Graduate Student Profiles

Master's Students

Jill Ament Headshot

Jillian Ament

Jill Ament is an award-winning journalist who currently produces and reports for the statewide public radio program, the Texas Standard. She's also worked as a political producer for Spectrum News in Austin and has produced and reported for other various Central Texas TV and public radio newsrooms. Her work has appeared on NPR, The Takeaway, Here and Now, the Texas Tribune, KUT News and Spectrum News. Jill was born and raised in Central Texas. She received her undergraduate's degree in Mass Communication from Texas State University.  



Christian Artley Headshot

Christian Artley

Christian Artley was born in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in nearby Pico Rivera, a thriving Hispanic community adjacent to East Los Angeles. He has studied at multiple academic institutions, both foreign and domestic, earning degrees in Communications and Aerospace Technologies. He has worked with the United Nations, the Department of Defense, and NATO across four partner nations in the aerospace and classified publications sector, respectively. Most recently, he worked in the NGO marketing industry before beginning his graduate studies at the School of Journalism at the Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin. His work across different sectors sparked his interest in media research as it pertains to political sectarianism in post-millennial cohorts through online media exposure and how this informs political opinion and commentary in Western nations. 

Carlo Byrd Headshot

Carlo Byrd

Carlo Byrd is a Journalism and Media Research and Theory Master's student from Laredo, Texas. He has history with UT and Moody—he earned his undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Government with focus on media literacy, the Texas border and food studies. In that time, he created various news and media projects that can be found on his LinkedIn, such as video interviews for the Voces Oral History Center during the Covid-19 pandemic. Beyond academia, he works with UT Residence Life as an Assistant Complex Coordinator where he supervises resident assistants and their peers with an emphasis on education in the halls. He hopes to pursue his PhD and become a professor in Journalism to advocate for media literacy and strengthen the next generation of journalists. 

Jennifer Castillo Headshot

Jennifer Castillo Cortes

Jennifer Castillo Cortes is a masters student in research and theory at the School of Journalism and Media. She completed her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and is a proud Longhorn. As an undergraduate, Jennifer was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and developed her research interests in online news engagement across social media as well as qualitative research methods. She is also interested in researching newsroom diversity. She wants to ensure information online is reliable and enhance storytelling to create engaged communities and media trust. Jennifer enjoys meeting new people, listening to stories and cooking.

Ana Poala headshot

Ana Paola Davila Chalita

Ana Paola Davila Chalita is MA-Professional Track student. She studied marketing and communications at Tec de Monterrey in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Her soul passion is food. She learned how to cook from a very young age with her Lebanese grandmother, who fusions Lebanese recipes with Mexican seasonings. Her interest in writing also began at a very young age. She wrote her first 100 book page when she was nine, and has always kept diaries throughout her life. With her instagram food blog, with over a 100k followers, she combined both passions and is now looking to improve her writing, take it a step further, and pursue a career in food journalism. She is a stubborn, reliable, caring Mexican who loves her culture and speaking her mind. 

Samantha Eisenmenger Headshot

Samantha Eisenmenger

Samantha Eisenmenger is a MA-Professional Track student. She earned a BA in Sociology from The University of North Texas. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she gained communications experience through volunteering for Doctors Without Borders in Dubai, UAE. While in Dubai, she began exploring storytelling through photography.

In 2018, Samantha was a volunteer photographer for a grassroots group who supported Beto O’Rourke’s senate campaign. She traveled all over Texas where she photographed and interviewed Texans. Her photos, and interviews, were featured on social media and a weekly newsletter. During this time, Samantha’s photos were featured in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News and the Del Rio News-Herald.  

Samantha is interested in learning how to report on disinformation campaigns and rhetoric in politics through clear and concise narratives that help the public recognize disinformation. She also wants to sharpen her photojournalism and storytelling skills.

kali Foyle headshot

Kali Foyle

Kali Foyle is master's student in research and theory in the School of Journalism and Media. Her research interests include the impact of social media and emerging technologies on information ecosystems and the sociopolitical milieu, and how this affects the political process. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in December 2021, where she double majored in Communication Studies and Political Science and worked as a research assistant for several projects in both disciplines. 

Benton Graham Headshot

Benton Graham

Benton is a MA Professional track student and has a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of William and Mary. He has written about politics, business, and travel and is excited to explore topics in urban planning, immigration, and technology. Previously, he wrote freelance articles and blogged in Latin America and worked at marketing agencies in Washington, D.C. and Austin. 

