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Students

MTS students

Rob Abhari
Rod Abhari is a Ph.D. student broadly interested in understanding the social and material conditions that enable the spread of scientific (mis)information. At Northwestern, he is working with Dr. Agnes Horvat to develop an article filtering tool which can track the online diffusion of scientific research and detect questionable research. Through this, he aims to both improve the accuracy of scientific reporting and combat the spread of science-based populism. He holds an M.A. in Communications from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an M.A. in Science and Technology studies (STS) from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Emily A. Andrews
emilyandrews@u.northwestern.edu
Emily A. Andrews is a Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society program and researcher in the Center of Media Psychology and Social Influence (COM-PSI) lab under the guidance of Dr. Nathan Walter. Her research interests exist within the realms of health and science communication. More specifically, she is interested in vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, narrative persuasion, along with attitudes and prosocial behavior. She aims to construct corrections to vaccine and health-related misinformation. She holds a BA from SUNY Geneseo in Psychology and an MA from SUNY University at Buffalo in Communication.

Mohammad Behroozian
Mohammad Behroozian is passionate about studying educational media for wartime. He has studied political science at the American University of Afghanistan and earned his master’s degree in television producing at Boston University on a Fulbright scholarship. Mohammad has nearly a decade of experience in media and communications work.

John J. Brooks
John J. Brooks is a doctoral candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society program at Northwestern University, working with the Center of Media Psychology and Social Influence (COM-PSI) under Dr. Nathan Walter. His research primarily pertains to communication in the contexts of health and politics—specifically, the use of entertainment-education to promote prosocial outcomes, the persuasive power of narratives, and the influence of mass media representations on social issues. In addition to research, John is an enthusiastic educator: he received the School of Communication’s “Outstanding Graduate Instructor/Teaching Assistant Award” for his course, “A History of Mass Media Influence,” and his work as a teaching assistant in 2020-2021. He also completed the Searle Center’s Teaching Certificate Program in Spring 2021 and now serves as a Graduate Teaching Mentor for current participants. Previously, John completed a B.A. in Theatre/Gender Studies, an M.S. in Health Communication, and received an M.A. in Media, Technology, and Society, all from Northwestern.

Aaron D. Campbell
Aaron D. Campbell is a Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society program and researcher in the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Lab. Before Northwestern, Aaron held client-facing positions at industry-leading companies where he advised and redesigned organizations looking to adopt emerging software and robotic solutions. Aaron researches how social architecture — the conscious design of physical and digital communication environments — impacts social behavior, relationship development, and collective performance. Aaron is particularly interested in finding new ways to design, monitor, and evaluate effective socio-technical systems, especially those involving immersive and artificially intelligent technologies and during times of high uncertainty. Aaron holds Communication M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign and Aquinas College, respectively.

Kaitlyn Childs
Kaitlyn Childs is a Ph.D. candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society program, working in Professor Michelle Shumate’s NNSI Lab. Her research focuses on interorganizational network orchestration, nonprofit performance evaluation, and perceptions of corporate-nonprofit partnerships. She is the Network Evaluation Specialist at the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA), where she quantifies the impact of CLA programming on literacy outcomes in Chicago. She holds an M.A. in Communication and a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Christopher Dobmeier
dobmeier@u.northwestern.edu
Chris Dobmeier is a first-year PhD student in the Media, Technology, and Society program at Northwestern University, working in the Center Of Media Psychology and Social Influence (COM-PSI) with Dr. Nathan Walter. Chris is interested in strategies by which persuasive messages are designed, conveyed, and evaluated, especially in health contexts. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from the SUNY University at Buffalo.

