2015-2017 FELLOWS

GhanouiSaniya Ghanoui, History Department

Saniya is a media historian researching the social history of sex hygiene films in the United States and Sweden. Her current work looks at how sex hygiene films transitioned from public theaters to schools and issues of censorship, technology, and sexuality; examines the films’ position and status; and explores their place in sex education curricula. Her research is rooted in gender and women’s studies, STS studies, media studies, and visual culture. She graduated with her MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU; her MA in Journalism from Emerson College; and her BA in Communication Arts from Marymount Manhattan College.

Lilah Leopold_cropLilah Leopold, Art History Department

Lilah is curious about how site-specific, permanent, as well as transient artworks, public programs, and interdisciplinary collaboration can serve to archive, transmit, and generate discussion of rapidly changing climates, especially in the polar regions. These interests grew out of internships with Artpace San Antonio and the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX, and with Sternberg Press in Berlin, Germany; as well as through educational programs in Iceland and Norway. She received her BA in Studio Art and the History of Art and Architecture from Middlebury College, VT.

unnamedGabe Malo, Institute of Communications Research

Gabe is interested in internet studies – specifically, in the subcultures, and methods of dissent and discourse that form within online spaces. Their focus centers around online communities (Reddit and 4chan), virtual worlds (Second Life), and trolling. Other research concerns include the design and power of infrastructure and interfaces, queer theory, and representation in computer gaming. Gabe holds a Master’s of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, and studied English literature and creative writing at Valparaiso University.


BlankFemaleAnna Robb, Department of English

Anna Robb is a doctoral student in the department of English, studying 19th- and 20th-century American literature and feminist science studies. In her research, she explores the intellectual and ideological common ground between American literary naturalism and turn-of-the-century public health initiatives, and is interested in how each of these writing traditions makes discursive use of female bodies, especially in institutional settings. Before enrolling at UIUC, Anna studied creative writing, rhetoric, and literature at Missouri State University.

amc bioElizabeth Simpson, Institute of Communications Research

elizaBeth studies the dynamics of collaboration, participation, responsibility, and agency, especially as they intersect with cultural work. Her current research interests include the inequity of participation in small groups based on verbal competence and the counteractive use of extra-talking methods such as applied theater, with particular emphasis on restorative justice settings. elizaBeth has been a facilitator and consultant for grassroots social justice organizations for over 16 years, and is also a performance and multimedia artist who specializes in collaborative projects with people who would not call themselves “creative.”

StricklandBeth Strickland, Graduate School of Information Sciences

Beth Strickland is a doctoral student in the department of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. Her research primarily focuses on the social construction of technology and the role of interfaces in their various forms. Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives and methods from internet studies, science and technology studies, and feminist theory, she considers the information behaviors of people as they navigate an increasingly wired/wireless world. Beth’s current research projects examines the intersection of humans and machines with a particular emphasis on interfaces and the (cyborg) body as a digitized information resource. Before coming to the iSchool at Illinois, she worked for many years as the Women’s Studies Librarian at the University of Michigan and served in many leadership roles for the Women and Gender Studies Section of the Association of College & Research Libraries. Beth received her MLIS with a concentration in library and information resource technology from the University of Denver, her MA in women’s studies from San Diego State University, and her BA in women’s studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

WorkmanH - SeeingSystemsWebsiteHallie Workman, Department of Communication

Hallie is a PhD student studying organizational communication. Her research interests include hidden organizations and communities, secrecy, visibility, and obfuscation. Recently, her work has focused on how hidden organizations react to sudden and unwanted visibility. Some of her previous research projects examined the use of video games to create health behavior change, online gaming communities, and how women create safe spaces online. Hallie holds a BS and MS in Strategic Communication from Texas Christian University with an emphasis in advertising and public relations. While pursuing her previous degrees, she worked for various political campaigns as well as art- and education-focused nonprofit organizations throughout North Texas.


atienza2Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza, Department of Anthropology

Paul Michael (Mike) Leonardo Atienza is a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology with a graduate certificate in gender and Women’s Studies. Drawing on transdisciplinary perspectives, methods, and practices from feminist approaches and queer of color cultural critique, he considers the online and offline experiences of gay Filipinos looking for intimate connections in and between Manila and Los Angeles on mobile phone dating apps. His multi-sited ethnography investigates how transnational relationships of technology and intimacy shape and configure people’s notions of time and space, emotional attachments, self-presentation, and concepts of difference such as race, class, sex, and gender. His study demonstrates how app technology’s promise of immediate and limitless connection give way to strained aspirations, normative orders, and survival strategies. Before coming to Urbana-Champaign, he worked for many years as an academic advisor at the University of California, Riverside and served in leadership roles for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Student Academic Affairs Office, the program in Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual, and Performance, and the UCR LGBITQ community. Mike received his MA in Southeast Asian Studies and BA degrees in music and English from the University of California, Riverside.

cooper-krystal-2009Krystal Cooper, Graduate School of Information Sciences

Krystal Cooper is pursuing her interests in digital humanities, analytics, and archiving as a master’s student at GSLIS and as a graduate assistant with the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS). She also is broadening her educational scope through participation in scholars programs of various multidisciplinary organizations, and has participated in the Computing Research Association: Women’s 2016 Grad Cohort Workshop, the goal of which is to prepare female graduate students for leadership roles in fields related to computing through mentoring and community building.