Edith Hollander

Edith Hollander

Edith Hollander is a Research and Theory Master's student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Goucher College, where she concentrated in critical and cultural theory and was awarded the Mary Carman Rose Prize for excellence in philosophy. She is broadly interested in gender and popular culture, the intersections of social movements and consumption, and digital gig labor. Her past research includes a grounded theory study of feminist Instagram influencers that explored the commodification of social movements on social media. 

Before beginning graduate school, Edith worked as a research assistant at NARAL Pro-Choice America, where she investigated anti-choice disinformation, and at Princeton’s Bridging Divides Initiative, where she used open-source tools to monitor political violence. She is passionate about using the tools of cultural studies and qualitative methodology to critically investigate gendered and racialized mis/disinformation.

Gayoung Headshot

Gayoung Jeon

Gayoung Jeon is a Research and Theory Master's student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.A. in Communication with highest honors. Her research interests include political communication, digital media, public opinion, and journalism. She has studied the effects of news and emerging technologies on global and political communication, such as how malicious or foreign practitioners intervene in public discourse, journalists report on international conflicts, and the public shapes opinion. She is also interested in analyzing media language using computational and quantitative methodologies. She wants to work to help citizens use information freely, to ensure that laws and policies protect the public, and to address social and political inequalities. She enjoys running and making tea. 


Abby Johnson Headshot

Abigail Johnson

Abby L. Johnson is master's student on the professional track in the School of Journalism and Media. She graduated with a BA from UT Austin in May 2019, where she majored in English. She then went on to work as a writer and editor for an Austin lifestyle magazine, primarily focusing on the East Austin community. She is thrilled to return to the Forty Acres to continue developing her storytelling skills. Abby is particularly interested in reporting on arts and culture on a hyperlocal level. She hopes to continue working in magazines, as well as try her hand at audio storytelling.

Michelle Lavergne Headshot

Michelle Lavergne

Michelle Lavergne is pursuing her master’s degree in the Professional track at UT Austin. Hailing from the Philippines, she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. She had written for some of the largest magazine publications and had also received an Anvil award for her work in the field of corporate communications in the Philippines.

Michelle moved to the US in 2017 and joined the Army in 2019, where she worked as a finance soldier. Now that her military service has concluded, she wants to learn how the US media system operates and how to effectively engage American audiences with her writing. As an immigrant, she is interested in exploring long-form stories on her fellow Filipino-Americans, particularly how immigration and cultural issues affect them and their motherland.

When not dreaming about working for the New Orleans Saints’ communications team one day, Michelle enjoys building Legos, burying her nose in books, and eating her way through every place she visits.

Yuzhe Lei

Yuzhe Lei

Yuzhe Lei is a master’s student (Research and Theory track) in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his bachelor's degree in Labor and Social Security from the Renmin University of China, with a minor in Journalism, and his first master's degree in Advertising from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he developed a keen interest in political communication. Specifically, he aims to study media effects on political attitudes and behaviors, explore the impact of emerging technologies on political life, and apply computational methods to address these issues. 

In the future, Yuzhe hopes to become a high-quality paper machine and secure a professorship at the university. However, for now, he simply wants to lose some weight and raise an adorable Shiba Inu.

jinpeng li

Jinpeng Li

Jinpeng Li is an MA-Professional Track Journalism graduate student. He graduated from Hainan University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He developed a passion for business reporting while covering consumers at CBNweekly. He later landed an internship on Caixin Media’s data team, tracking energy markets and researching the electric vehicle supply chain. He aspires to bring quality technology and consumer journalism to the general public in Austin. Outside of his work, Jinpeng is also interested in film production and creative writing. Jinpeng is a recipient of the Walt Disney Fellowship in China. His hands would shake with nervousness every time he called interviewees.

Ningyuan Ma Headshot

Ningyuan Ma

Ningyuan Ma is a master's student in Journalism-Research & Theory. While pursuing her B.A. in journalism and sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ningyuan developed her initial passion for all processes that loosely fall into the category of "social inquiry"—from national-scale scholarly research to individuals' curious eyes, how they gauge knowledge differently yet collectively constructing a picture of social reality. During graduate studies, she hopes to dive into how mass media infrastructure and production practices are supplying, shaping and transforming issues of public interest, and how the public interact with said information and among themselves to produce an evolving public discourse. Prior to furthering her study at UT, Ningyuan worked in social science and marketing survey research in China.

During leisure time, you may find her indulging herself in novels, movies, music and animations while trying out her own takes on literary expressions once in a long while. Ningyuan is from Harbin, China.

Isabella McGovern Headshot

Isabella McGovern

Isabella McGovern is an MA-Professional Track student. She is from Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BA in English and a concentration in Professional Writing.

