Alumni Profiles

Rachel Kinnard (Summer 2016)

I am a Ph.D. student and research assistant in the Communication department at University of Illinois at Chicago. As a doctoral student, I am studying how media shape and interact with various cultural and political environments, with a specific focus on Europe and the Middle East.

Geraud Blanks (Summer 2016)

I am a Ph.D. student in Communications Studies (Rhetoric and Public Culture) at Northwestern University.   My dissertation research explores commemorations of black death as both a compulsory and exploitative praxis of social movement organizing.  Additionally, I am working on research projects about the rhetoric of masculinity and media depictions of gender and race.

Aras Coskuntuncel (Fall 2014)

I am a PhD student and teaching assistant at American University’s School of Communication, where I’m focusing on internet governance, surveillance, digital labor, and the Turkish media environment. Before my master’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Media Studies program, I was the diplomacy and foreign news editor at the Hurriyet Daily News, an English-language newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey. I have presented and published my research in both English and Turkish.

Stephen Kohlmann (Fall 2014)

Beginning in the fall of ’17, I will be a PhD student in Media Arts & Sciences at Indiana University’s Media School. I am interested interrogating notions of taste in popular culture, with an emphasis on how and why certain media texts are perceived as having less cultural value than others.

Christian Moran (Fall 2013)

I manage communications and public affairs for a state representative in the Wisconsin State Legislature and provide communications and policy support to our legislative leadership team. My thesis examined the use of social media by Wisconsin state lawmakers, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. I am a strong believer in the department’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching, as it challenges students to think in new ways and provides a foundation to pursue a range of opportunities after graduation. I encourage anyone interested in a professional or academic career in communications to seriously consider applying to the JAMS graduate program.

Casey Carmody (Summer 2013)

Upon completing my degree at UWM, I moved to the Twin Cities to begin my doctoral studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at the University of Minnesota. I am continuing my research of using social scientific methods to understand media law and ethics. In addition to my studies, I am a teaching assistant as well as a member of the SJMC Graduate Student Organization. I have no doubt that my experiences at UWM, both academically and socially, have prepared me well for my future endeavors in the academic world.

Minchul Kim (Summer 2013)

I am a Ph.D. student at the department of Telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington. As a doctoral student I want to understand how people receive political information from media and translate the information into their opinions. Specifically, I am focusing on the cognitive and emotional processing of political information and the roles that media play in the process.

Tatevik Sargsyan (spring 2012)

Tatevik Sargsyan is a researcher at Ranking Digital Rights, a non-profit research initiative housed at New America’s Open Technology Institute. She holds a Ph.D. from American University’s School of Communication (SOC), where her work focused on privacy and the privatization of digital public sphere. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at American University and teaches courses on digital media culture. Previously, Tatevik served as a Google Policy Fellow at the Global Network Initiative and conducted policy analysis on privacy and freedom of expression. Her work has been published in academic journals such as International Journal of Communication and Internet Policy Review. Tatevik is also a fellow at the Internet Law and Policy Foundry—a collaborative platform for early-career Internet law and policy professionals.

Lawrence Dugan Nichols (Fall 2011)

I am currently a Ph.D. student in Communication at Simon Fraser University (in Burnaby/Vancouver, BC, Canada). I’ve traditionally been interested in cultural Marxism, and I’m currently studying the obstacles that foreclose opportunities for capital to spread and develop. My MA thesis was rooted in Gramscian hegemony—by way of cultural theorist, John Fiske—and examined the struggle over meaning by different segments in our late-capitalist society (conspiracy theorists vs. the state/establishment media). I could not have asked for more supportive faculty members or colleagues in the Media Studies program. Special thanks to those on my committee who helped me get to where I am in academics today.

Aarti Basnyat (Summer 2011)

I work as a Communications Associate with the United Nations University: Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany. As a former journalist I joined UWM to learn more about the theories that I had already put into practice. My Master’s thesis was on “Public Diplomacy and Participatory Culture: The U.S. State Department’s ‘YouTube Democracy Video Challenge’.” My Masters degree and research instilled in me the patience to be more organized and think critically. My thesis is what continually inspires me to actively work in media (in all its forms) and explore its potential. The freedom to explore your interests and the guidance of the professors is what I appreciated the most at JAMS. There were no restrictions on what you could research and no limitations on cutting across genres: everything was encouraged, explored and analyzed.

Stacy Blasiola (Summer 2011)

I focused my studies at UWM on the use of social media by professional journalists, and on the convergence of traditional media platforms and new media. These research interests led me to the new media-focused Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago where I completed my Ph.D. in the Summer of 2017 under the guidance of Zizi Papacharissi. At UIC I took an interest in online privacy, which became my specialization. While there I was awarded a fellowship in a National Science Foundation IGERT program, which allowed me to work with Computer Scientists on issues of privacy. As a Ph.D. student I held internships at Microsoft Research and Facebook, in addition to adjunct teaching at DePaul University and UWM. In the Fall of 2017, I will begin work as a User Experience Researcher at Facebook in Menlo Park, California. I continually find myself thankful for the experiences, support, and education I received at UWM. The emphasis on research and the experience I gained as a T.A. gave me a strong foundation from which to launch my Ph.D. studies.