Julia Fernandez
j-fernandez@u.northwestern.edu
Julia Fernandez is a PhD student in the Media, Technology and Society program working in Dr. Jeremy Birnholtz’s Social Media Lab. Her research focuses on how users navigate complex sociotechnical ecosystems in order to express themselves and make social connections. She is also conducting research regarding popular perceptions of algorithmic systems. Prior to Northwestern, Julia was a Junior Fellow at the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) in the Library of Congress’ Office of Strategic Initiatives, working with Dr. Trevor Owens. She received her BA in American Studies from Smith College with a focus in Media and Digital Culture.

Floor Fiers
floorfiers@u.northwestern.edu
Floor Fiers is a PhD student in the MTS program who works together with Dr. Aaron Shaw as part of the Community Data Science Collective. She is interested in the field of digital inequality and discrimination, particularly in the realm of online labor markets. Originally from the Netherlands, Floor first came to the United States in 2013 to attend the United World College (Montezuma, NM). In 2019, she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Sociology from St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY).

Hannah Getachew-Smith
h.badal@u.northwestern.edu
Hannah Getachew-Smith is a PhD candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society program and a Northwestern Presidential Fellow. She works with Dr. Courtney Scherr in the Health Communication Interaction Design Lab to develop interventions to facilitate difficult conversations in health. Hannah’s research interests focus on the evaluation of digital health interventions to promote healthy behaviors and address health disparities. Trained in public health, she holds a Master of Public Health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Prior to returning to Northwestern, she worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducting research to develop and evaluate national HIV prevention campaigns.

Adam Goodkind
Adam Goodkind is a PhD student in the Media, Technology, and Society program, working out of the CollabLab and Inclusive Technology Lab. He studies linguistic markers of collaboration and convergence in conversations, and how these can be utilized to improve communication. By extracting deep linguistic structure and patterns of production, he strives to uncover previously unseen signals in conversation. Adam received an MA in Computational Linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center, and a BA from Columbia University.

Valerie Gruest
Valerie Gruest is a second-year PhD student in the Media, Technology and Society doctoral program, working with Prof. Pablo Boczkowski. She is interested in the effects of new media on eating disorders and body image issues, visibility of marginalized communities in digital media, and the evolution of contemporary art practices in online spaces. Valerie holds a BA in Communication Studies with a double major in Art, Theory & Practice from Northwestern University. In addition to her scholarly research, she is a multidisciplinary artist exploring issues of race, gender and trauma, and currently serves as an advocate for mental health and safe sport for aquatic disciplines in the Americas, given her background as a Guatemalan Olympic swimmer.

Nick Hagar
nicholashagar2018@u.northwestern.edu
Nick Hagar is a PhD student working with Dr. Nick Diakopoulos in the Computational Journalism Lab. His research examines the business of news, with a focus on the labor of journalists. His current project uses computational methods to examine the link between freelancer career trajectories and news content. Nick holds a BS in Journalism from Northwestern University

Sohyeon Hwang
Sohyeon Hwang is a PhD student in the Media, Technology, and Society Program at Northwestern University and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She works with Dr. Aaron Shaw in the Community Data Science Collective, with a primary focus on quantitatively and computationally investigating the complexity of governance in diverse large-scale online communities.

Kerstin Kalke
Kerstin Kalke is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society program working in Dr. Courtney Scherr’s Health Communication Interaction Design Lab. Kerstin’s research focuses on developing communication strategies to facilitate health decision making under high degrees of uncertainty and risk. She is particularly interested in understanding how emotions and affective forecasting affect people’s decision-making processes. Previous projects were situated in the contexts of cardiac and cancer genetics, colon cancer screening, and breast cancer. Kerstin holds a BA in English/American and German Studies from the Julius-Maximilians Universitaet in Wuerzburg, Germany, and a MA in Communication from the University of New Mexico.