Isabella has done two internships. Her first internship was for an independent student-run newspaper at UTSA called The Paisano, where she worked as a staff writer and wrote articles for Art, News, Lifestyle, and Sports. Isabella volunteered hours to help with tabling, passing out newspapers, and making corrections during final edit nights. The second internship was with US News & World Report, where Isabella fact-checked reviews on new or used cars and wrote monthly lease deal articles on Cadillac's latest offers for US News' Autos department.

Isabella's goal is to have a career in the journalism industry as a writer and editor for a digital media or magazine company. She also plans to explore photography while completing her Professional Track program at UT.


Laura Miguel

Laura Miguel is an MA-Professional Track student at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her BA in Multimedia Journalism and Spanish Interpretation and Translation from Our Lady of the Lake University. During her time there, she anchored, reported, and wrote for the school newspaper and newscast. Laura has also been passionate about Latinos and the representation and language they consume news. She has done previous research regarding this topic with the Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program during her undergrad. Laura hopes to focus on sports journalism as she wants to work with a Spanish-speaking sports network and be one of the few Latinas in a career field dominated by men. She is originally from Dallas, Texas.

Michael Nolan Headshot

Michael Nolan

Michael Nolan is an MA-professional track student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. He previously obtained a bachelor's degree in politics and economics at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. His final thesis focused on the relationship between natural resource wealth shocks and levels of authoritarian governance in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Michael has previously written on politics, human rights, and international relations, including several articles written during his time in Central Asia, which focused on environmental and social issues in the region. He aims to use his time in Austin to develop his ability to tell the stories of those affected by conflict and humanitarian crises. He has a particular interest in West Africa and the Middle East, with a desire to report both on and from both regions. 

Keaton Peters Headshot

Keaton Peters

Keaton Peters grew up in a small town along the California-Nevada border, and he moved to Austin, Texas in 2019 after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Rhetoric. Throughout the past few years, he has been involved in political campaigns both locally and nationally, as well as independent online journalism before deciding that continued journalism education would benefit his career. Some topics of interest include science and technology, the environment and global affairs. When not working, writing, or biking to class, Keaton also enjoys meeting new people, playing guitar and producing music, playing basketball and spending time with his two cats.

Tyler Pointer Headshot

Tyler Pointer

Tyler Pointer is a graduate student in the Master’s Professional Track program at the School of Journalism and Media. Starting his writing career during undergrad, Tyler has published stories across Texas in print and digital outlets. He has managed communications for several state associations, serving as an advocacy medium for elected officials, and currently continues that work while attending the graduate program. He received his undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University in December 2018, where he majored in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising. Tyler is a Texas native interested in writing about unique Texas culture and identity.


Julie Poole Headshot

Julie Poole

Julie Poole is a student enrolled in the Journalism and Media Master’s Professional Track program. She received a BA from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from The New Writers Project at UT. Her writing has appeared in the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, Scalawag, and Yes! Magazine. She writes about healthcare, housing access, and systemic injustice. Her interests are in longform writing, slow journalism, and documentary filmmaking.  


Dominique Ramirez Headshot

Dominique Ramirez Bejarano

Anissa Sanchez Headshot

Anissa Sanchez

Anissa Lauren Sanchez is a student in the Journalism & Media Master’s program at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.A. from Houston Christian University in English with a minor in Writing.

During her time at HCU, she was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, won Honorable Mention awards in HCU’s ‘A Piece of the Past’ museum essay contest, and was featured in their student literary journal ‘Writ in Water.’ She was an active member of HCU’s digital student magazine Satellite Magazine, where she served as a contributor and member of the editorial staff.

Prior to arriving at UT, she worked as a Web Content Specialist at Rice University’s Baker Institute and as a Web Assistant at Alternative Press Magazine.

Her interests are in English literature, pop culture, music and film history, and entertainment journalism. Additionally, her freelance writing has appeared in Alternative Press Magazine and EUPHORIA. Magazine.

Taylor Sheridan

Taylor Sheridan

Taylor Sheridan is pursuing a master's degree in the Research & Theory track. She graduated with her bachelor's in Journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. During her time at Ball State, she specialized in photojournalism, fashion and sociology. She was also a writing tutor at Ball State’s Writing Center as well as a Creative Director for a pop culture news site on campus. Taylor’s research interests include investigating the impact of photos and photojournalism on communities and how empowerment and empathy can be within photos. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and enjoys painting, watching cooking shows and listening to Taylor Swift in her free time. 

