Annenberg Alumni News, Spring 2019

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Ahmed Mesbah (M.A.C. ’64) is working on a book which will compare the socio-economic and political environments of the 1950’s and 1960’s with the current moment.

Stephen Nevas (M.A.C. ’64) is co-chairman of the Media and Law Section of the Connecticut Bar.


Pedal Culture program coverRonald Light (1972-1973) curated an exhibit entitled “PedalCulture: The Guitar Effects Pedal as Cultural Artifact” at San Francisco State University.

Professor of Communications and Media Management at Fordham University, John Carey (Ph.D. ’76) participated in the opening of the Media Majlis, a museum devoted to media in the Middle East. The museum is located in Doha, Qatar, and Carey is on the Advisory Board.


Laura Kutnick (M.A.C. ’80) is the President of the Dale and Laura Kutnick Foundation and an Executive Board Member of the Greenwich International Film Festival. In addition, she has performed a dramatic reading of letters from the Cuban Missile Crisis at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven.

Brian Rusted (M.A.C. '80) has renewed his position as Head of the University of Calgary's Department of Art for a second term. In addition, he recently co-curated Refocus Foothills, an exhibition of nearly 100 years of western art along Alberta's foothills region.

Bill BoggsThe Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog, a comic novel by Bill Boggs (M.A.C. ’81, pictured left), has been picked up by Post Hill and will be published next year.

In 2017, Maria Dandola Dwyer (M.A.C. ’81) earned a doctorate in Communication from Rutgers University.

Michael Gyory (M.A.C. ’81) will be presenting “The Significant Seven,” a story of his father’s family — seven first cousins who all survived the Holocaust, at the 2019 International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Assistant Professor of Mass Communications at Barton College in North Carolina, Blaise Noto (M.A.C. ’85) is the chairman of the Chapel Hill Penn Alumni Interview Committee.


Amy Jordan (Ph.D. ‘90), Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, and Robin Stevens (Ph.D. ‘09), Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, recently received a grant from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study the ambivalence about the healthfulness of sports and energy drinks among adolescents and analyze the media environment that perpetuates such confusion.

Karin Gwinn WilkinsKarin Gwinn Wilkins (Ph.D. ’91, pictured right) has been appointed Dean of the School of Communication at the University of Miami. She will begin her tenure on September 1.

An IT consultant and tech journalist, Jeff Porten (1992-1993) recently published Take Control of Your Productivity. He is also the Chair of Student Pugwash USA, an educational nonprofit promoting presentation, discussion, and activism regarding ethical issues in science and technology.

Michael Baron (M.A.C. ’94) is Senior Instructor at Cornell University and Doctoral Candidate in Leadership and Learning Organizations at Vanderbilt University.

Adrienne Schwartz Becker (M.A.C. ’94) won a Tony Award as CEO and co-founder of Level Forward. She co-produced and invested in the show and launched it as the first gun neutral Broadway production.

Bryon ColbyBryon Colby (M.A.C. ’95, pictured left) has been named Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Purchasing Power, LLC, based in Atlanta. In this role, he will be leveraging data to drive insights and overseeing all digital platforms, as well as marketing and public relations.

Formerly Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez’s Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff, Douglas Rivlin (M.A.C. ’95) is now the Director of Communications for the pro-immigration advocacy group America’s Voice.

Emory Woodard (Ph.D. ’98) was appointed Dean of Graduate Studies at Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He began his term in June 2019.


PhD students with Paul WaldmanProfessor Kathleen Hall Jamieson traveled with doctoral students in her COMM 710: Rhetorical Criticism course for a daylong series of meetings in Washington, D.C. Among others, the students got to pick the brains of two Annenberg alumni: Paul Waldman (Ph.D. ’00, pictured right), an opinion writer for The Washington Post and senior writer at The American Prospect, and Alex Slater (M.A.C. ’03), founder and chief strategy officer for the Clyde Group.

Jessica Fishman (Ph.D. ’01), Faculty Research Associate at the Annenberg School, was interviewed in a video entitled “Are Violent News Images Necessary?” by TRT World.