Carolyn S. Kalny
carolynsartain2025@u.northwestern.edu
Carolyn (“Callie”) Kalny is a second-year PhD student in the Media, Technology & Society program at Northwestern University, where she works with Dr. Courtney Scherr in the Health Communication Interaction Design (HCID) Lab. With an overarching focus on health communication, her research utilizes mixed-methodology to evaluate message design and persuasive outcomes in contexts of risk and uncertainty. She is particularly interested in understanding how messages can be used to influence health-related attitudes, decisions, and motivations. Ultimately, the goal of her work is to inform and develop communication strategies aimed at promoting preventive health behaviors. Callie is a graduate of Mercer University (BA, Communication Studies) and Wake Forest University (MA, Communication).

Yena Lee
Yena Lee is a second year Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society program. She is interested in studying the emerging forms and processes of networked social movement and the technological, political, and organizational conditions that enable or challenge the rise of such movements. Her research aims to better understand the changing logics of social movement at both levels of consciousness-raising and policymaking through an interdisciplinary and comparative lens. Her most recent research looks at the role of leadership in feminist networked social movement in South Korea. She has previously written about feminist activist chatbot in Brazil and feminist K-pop fan activism on Twitter. She holds a B.A. in Media Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Breniel Lemley
Breniel Lemley is a third-year Ph.D. student in the in the Media, Technology, and Society program and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She conducts research in the Center on Media and Human Development with Dr. Ellen Wartella. Her current work involves learning how science media and its use can help support young children’s science learning. Prior to attending Northwestern, Lemley worked in the Education Division of SRI International as an Education Research Associate. There, she supported projects funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, George Lucas Education Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Music from the University of San Francisco.

Maya Lennon
Maya Lennon is a PhD Candidate in the Media, Technology and Society program.  She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.  She conducts research with Dr. Ellen Wartella in the Center on Media and Human Development.  Her research focuses on how young children use media with their peers or adults.  She also studies how STEM concepts can be learned from different types of educational technologies.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science from Brown University.

Reyhaneh Maktoufi
Reyhaneh Maktoufi is a PhD candidate in Media, Technology, and Society at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on science communication, curiosity, and public engagement with scientists. She works at the Nonprofit Network and Social Impact Lab where she studies nonprofit mergers and attitudes toward nonprofit-corporation partnerships. Her working background is mainly in audience outreach in nonprofits, mostly in the field of health. Rey currently enjoys working with different nonprofits such as the Adler Planetarium as a communication workshop facilitator and the Communicating Science Conference ComSciCon – Chicago as an organizer. She also engages in science outreach through writing blog-posts and making science comics.

Mora Matassi
moramatassi@u.northwestern.edu
Mora Matassi (she/ella) is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Media, Technology and Society at Northwestern University. She holds an M.A. in Media, Technology, and Society (Northwestern University), an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education (Harvard University), and a B.A. in Communication (Universidad de San Andrés). She is interested in the intersection between digital culture and computer-mediated communication. Since 2020, she is coordinator at the Center for Latinx Digital Media (Northwestern University); in the past, she was research assistant at MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program and coordinator at the Center for the Study of Media and Society in Argentina. Her papers have appeared in New Media & Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Social Media + Society, among other venues. She is currently working on the book manuscript Social Media Studies: Comparative Perspectives (joint with Pablo Boczkowski), under contract with the MIT Press. Mora has contributed to CNN Radio Argentina and co-produced/hosted a podcast with Revista Anfibia about self-tracking technologies. She was awarded with a Fulbright – Ministry of Education scholarship. She was awarded with a Fulbright – Ministry of Education scholarship.

Joshua-Paul Miles
Joshua-Paul Miles is a Ph.D. candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society program studying with Dr. Michelle Shumate. He is a research assistant in the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact Lab. Joshua-Paul investigates interorganizational networks across organizational domains. Specifically, he aims to understand how interorganizational networks can effectively address interconnected and complex problem spaces. Some of these contexts include nonprofit-corporate partnerships, community-based coalitions, and systems and technologies of care. He hopes to help lead organizations to successful cross-sector outcomes that benefit various stakeholders through methods grounded in robust and multilevel research analyses. In addition to communication studies and network science, his research contributes knowledge and pulls from various fields, such as public administration, social work, nonprofit studies, and management science. He received his M.A. in Media, Technology, and Society from Northwestern University. Prior to Northwestern, Joshua-Paul earned his B.A. in Corporate Communication and Spanish for the Business Professions with a minor in Human Resource Management from Marquette University.