Corey Smith

Corey Smith

Corey Smith is a Master's-Professional Track graduate student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. Since earning a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Roanoke College in 2017, his professional journalistic experiences have mostly come as a sports writer, first covering NFL and NCAA Football for, before assisting with research, eCommerce and social media responsibilities for ESPN’s Matthew Berry in the fall of 2018. He has since worked as a Sports and Staff Writer for the Elgin Courier, co-hosted a fantasy football podcast for Green Bay's Y100, and has completed feature stories on a number of Austin-area sports figures, including Todd Dodge, Cade Klubnik, and David McWilliams, along with many other educators, business owners, coaches and student-athletes from the Elgin and Bastrop County areas.

Katrina Spencer Headshot

Katrina Spencer 

Katrina L. Spencer is a master’s student in the School of Journalism and Media from Los Angeles, California, and has lived in Spain, Missouri, Illinois, Vermont, and Virginia. Katrina’s prior degrees are in communications, Spanish, and library and information science. Katrina is interested in truth-telling, essay writing, audio production, and satire. Katrina also studies Portuguese, French, Arabic, and African studies. Find Katrina’s writing in Charlottesville TomorrowInformation TodayLibrary JournalMcSweeney’sup//root, and WOC + lib. In Austin, Katrina will be on the hunt for the best gelato, seeing films at the Alamo Drafthouse, and seeking out music venues with seating.

Pamela Vance Headshot

Pamela Vance

Pam is working part time on her graduate degree in the Journalism MA professional track while she maintains her full time job at IBM. She hopes to polish her skills in local/community reporting as a freelance journalist with a focus on African American culture in Texas. She would like to develop her own writing style and learn how to take and edit good photos for an online magazine/newsletter to promote the collection of and explore perspectives on collecting African American art. One of her favorite quotes is from Dr. Samella Lewis who said: “Art is not a luxury as many people might think – it is a necessity. It documents history – it helps to educate people and store knowledge for generations to come."

Doctoral Students


Chris Assaf Headshot

Christopher T Assaf

Christopher T. Assaf is pursuing a doctoral degree in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. He plans to do research on the effects and results of video convergence at traditional news outlets, photojournalism practitioners and history, visual communication theory, photographic meaning, and viewer interaction, and journalism audience effects. 

A highly experienced, award-winning visual storyteller, Assaf has worked in California, Maine, Chicago, and Baltimore. He spent 13 years at The Baltimore Sun where he started as a staff photographer, moved into video and web production as a multimedia editor, and then visual content editor for Sunday and enterprise. He was part of the team recognized as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Breaking News—contributing as a photographer, cinematographer, video editor, producer, and editor—for coverage of the death of Freddie Gray and the resulting unrest.

His newsroom projects, enterprise and breaking stories, along with his individual work, have been recognized by a variety of national groups and organizations, including the American Society of News Editors, Investigative Reporters & Editors, National Headliner Awards, Online Journalism Awards, White House News Photographers Association, National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International, the National Press Club, and many others.

Assaf is originally from Shawnee, Kan., and he started photographing seriously during his junior year in high school. He graduated from The A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University, where he served as photo editor for both The Collegian daily newspaper and the Royal Purple yearbook.



Gabrielle Headshot

Gabrielle Beacken

Gabrielle Beacken is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to moving down south, Gabrielle received her MSc in Strategic Communications at The London School of Economics and Political Science where she concurrently completed an internship in the UK's House of Lords. She earned her B.A. in Journalism at The College of New Jersey where she completed a six month study abroad program at New College, University of Oxford. Gabrielle's research interests include online political disinformation and antisemitism, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

Before beginning her PhD program, Gabrielle worked in New York City as a Programmatic Trader in Ad Tech where she traded and optimized real time digital media budgets via Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). In her free time, Gabrielle loves a good mystery book and baking delicious cakes.


Tiancheng Cao Headshot

Tiancheng (Leo) Cao

BA in English, Tsinghua University; MA in Arts and Culture, Leiden University; MA in Media Studies, University of Amsterdam.

Previously: 1) MA in Leiden: The use of Google Street View as a spatiotemporal construction that contests the boundary between still and moving images for artistic purposes as well as within museological contexts. 2) MA in Amsterdam: The use of web browser extensions for activist purposes, including how they redirect user's attention to social issues, promote user agency, and inform the relationship between browser platforms and extension developers. Currently: The increasing digitization and platformization of museum collections (through initiatives such as Google Arts & Culture) and how digital access to cultural content is reconditioned through such a platform's various interfacial regimes.


Hometown: Hubei, China

Bin Chen

Bin Chen, is a PhD student and has an MA from Tsinghua University.

He is interested in political communication, media and social change, and political engagement among young people. He plays tennis in his spare time.


Hometown: China

Dennis Cui Headshot

Dennis Cui

Cui has a Master's degree in Digital Media and is interested in Chinese online culture and the use of emoji and stickers. His goal is to become a university faculty member.


