychology and media studies. In addition, Jiachen is also keeping an eye on social media analytics and data science, since she believes this is an era of information and big data.