On June 8, Ron Nirenberg (M.A.C. ‘01) was re-elected to his second term as Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He has served as mayor of the seventh largest city in the United States since 2017.

Currently the director of the Science in the Public Sphere program at RTI International, Brian Southwell (Ph.D. ’02) has been busy speaking with groups about misinformation related to health and science, including at events in Baltimore; New York City; Perth, Australia; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

From News to Talk book coverIn November 2018, Amy Branner (Ph.D. ’05) was voted on to the Board of Directors for the To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation in Marin County, CA. She will oversee data driven fundraising strategy and execution.

There are now two Annenberg alums at the University of Minnesota's Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication: Matt Carlson (Ph.D. '07) and Rebekah Nagler (Ph.D. '10), both associate professors.

Kimberly Meltzer (Ph.D. ’07), Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Marymount University, recently published From News to Talk: The Expansion of Opinion and Commentary in U.S. Journalism (SUNY Press). She will have an author event at APSA in Washington, D.C. in August and at the Penn Bookstore on September 13.

Robin Stevens (Ph.D. ‘09) — See entry above, under 1990-1999.


Associate Professor at the University of Washington Bothell, Daniel Berger (Ph.D. ’10) launched the Washington Prison History Project, a digital archive of prisoner activism and prison policy in the era of mass incarceration. He also published Rethinking the American Prison Movement (Routledge).

Rebekah Nagler (Ph.D. '10) — See entry above, under 2000-2009.

The Power of Sports book coverMichael Serazio (Ph.D. ’10), Associate Professor at Boston College, published his second book The Power of Sports: Media and Spectacle in American Culture (NYU Press).

C. Riley Snorton (Ph.D. ’10), Associate Professor at Cornell University, was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction, the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize, and the American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in Nonfiction, all for Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (University of Minnesota Press).

Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lokman Tsui (Ph.D. ’10) was quoted in the New York Times article “Chinese Cyberattack Hits Telegram, App Used by Hong Kong Protesters,” and interviewed on Sky News.

Christopher Finlay (Ph.D. ’11) was awarded a research fellowship from the Center for Asian Business. In addition, Finlay contributed an op-ed style article to LMU Magazine.

Aymar Jean Christian (Ph.D. ’12) received tenure at Northwestern University. He also published an article in Critical Studies in Television.

Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, Christopher Ali (Ph.D. ’13) wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “We Need a National Rural Broadband Plan.”

Khadijah White (Ph.D. ’13), Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, published The Branding of Right-Wing Activism (Oxford University Press).

In addition, Ali and White were invited panelists at the launch of the Media, Inequality and Change (MIC) Center.

The Identity Trade book coverNora Draper (Ph.D. ’14), Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire, published The Identity Trade: Selling Privacy and Reputation Online (NYU Press).

Assistant Professor at the University of Albany SUNY, Piotr Szpunar (Ph.D. ’14) published Homegrown: Identity and Difference in the American War on Terror (NYU Press) and gave a book talk at the Penn Bookstore.

The Annenberg School named Jin Woo Kim (Ph.D. ’16) as a George Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellow for 2019-2021.

Sandra Ristovska (Ph.D ‘16), Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, published the edited volume Visual Imagery and Human Rights Practice (Palgrave MacMillan) with Professor Monroe Price.

Assistant Professor at the University of California Davis, Jingwen Zhang (Ph.D. ’16) published an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Rowan Howard Williams (Ph.D. ’17), Communications Strategy Advisor at the Global Diversity Foundation, contributed an essay to CARGC Briefs Volume 1: ISIS Media.

A postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, Joshua Becker (Ph.D. ’18) published an article in PNAS.

Elissa KranzlerElissa Kranzler (Ph.D. ’18, pictured right), a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, published an editorial article in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Lee McGuigan (Ph.D. ’18) was a lecturer at the Annenberg School in the Spring semester and published an article in New Media & Society.

Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Yotam Ophir (Ph.D. ’18) accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Buffalo beginning this Fall and published an article in the Journal of Communication.

Aaron Shapiro (Ph.D. ’18) accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina beginning in July 2020 and authored a research report for the MIC Center.

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