Hometown: China

Silvia Dalben Furtado Headshot

Silvia de Freitas Dal Ben Furtado

Silvia de Freitas Dal Ben Furtado is a Ph.D student at the School of Journalism in the University of Texas at Austin, where she researches automated journalism and the sociotechnical networks involved in the development of Artificial Intelligence systems applied in the newsrooms.

She has a master's in communication (2018) from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and her dissertation earned Adelmo Genro Filho Award granted by SBPJor - Brazilian Association of Researchers in Journalism. She completed her B.A. in Journalism and in Radio and Television from UFMG, with an Exchange Program at the University of Nottingham (UK).

As a journalist, she worked as a culture reporter and editor for four years at Portal Uai,  Estado de Minas' newspaper website in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She also worked for more than ten years at D2R Studios as an executive producer of films, videos, games, apps and new media.


Emilia Edwards Headshot

Emilia Edwards 

Emilia Edwards is a journalist with a master's degree in strategic communications and over 15 years of work experience. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in Journalism and Media at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include political and visual communication, with a focus on photographic meaning and effects.  

Emilia is originally from Santiago, Chile.  

Azza el Masri Headshot

Azza El Masri

Azza El Masri is a doctoral student in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a journalist, disinformation expert, and digital security consultant that has worked with independent media organizations, human rights organizations, and journalism students across North Africa and Western Asia (NAWA) to develop and support open-source investigations and fact-checking projects.

Her research interests sit at the intersection of media, technology and human rights. Particularly, she examines the political economy of disinformation in NAWA and tries to understand the effect of content moderation policies on Arab independent media, access to information, and free speech online. 

Azza, a Fulbright Foreign Student Scholarship alumna, received an MA from Florida State University in 2018 and a BA from the American University of Beirut in 2015, both in Media and Communication Studies. 


Yuting He Headshot
Yuting He is a Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism and Media at UT. She is interested in using mixed methods, particularly by integrating computational techniques, and statistical models with qualitative validation, to explore global politics and journalism among marginalized groups. Yuting has a strong interest in various sports, especially tennis, hiking, and basketball. She is also a proud owner of two chunky cats.
Check her previous research here.
Huan Headshot

An Hu

An Hu, is from Taiyuan, Shanxi, China. An worked for a Hong Kong Newspaper for 2 years as a reporter. He has an M.A. in Global Communication from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and a B.A. from South China University of Technology. He is interested in the framing of patriotism in discourse and the role of media in the attribution of global risk.

 He's also a big fan of "The Romance of Three Kingdoms."


Salih Hurdogan Headshot

Salih Hurdogan

Salih is a PhD student in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests revolve around computational propaganda and its impact on democratic societies. By examining the complex relationship between technology, media, and politics, Salih aims to shed light on the challenges and opportunities that arise in the digital age. He holds a master's degree in Strategic Communications from the Department of War Studies at King's College London, and completed his undergraduate studies at Galatasaray University, where he double majored in Communications and Political Science. He also obtained a delocalized undergraduate degree in Information and Communication Sciences from Bordeaux Montaigne University.

Omneya Headshot

Omneya Ibrahim

Omneya Ibrahim is a doctoral student and a teaching assistant in the School of Journalism and Media in the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include visual communication, digital media, digital activism, with a focus on new social media tools such as internet memes and GIFs. She received an M.A. in Journalism and media from the American University in Cairo. She also studied Foreign Policy at the Elliott School of International Affairs in George Washington University as well as Media Production to Counter Radicalization at the Netherlands Radio Training Centre, and her research papers has won multiple awards. Ibrahim is originally from a small coastal city by the Red Sea; Hurghada in Egypt. And prior to pursuing her PhD, she held various positions within the media field, from a journalist, media researcher, to a copywriter, content manager and a communication trainer and media consultant.


Sundown Headshot

Sungwon Jung

Sungwon Jung is a Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her M.S. in Digital Analytics and B.A. in Sociology from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Her research mainly focuses on analyzing social media user behavior and detecting misinformation using computational methods such as machine learning and deep learning. She hopes to make a better society through her research. 

Kim Soojeong Headshot

Soojeong Kim

Soojeong Kim is a doctoral student and teaching assistant in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. Soojeong earned a Master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University and graduated with a B.A. in Communication and Media from Seoul Women's University. She cares about democracy a lot and has a broad interest in political communication. Especially her research interests are: News comments and civic engagement; Political participation; Political polarization; Public opinion; Disinformation studies; and Equity and inclusion news spaces.