Annika Pinch
Annika Pinch is a PhD student in the Media, Technology, and Society program. She holds a BA in Psychology from Cornell University where her undergraduate honors thesis was a qualitative study on the economic, educational, and social impacts of the social media tax in Kampala, Uganda. She has also done research on how cultural workers’ anticipate and respond to the challenges that algorithmic systems pose on their respective platforms. In general, she is very interested in digital inequalities and how marginalized communities use technology. She is currently studying how those who have been incarcerated experience technology after being released from prison and how they manage their online identities.

Sanjana Ramesh
Sanjana Ramesh is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Media, Technology, and Society program working with Dr. Courtney Scherr in the Health Communication Interaction Design Lab. Sanjana holds an MPH in Health Communication and Social Marketing and has several years of experience in the nonprofit healthcare sector. Broadly, Sanjana’s research agenda centers on designing health communication and behavior change interventions to improve patient-centered care. She is particularly interested in designing more targeted behavioral interventions to support women in navigating and managing their health below the belt (I.,e, gynecological, reproductive & pelvic health). Sanjana is currently involved with Renalis, a femtech startup creating digital solutions for pelvic health. She is also a 200 hour certified yoga instructor at Studio Three, a local boutique fitness studio.

Thomas Rousse
Thomas H. Rousse studies the intersection of law and technology, with a focus on intellectual property and online communities, as a joint J.D./Ph.D. student. He currently serves as the Senior Online Editor of Northwestern University Law Review. He holds an MSc. in Media, Technology and Games Analysis from the IT University of Copenhagen and graduated from Northwestern’s American Studies program in 2010. His advisor is Aaron Shaw.

Camille Saucier
Camille Saucier is a Ph.D. student in Media, Technology and Society working at the Center Of Media Psychology and Social Influence (COM-PSI) under Dr. Nathan Walter. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Southern California in Psychology and Communication Management respectively, and previously worked as a research specialist with the Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project. Her research interests include public opinion formation, attitude change, and decision-making, specifically around science communication. She is particularly interested in the discourse surrounding environmental issues like climate change, and how these messages can be adapted to be more persuasive.

Anne-Marie Singh
annemarie@u.northwestern.edu
Anne-Marie Singh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Media, Technology, and Society Program at Northwestern University and is working at the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact under Dr. Michelle Shumate’s advisorship. She has several years of experience working in environmental nonprofits as a communicator and as a science journalist in public media. Her research interests include organizational communication and cross-sector partnerships in the nonprofit sector. Anne-Marie has a M.S. degree in Science Journalism from Boston University and a B.A. in English Literature from Delhi University, India.

Facundo Suenzo
Facundo Suenzo is a Ph.D. student in Media, Technology and Society working with professor Pablo Boczkowski and a graduate affiliate with the Center for Latinx Digital Media. He is interested in sociology of culture, media reception and digital culture. He was born and raised in Argentina where he earned his B.A in Communication from the Universidad de San Andrés (UdeSA) and his MA in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional del General San Martín (IDAES/UNSAM). Facundo’s work has appeared in New Media & Society, Journalism and Cuadernos.info. Prior to Northwestern, Facundo was coordinator at the Center for Media and Society (MESO) in Argentina between 2018-2020.

Sapna Suresh
Sapna Suresh is a third-year doctoral student in the School of Communication at Northwestern University advised by Dr. Nathan Walter. Her research interests focus on the ways that various media messages give rise to psychological, knowledge-related, attitudinal, and behavioral outcomes among audiences. At a high level, this includes unpacking features of message recipients, information channels and sources, as well as the messages themselves that facilitate persuasive outcomes. Some recent applications of her theoretical interests include health promotion and prevention, curbing the spread of misinformation, and the encouragement of of pro-environmental behaviors. Sapna holds a BA from Rice University in engineering and policy studies.