Wayne Weiai Xu (Summer 2011)

I completed the master’s degree in Media Studies at UW-Milwaukee in summer 2011 and graduated with a Ph.D. in Communication at SUNY-Buffalo. I am currently a tenure track assistant professor in communication at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where I conduct computational research on internet communities and public opinion. UW-Milwaukee provided me with my first glance of life as a media researcher. It is at UWM where I decided to pursue an academic career. I owe UWM my passion for media research.

Yoonmo Sang (Summer 2011)

I earned my master’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where I was able to interact with my wonderful professors and cohort. My experience at UWM enabled me to successfully finish my Ph.D. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. After completing my Ph.D. in August 2015, I joined the faculty of Howard University in January 2016 as an assistant professor in the Department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communication at the Cathy Hughes School of Communications. Before joining the faculty of Howard, I worked for Shinhan Bank in South Korea, the Technology and Information Policy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy in Washington, D.C.

John Vanderhoef (Summer 2010)

I am currently a doctoral student at the University of California-Santa Barbara in the Film and Media Studies Department. At the moment my research interests include identity politics, taste, and power in new media cultures, especially video game culture. My time in the M.A. in Media Studies program at UW-Milwaukee established a solid bedrock of knowledge, theories, friendships, and support that I will use for the rest of my life, both in the academy and otherwise. With the continual inspiration from faculty and colleagues, I was able to generate work that made me a viable candidate in the highly competitive market of Ph.D. programs and landed me a position in the exceptional (not to mention ideally located) Film and Media Studies program at UCSB. I live closer to the ocean than I ever thought I would. Just something to consider.

Eric Lohman (Summer 2010)

After completing my master’s thesis, I went on to a doctoral program in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. There I completed a doctoral research project that focused on the political economy of remote work. After receiving my doctorate, I returned to UWM’s Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies department as a full-time lecturer, where I currently teach a variety of courses, including Gender and the Media, and Principles of Media Studies. My research interests include political economy of media and technology, gender, immaterial labor, and wedding culture.

Melissa Zimdars (Summer 2010)

Melissa Zimdars is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. After completing her M.A. at UWM in 2010, she earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa in 2015. Using an integrated approach to media studies, Zimdars considers the relationships between television texts, society, technology, communication policy, and media industries. She is currently working on a book, titled Watching Our Weights: The Consequences and Contradictions of Televising Fatness in the “Obesity Epidemic,” and her work has appeared in Feminist Media Studies, Popular Communication, Television and New Media, and Flow. After a teaching resource she made went viral, Zimdars also began analyzing fake news and otherwise misleading “news” sources while co-editing a collection of essays entitled Fake News: Mis/Disinformation in the Digital Age.

Patrick Fitzgerald (Spring 2010)

I am a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies in Cardiff, United Kingdom. I have just finished my first year, and am in the process of laying out the theoretical and practical terrain of my dissertation. My general research area is the political role of news media, a topic I explored within a domestic context during my time at UWM. My MA thesis examined the way one news outlet, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Star Tribune, framed political protest during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a doctoral candidate, I am examining how news media outlets in the United Kingdom constructed the Iranian Green Movement as a legitimate political opposition movement during coverage of the post-presidential election protests in Iran from June 12, 2009 to August 5, 2009. The professors at UWM possess the intellect, skill, and patience to help any student excel. If it were not for the guidance I received from the faculty during my time at UWM, I would not be where I am today.

Susie Seidelman (Spring 2010)

Susie Seidelman is the Environment Program Associate at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, where she works to further the Foundation’s commitment to healthy, sustainable environments and local communities. Her degree is surprisingly applicable in these pursuits – she has taken on many communications roles at the Foundation, including managing social media outreach and many other facets of our web presence, and the strong understanding of media communication she built while at UWM impacts many aspects of her work. Her degree helped her stand out in an increasingly competitive job market, ultimately helping her to land a ridiculously sweet job she really enjoys.

James Carviou (Summer 2009)

After completing my M.A. in 2009, I entered the Ph.D. program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. My experience at UWM prepared me for life as an academic. The M.A. classes provided opportunities to explore all areas of media research. UWM’s graduate faculty give beneficial feedback and guide students in the right direction towards their future goals. As a Ph.D. student and a teaching assistant, I find myself continually benefitting from the priceless experiences I had at UWM as a graduate student. My current research focuses on how gender is constructed by the media and the role of the media in identity development.

Martha Boehm (Spring 2009)

I have been Viterbo University’s digital marketing and media specialist since July 2015. My duties include managing Viterbo’s main social media channels, producing videos, telling stories and creating ads in various formats on social, radio, TV, email, and other digital outlets. Before working in marketing, I was an award-winning journalist. I worked as a TV news bureau reporter/videographer for WEAU 13 News and Fox 25/48 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I moved to Madison two years later to work as a TV news producer at WKOW and then I moved back to La Crosse to become WKBT’s internet content coordinator. The job title later changed to digital content manager. I managed WKBT’s social media accounts, website, and mobile app.