Torie Kim Headshot

Torie (Hyunsik) Kim

Torie (Hyunsik) Kim is a doctoral student in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. His research area of interest is in how opinions form inside social media and online communities with the use of big data analysis and quantitative methods. He is also interested in methods such as natural language processing and machine learning.

Torie completed his undergraduate degree in Journalism and Media and Electrical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea. According to his friends, he looks a lot like Faker, the Korean gaming superstar; unfortunately, he wishes he had Faker's hands instead of his face. 


Sheila Lawman Headshot

Sheila B. Lalwani

Sheila B. Lalwani is a doctoral student at the Moody College of Communication. She has years of daily newsroom experience reporting from Austria, Thailand, India, Germany, Indonesia and Singapore for major publications, including the Seattle TimesDie PresseAssociated Press and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  

A recipient of a Graduate School Mentoring Fellowship, Sheila researches global media, information and media policy and law in the U.S. and the European Union. She has spoken and presented at colloquia and conferences in cities, including New York, Warsaw, Singapore, Fez and Leipzig. She has also led and served as an advisor for journalism organizations focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and spends her spare time working to advance the Transatlantic Relationship.

She graduated from Indiana University with honors in Journalism and Religious Studies and earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. She spent a few months in Austria as an ICFJ Fellow and then a year in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar and McCloy Fellow. She is finishing her LL.M. in Legal Theory from Goethe University, where she researches social media regulation. She was born and raised in the Midwest, speaks German and Hindi and expects to advance her knowledge of French and a Slavic language


Brad Limov Headshot

Brad Limov

Brad Limov (MA Cinema Studies, Nagoya University) is a PhD candidate and Continuing Fellow in the School of Journalism and Media. His research on media production and discourse examines the relationships between social justice movements and communities of practice across convergent industries and platforms. He is particularly interested in gatherings at events and collective action, as well as the possibilities for a more just society that arise amid new technologies and shifts in political economy.

Academic Publications

Varma, A., Limov, B., & Cabas-Mijares, A. (In press). “They always get our story wrong”: Addressing social justice activists’ news distrust through solidarity reporting. Media and Communication.

Limov, B. (2023). Platforming inclusion at U.S. media industry events: Confronting Hollywood’s lack of representational diversity. Critical Studies in Media Communication.Advance online publication.

Riedl, M.J., Strover, S., Cao, T.*, Choi, J.*, Limov, B.*, & Schnell, M.* (2022). Reverse-engineering political protest: The Russian Internet Research Agency in the heart of Texas. Information, Communication & Society, 25(15), 2299-2316.

Limov, B. (2021). Zoom, cinema, and the transnational Q&A. In Media Res: A Media Commons Project.

Limov, B. (2020). Click it, binge it, get hooked: Netflix and the growing U.S. audience for foreign content. International Journal of Communication, 14, 6304-6323.

Hobbins-White, P.*, & Limov, B.* (2020). SXSW, Amazon, and the difficulty of staging an exclusive event online. NECSUS_European Journal of Media Studies, 9(2), 329-338.

(*indicates equal contributions)


Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

Zhi Lin Headshot

Zhi Lin

Zhi Lin is a PhD student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include political communication, international communication, public diplomacy and media effects. She explores the intersection of political communication and global politics. She is interested in questions including how and why people understand and engage with politics and international conflicts through social media; how social media facilitates the emergence of an online battlefield between narratives and facts; how online political rivalry influences public opinion. She is also interested in health communication and popular culture. 

She received a BA degree in Internet and New Media from Sun Yat-sen University, and an MPhil degree in Communication Studies from Hong Kong Baptist University. Her hometown is in Guangdong, China. She enjoys cooking, dancing, doing HIIT workouts, and playing badminton in her free time.


Zelly Martin Headshot

Zelly Martin

Zelly Martin is a Ph.D. student in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin and a graduate research assistant at the Center for Media Engagement. She graduated with an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Feminist Studies from Southwestern University. Her research interests include disinformation, especially as it relates to women, health communication, and the public/private divide, as well as digital activism.


Conference Papers

Martin, Z. “’The day joy was over’: Representation of pregnancy loss in the news” | Winner of the James W. Carey Memorial Award for Top Student Paper at Association for Education in Journalism and Media, Cultural & Critical Studies Division | 08.05.21

Montiel Valle, D. & Martin, Z. “Entangled with the necropolis: A decolonial feminist analysis of femicide news coverage in Latin America” | International Communication Association | 05.27-31.21

Martin, Z. “Miscarriage in the media: Effects of media representation of miscarriage on knowledge and attitudes” | Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Commission on the Status of Women | 08.06.20

Kayo Mimizuka

Kayo Mimizuka

Kayo Mimizuka is a doctoral student at the School of Journalism and Media, the Moody College of Communication. In May 2021, she completed a master’s degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University as a Fulbright scholar. Her research interests include solutions to online mis- and mid-information, media literacy, and the conversion of right-wing online activism in Japan and the United States. Before relocating to the United States, Kayo worked as a reporter at Japanese news agency Kyodo News, covering crime, the Fukushima nuclear accident and energy issues, trade, and financial markets. She has also worked on translating journalists' resources including a guide to approaching social sources.