Marwa Tahboub
marwatahboub2026@u.northwestern.edu
Marwa Tahboub is a Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society program. She works in the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact [NNSI] lab under Dr. Michelle Shumate. Her research interests surround nonprofit community organizations’ social media engagement with marginalized communities. Marwa received her B.A. in professional communication and psychology at the University of Michigan-Flint. For her undergraduate honors thesis, she worked with NNSI to study how referral networks reacted to COVID-19.

Daniel Trielli
Daniel Trielli is researching how news reaches the public in our algorithmically-defined information world, and how computational journalism can be applied to investigate complex issues. He has a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland, where he studied the way in which search engines mediated political information during the 2016 United States elections. Before coming to the U.S., Daniel worked as a journalist for over a decade in his native Brazil.

Esteban Villa-Turek
Esteban Villa-Turek is a PhD student in the Media, Technology and Society program at Northwestern University, working with Prof. Erik Nisbet in his Center for Communication and Public Policy. He studies online disinformation with special attention to its policy implications, focusing on political and scientific disinformation in Latin America using applied data science and computational methods. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from Rosario University (Bogotá, 2014), a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin, 2019) and is currently finishing a master’s in Analytics from Georgia Tech.

Kalia Vogelman-Natan
Kalia Vogelman-Natan is a PhD student in the Media, Technology, and Society program, working in the Center on Media and Human Development with Dr. Ellen Wartella. Her research interests focus on mobile communication and the role of media in the lives of families, specifically the impacts mobile ubiquity has on children, adolescents, and parenting. Kalia’s recent projects explore young children’s online video consumption, employing mixed methods to examine what children are watching on YouTube and other video streaming platforms, their viewing practices, and how these experiences impact children’s development and well-being. She holds a BA in International Relations with a minor in English Literature & Linguistics, and an MA in Communication from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Ashley Walker
Ashley Marie Walker is a PhD candidate in the Media, Technology. & Society program at Northwestern University. Her work looks at the ways online social spaces impact group dynamics and intracommunity conflict, ecological perspectives on sociotechnical systems, and how epistemic injustices influence coordination and collaboration practices for response to long-term, systemic crises. She works with Madhu Reddy in the PITCH Lab, and her dissertation work looks at how the invisible labor that brings people, information, and technology into working configurations can exclude crucial stakeholders in responding to the rise in maternal mortality in the US.

Y. Jasmine Wu
Y. Jasmine Wu is a Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society program, working in the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) research group led by Noshir Contractor. Her research interests include social network analysis, teamwork, and intergroup bias. She applies computational tools to understand team processes from the network perspective in research and industrial settings to help improve management and team performance. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Information Science and Communication. There, her research focused on co-authorship networks and gender differences in immersive virtual environments (e.g., Second Life, virtual reality). Her research has won Top Student Paper awards from International Communication Association and National Communication Association.

Erique Zhang
Erique Zhang (they/them) is a PhD candidate in Media, Technology, and Society. Drawing on feminist, queer, trans, and critical race theories, Erique’s research focuses on the aesthetic practices, media representation, and cultural production of transgender people and queer and trans people of color. Their ongoing work uses a combination of interviews with trans women and femmes, transcripts of vlogs produced by trans female social media influencers, and mainstream fashion magazine coverage of trans subjects to interrogate how normative ideals of beauty are produced through media representations and how trans people navigate those norms in their everyday lives. Their work has been published in Studies in Costume & Performance, Fashion Studies Journal, International Journal of Communication, and The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies. Erique is affiliated with the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies. They hold a BFA in studio art and an MA in costume studies, both from New York University.