Angela McManaman (Spring 2008)

After receiving an undergraduate degree from the department in 2000, I came back as a master’s student in 2005 and found many new faces on the faculty with backgrounds in cultural studies, politics, feminism and new media, which challenged my writing and my perspective. You’ll never watch a commercial or think about gender or observe a presidential campaign in the same way after a semester in Johnston Hall. And the range of students and the student experience at UWM in general is just remarkable. As an editor and project manager for UWM’s communication department I’ve interviewed students who grew up in refugee camps, first-generation college students, alumni working in film and theater and opera, an alumnus who is an Andy Warhol “expert.” I wrote a student profile two years ago, “From Felon to Freshman,” that resulted in a lot of “who wrote this?” phone calls and e-mails from UWM faculty and students (cheers and jeers), and remains one of my favorite examples of the amazing life stories that unfold at UWM. I also advocate for old-fashioned American values like public education, relying heavily on PR writing and public speaking techniques and experiences I picked up in Johnston Hall. I can also tell you that despite any rumors to the contrary, Johnston 317 is not haunted. I had a parapsychologist tour the building as part of a feature-writing assignment several years ago. He thinks Greene Hall hosts more paranormal activity, FYI.

John Bartel (Fall 2008)

While I love to travel, it seems I never really left Milwaukee and UWM, and I’m perfectly happy with that. I received my bachelor’s degree in JMC at UWM in 1974 and then went to work at (what used to be) WEMP Radio-1250 AM, before embarking on a long and rewarding career in public relations at Wisconsin Energy Corp. When my wife came back to UWM to finish her degree in the 2000s, I knew it was time to earn my master’s degree in JMC, which I received in 2008. My “career” at UWM is even stronger now because I work at our alma mater as coordinator of alumni chapters and legislative advocacy efforts for the UWM Alumni Association. I encourage all JMC grads, no matter what your degree, to get active in the new JMC Alumni Chapter. It’s a great way to network and stay active with the Department.

Anthony Marinetti (Summer 2008)

I enrolled in the Media Studies graduate program in 2006; my research interests at the time were online communities, indie culture, and subcultural capital. I was also a Teaching Assistant for the 101 JAMS course while completing my degree. With guidance and support from the outstanding Media Studies faculty, I was able to pursue my research interests, and I completed my thesis in the summer of 2008. After finishing my graduate work, I accepted a full-time position at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. I have been working at Stritch ever since, and I am now the Assistant Director of Academic Support. I also teach on occasion as a member of the Adjunct Faculty (Intro to Grammar & Composition, Applied Study Strategies). I live in Whitefish Bay with my wife, our son Julian, and our dogs. I hope to continue working in higher education, and eventually, I hope to complete my Ph.D. in Media Studies or Mass Communication.

Tim Macafee (Summer 2008)

Tim Macafee is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Concordia University Wisconsin. He teaches journalism, social media and other media writing courses. His research interests include social media’s role in political engagement, and his work is published in scholarly journals and book chapters. Tim is grateful for the Media Studies program for providing a foundation to pursue a career in academia.

Erin Hareng (Fall 2007)

Erin Hareng is the Director of Cancer Fundraising Strategy for Aurora Health Care. Her career has been in the non-profit field, focusing on marketing, strategy and fund raising. She currently serves as a Trustee on the Board for Herzing University; is a Tempo Member and Committee Chair for the Tempo Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Initiative as well as Co-Chair of the Mentor Event, Board Member for Santana Dotson’s 71 Ways Foundation and a member of Professional Dimensions.

Melody Hoffmann (Summer 2007)

After receiving my B.A. and M.A. from the JMC department, I took two years off from graduate school. Thanks to the encouragement and help of my professors in JMC, I was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Communication Studies and completed my doctorate in May 2013. The breadth of courses I took at UW-Milwaukee has given me a very unique perspective into a traditional Communications degree. My academic peers are also quite jealous of the professors I worked with in the JMC department; at the time I did not know I was working with such stars! Getting my Ph.D. at such a large university, I realized how much I missed the small size of UW-Milwaukee and the JMC department. The personalized touch of coursework and advising is something hard to find at a large institution. Even though I am done with my graduate work, I have continued to seek academic advice from the professors I worked with in the JMC department. I am currently a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College–a small liberal arts school.

Paul Wangsvick (Summer 2007)

I decided to attend UWM for my MA in part because I wanted a program that emphasized research with a thesis option. The research and writing skills I developed while at UWM helped to prepare me for further graduate training. I’m now a PhD candidate in rhetoric at the University of Memphis, where many of the skills I developed and acquired at UWM have served me well. Despite changing my research focus between my MA and PhD programs, I have been able to conjoin the quantitative methodology training I received at UWM with the qualitative methodology training I am now pursuing while advancing my own scholarship.