Dominique Headshot

Dominique Montiel Valle

Dominique is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. She researches technology use and media representation from a feminist lens. Dominique received an MA in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.

She is currently working on her dissertation, which examines how women in dispersed parts of Latin America use and transform “private” social media spaces like WhatsApp and Facebook Groups to create networks of safety and care in the face of gendered violence and impunity. In addition, she is working as a graduate research assistant on an NSF-funded project focused on the integration of AI technologies into essential work sectors and the way these technologies transform work/workers (and vice versa).


Hometown: Managua, Nicaragua

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Pena, V. & Montiel Valle, D. (2022), “Screw the pandemic, I had to show up”: Latino/a Experience and Racial Activism During the COVID-19 Pandemic. U.S. Latino/a Oral History Journal (forthcoming)

Montiel Valle, D. A., & Martin, Z. C. (2021). Entangled with the necropolis: a decolonial feminist analysis of femicide news coverage in Latin America. Feminist Media Studies, 1-16.

Montiel Valle, D. (2021). Unearthing neoliberal multiculturalism in news discourse: politics of indigeneity & ethnic identity in Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 1-15.

Wilner, T., Montiel Valle, D. A., & Masullo, G. M. (2021). “To Me, There’s Always a Bias”: Understanding the Public’s Folk Theories About Journalism. Journalism Studies, 1-17.

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Christian Staal Bruun Overgaard

Freelance journalism (written for Danish magazines, newspapers and websites). Blogging (in Danish). Podcasting (also in Danish).

BSc in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Southern Denmark; MSc in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Southern Denmark. (As part of my MSc, I spent a semester at New Bucks University in England, studying Psychology.)

My research interests lie at the intersection of Journalism and Psychology. I'm interested in how news media influence people. (How does news coverage affect people's attitudes, beliefs and behavior?) I'm especially interested in Constructive Journalism and Solutions Journalism, two journalistic approaches that aim to mitigate the negative bias that pervades modern media.


Hometown: Odense, Denmark

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Joey Stepniewski

Joseph Michael Stepniewski is a Ph.D. candidate in the Moody College of Communication's School of Journalism and Media. His research interests include the role of empathy in combating misinformation and how effective interpersonal methods of fighting misinformation might be translated to a mass audience, as well as how emerging technologies might contribute to the misinformation environment. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Radio & Television with a minor in Psychology (2012) and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication (2015) from Stephen F. Austin State University, where he taught as an adjunct, Visiting Lecturer, and Visiting Assisting Professor in the College of Liberal & Applied Art's Department of Mass Communication from 2016 to 2023. He looks forward to graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2027.  

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João Vicente Seno Ozawa

João Vicente Seno Ozawa is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism. He has an M.S. in Communication Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo (USP), a Lato sensu graduate specialization in Communications (with a concentration in Journalism) from Casper Líbero College, and a B.A. in Communications from the Superior School of Advertising and Marketing (ESPM). His main research interests involve the agenda-setting theory and the role of fake news in shaping public opinion.

He also has been working as a music journalist for the past ten years. He was editor-in-chief and host of the web TV show Estudio Showlivre, a well-known Brazilian music channel, where he interviewed musical acts from all over the globe. 


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Abdul Rahoof Kaliyarakath Kakatharayil

Rahoof is a doctoral student in Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also serving as a Graduate Research Assistant and a Teaching Assistant. His research lies at the intersections of Journalism Studies, Political Communication, and Misinformation.

He is an award-winning journalist with years of newsroom experience in different countries in Asia. He worked as a fact-checker for Agence France Presse (AFP) in Hong Kong, where he was part of a large-scale online verification project commissioned by Meta. He served as a news reporter for a national daily in India. He helped build the environmental magazine and took on the position of Editor-in-Chief during its first year of operation in Hong Kong. He was part of two International Journalism fellowships conducted by the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ) and the World Health Organization (WHO). He won two Journalism awards jointly conferred by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Population First for his investigative stories covering the plight of women cops in India.


