Annenberg Alumni News, Winter 2020

The latest news from Annenberg School graduate alumni.

By Ashton Yount

We love to hear from our alumni! To share your news with us, please click here.


In October 2019, Merry Bloch Jones (M.A.C. ‘72) published her twentieth book, What You Don’t Know, a domestic suspense about a woman whose disturbing past dictates her present and her future. 

Professor of Communication and Media Management at Fordham University, John Carey (Ph.D. ‘76) was an invited speaker at NBCUniversity, a one-day retreat at 30 Rock for senior researchers at NBC. He presented on the implications of the changing media environment for media companies.


Formerly the Dean of Arts and Humanities, Therol Dix (M.A.C. ‘89) was recently named Vice President at Montgomery County College, West Campus. She is leading the growth and development of the campus as well as promoting the college and its programs.


A Comedian and an Activist Walk into a Bar: The Serious Role of Comedy in Social Justice, co-authored by Caty Borum Chattoo (M.A.C. ‘98), Assistant Professor of Communication at American University, will be published in March. The book examines how comedy can serve as a vehicle for social change.


In a Washington Post article, Paul Waldman (Ph.D. ‘00), op-ed columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect, wrote about the circulation of a tragic image and covered Jessica Fishman’s (Ph.D. ‘01) research on death in the media. A senior research investigator at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, Fishman was also quoted in a Politico article.

In December 2019, David Dutwin (Ph.D. ‘02) was named president of strategic initiatives and the chief scientist of AmeriSpeak, the National Opinion Research Center’s (NORC) multi-client, panel-based research platform.

Natalie Jomini Stroud (Ph.D. ‘06), Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas, Austin, recently published an article in Risk Analysis.

Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, Robin Stevens (Ph.D. ‘09) won the Early Career Award from the American Public Health Association’s Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section.

Susana Ramirez (Ph.D. ‘10) was recently promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at the University of California, Merced. She taught “Health and the Media: Transnational Perspectives” at the Universidad Autonoma de México during Fall 2019.

In a New York Times article, Michael Serazio (Ph.D. ‘10), Associate Professor of Communication at Boston College, examined the prevalence of toxic masculinity in football.

Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, C. Riley Snorton (Ph.D. ‘10) was named Occidental College’s 2020 Stafford Ellison Wright Black Alumni Scholar-in-Residence.

In July 2019, Lokman Tsui (Ph.D. ‘10), Assistant Professor of Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was interviewed by Sky News on the Hong Kong protests.


Brooke Erin Duffy (Ph.D. ‘11) received tenure in October 2019 and was promoted to Associate Professor of Communication at Cornell University.

In an MIT Press Reader article, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt (Ph.D. ‘11), Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, highlighted the complex social processes of media projections.

Christopher Ali (Ph.D. ‘12) recently received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.

Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, Aymar Jean Christian (Ph.D. ‘12) was interviewed about the past, present, and future of television on the Creative Next podcast.

In Fall 2019, Michelle Jeong (Ph.D. ‘14) began a position as Assistant Professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health. She also recently received a 5-year K01 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In an NYU Press article, Piotr Szpunar (Ph.D. ‘14) discusses how the language of terrorism influences understandings of what counts as terrorist acts. Szpunar, Assistant Professor of Communication at the University at Albany, SUNY, also published an article in Communication Theory and co-authored a piece in Security Dialogue with Sun-Ha Hong (Ph.D. ‘16), Assistant Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University.

Stella Lee (Ph.D. ‘17) accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Media and Communication at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea.

Joshua Becker (Ph.D. ‘18) accepted a position as Lecturer at the School of Management at University College London in the United Kingdom.

Published in January, Discourses in Action: What Language Enables Us to Do was edited by Professor Emeritus Klaus Krippendorf and Nour Halabi (Ph.D. ‘18), Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds.

Instructor of Communication Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Corrina Laughlin (Ph.D. ‘18) published an article in Feminist Media Studies.

In a New York Times op-ed, Tim Libert (Ph.D. ‘18), core faculty at the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote about the privacy issues of news websites.

Elena Maris (Ph.D. ‘18) accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Communication Department at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Buffalo, Yotam Ophir (Ph.D. ‘18) published an article in the Journal of Health Communication. Ophir also co-authored a paper published in Communication Methods and Measures with Dror Walter (Ph.D. ‘18), Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Georgia State University.

The Philadelphia Inquirer profiled the research of John Vilanova (Ph.D. ‘19), Professor of Practice in Journalism & Communication and Africana Studies at Lehigh University.

Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sijia Yang (Ph.D. ‘19) won an ICA 2020 top four paper award in health communication.

We love to hear from our alumni! To share your news with us, please click here.