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Robert J. Richardson

Hometown:  Birmingham, Alabama

Media Experience:  More than a decade as a reporter and photographer for ABC and CBS affiliates in North Carolina, Alabama, New Mexico, and Oklahoma

Degrees:  Bachelor of Arts - Baylor University; Master of Journalism - University of Maryland

Research Interests:  My primary research interests are issues of diversity and representation in broadcast news presentation and the relationships between audiences and the people they see and hear on-air and online.

Career Goals:  I intend to become a professor upon completion of the doctoral program.

Hobbies:  I watch as many Los Angeles Dodgers games as I can, and I enjoy stand-up comedy and building large LEGO sets.


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André Kupfermann Rodarte

André is a PhD student in the School of Journalism and Media. He holds an MPhil in the Sociology of Media and Culture (St. Edmund's College, University of Cambridge) and an undergraduate degree in Social Communication (ESPM, Brazil). 

At UT Austin, he is a graduate research fellow of the Propaganda Research Team (Center for Media Engagement). His research aims to explore the role of digital media in Brazilian politics, with an empirical focus on how elected politicians use these tools to understand their constituents. 

Prior to his doctoral studies, André has worked for the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy and for the Centre of Governance & Human Rights (both at the University of Cambridge). He also conducted two research projects in Brazil financed by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and by the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).

Emily Rubin

Emily is a Ph.D. student in the school of Journalism and Media Studies. Her research focuses on transnational media flows, female body representation, and women with disabilities. Emily received an MFA in Media Arts from Long Island University, Brooklyn, where her thesis explored the performance personas of female hip-hop DJs (1975 — 1998).  Emily also holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Temple University and a Certificate in Audio Recording from the Institute of Audio Research. 

For over two decades, Emily worked as a DJ and promoter specializing in 20th-century music of the African diaspora, in both analog and digital formats. In that role, she created a series of parties and mixtapes that focused on themes of cultural and artistic continuity and social justice.  

Most recently, she worked as an academic writing tutor at LIU Brooklyn and the City University of New York. In 2018 she served as a Research and Advocacy Intern at UN Women UN Nations System Coordination Division where she compiled research on women and girls with disabilities.

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Dariya Tsyrenzhapova

Dariya Tsyrenzhapova has a BA and an MA from the University of Missouri. She was a Dow Jones Data Journalism Fellow and worked with American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop to analyze campaign finance data for The Accountability Project. She interned at NPR's Investigations Desk in Washington, D.C. While a reporter for the Columbia Missourian, she wrote an investigative series about sex offender registration laws, which was a finalist for an IRE Award in 2018. Dariya spent five years working at the Open Society Foundations in Kazakhstan. For her Ph.D., Dariya is interested in studying the intersection of political communication and Big Data while utilizing computational science to find facts in large-scale data sets.


Hometown: Almaty, Kazakhstan

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Kami Vinton

Kami Vinton is a doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism and Media at the University at Texas at Austin, where she is also a teaching assistant. 
Her research focuses on how the mass media can impact public health behaviors. Her dissertation investigates psychological states and cognitive predispositions that reflect how a population can more likely come to reject science and health news created by journalists.  She is working towards uncovering new techniques that journalists can use to increase the receptivity of audiences who are skeptical of science to reduce the risk of poor personal and community health outcomes. 

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Ryan Wallace

Ryan Wallace is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, he began his research career with a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Irvine. In 2017, he also received an MS in Biotechnology from Cal State University, San Marcos. With a multidisciplinary background, his research interests focus on how science is portrayed in the media, and ways in which researchers and journalists can better work together to convey science to the general public. As a science writer and editor, he has worked with publications like: The Latin Post, The Science Times, and Archaic Press Magazine.

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Josh Wei-Jie Xiao

Josh (Wei-Jie) Xiao is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Firestone Fellow at Aspen Digital Projects (Emerging Tech) and a research affiliate of the Center for Media Engagement (CME) and the Center for Entertainment & Media Industries (CEMI) at UT, where he researches the conjunction of journalism and information technology.

His research is solution-driven and interdisciplinary: he aims to map the crisis facing journalism and seeks to assess potential solutions to the growing threat of (dis)misinformation to democratic societies. Particularly, he examines the evolution of bots from transmitting information to coordinating communication with humans, other bots, and their environment. He also investigates developing blockchain-based solutions (e.g., decentralized identity, trusted data trading, and token-based governance) to communication problems while dissecting the socio-economic dynamics between humans (e.g., technologists, journalists, and business people) and blockchain artifacts.

Prior to his doctoral studies at UT, Josh worked as a digital journalist in non-profit sectors and focused on how technological forces are shaping the business of news and audience engagement. Josh is a recipient of the prestigious scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, for pursuing his Ph.D. program.