John Wesley Jones, College of Education. Bio forthcoming.

coloradio_kinyettaKinyetta Nance, Graduate School of Information Sciences

My research focus is on the social design of technical systems (mobile and web applications) for diverse user groups which embodies both interaction design as well as user experience. My research utilizes Design Thinking (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test) as a method to approach the complex problems encountered during the product development and user acquisition phase. My passion is connecting people with information and building models and systems that help connect people with information that fulfills their information seeking needs. Holistically my research aims to understand how user experience impacts the overall goals and missions of an organization. See more at

thomer-web4Andrea Thomer, Graduate School of Information Sciences

My research in information science is hugely influenced by my prior work as an excavator of ice age fossils at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. Thus, my interests include biodiversity and natural history museum informatics; long-term data and database curation, particularly in a research or museum setting; and bridging gaps between biology, geology, and informatics.



2013-2015 Fellows

Jessie Lan0730141013a - Copydau
PhD program, Art History, School of Art and Design
College of Fine and Applied Arts

Jessie Landau’s research interests are late 19th- and early 20th-century depictions of hunting, natural history, and the American West.  She approaches these representations through discourses of environmentalism, the end of nature, as well as indigenous critical theory.  Jessie is an assistant curator at The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, WY, an art museum and historic ranch house.  In 2011, Jessie received her MLitt, with Merit, in the History of Art and Art World Practice, from the University of Glasgow through Christie’s Education, London. There, she studied the use of taxidermy as an imperial symbol in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. In 2009 Jessie graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton College, MA, with a BA in Religion and Studio Art. At Wheaton Jessie was also a four year member of the Division III top 25 nationally ranked women’s soccer team.

Fabian Prieto-Nanez
PhD program, Institute of Communications Research
College of Media

Fabian Prieto-Nanez is a second-year doctoral student in Communication and Media. He’s also a HASTAC scholar for 2014-2015. After he finished my history degree, he worked on designing databases for anthropological and historical research. He turned to communication studies to research the online practices of software developers and teachers who participated in the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) deployments in Latin America. Before coming to the US, He conducted a research on the history of Computer Science at Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. He is currently interested in Technology designs for the Global South, and, especially, in everyday practices of technological use and design, and its negotiations with the increasing number of initiatives under global design.

prutzerNed Prutzer
PhD program, Institute of Communications Research
College of Media

Ned Prutzer is a PhD student in Communications and Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Master’s degree in Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown University and received his Bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies with a minor in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on the intersections of new media and cultural memory in relation to conceptualizations of art, knowledge, and resistance. His current research projects situate locative art in a larger body of critical theory through ideological critique and cultural semiotics, but his other research interests include technology and the political economy; data visualization; STS and controversy studies; virtual communities; and online identities.

robinsonJessica Robinson
PhD program, Department of Education Policy, Leadership and Organizational Leadership
College of Education

Jessica L. Robinson is a lover and fighter from the Midwest (Chicago by away St. Louis). From the age of 14, she had worked as a reproductive justice community worker in various capacities.  Her current research interests include cultural politics and representation in digital spaces, performance studies, reproductive justice, girls’ studies, and community organizing. Currently, Jessica is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Education Policy, Leadership and Organizational Leadership and works with the SOLHOT organizing collective.

10336780_732485062051_5446830699711839778_nMelissa Seifert
PhD program, Art History, School of Art and Design
College of Fine and Applied Arts

Melissa completed her Undergraduate degree at Minnesota State University – Mankato in 2009 where she received a double BA in Art History and Studio Art. After interning briefly at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, she pursued her MA at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in Art History. Her research interests are rooted in contemporary non-traditional art forms where she explores the visual politics and spatialities of socially engaged art. She is interested in the ways in which capitalism, globalization, and neoliberal paradigms inform visual culture.  Within this frame, she studies the aesthetics of handmade material objects, including the signs created by homeless folks and social movement activists, as they function in varying real and digital spaces.

VNikki Weickum
PhD program, Department of Communication
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Nikki Weickum is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois with interdisciplinary interests in rhetorical theory and criticism, media studies, and democratic theory. She recently completed her Masters in English at North Carolina State University where she focused on the role of rhetoric in dominant modes of political discourse, but also the ways that protest movements, both online and off, might offer alternative rhetorical strategies and democratic practices. Her research focuses the ways that traditional rhetorical theory and criticism can speak to emerging digital practices of civic engagement, focusing on the theoretical possibilities and limitations of digital media within these arenas.

Paul McKean
PhD program, Department of Communication
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Paul studies rhetoric, Congressional public address, and political communication. His research examines the ways in which public policy rhetoric creates, shapes, and makes visible relationships between the government and the governed. He has written about Congressional and presidential discourse surrounding the Freedom of Information Act, and has examined the Obama Administration’s use of interactive digital data visualizations in the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Paul received his M.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a B.A. in Rhetoric and Media Studies from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Paul also spent a semester studying Politics and Government in Washington, D.C. as part of American University’s Washington Semester Program.

palmaKarla Palma
PhD program, Institute of Communications Research
College of Media

Karla Palma is a doctoral student of Media and Communications in the University of Illinois. She is also a journalist from the Universidad de La Frontera in Chile with a specialization in Human Rights and Public Policies. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Melton Foundation and a Fulbright scholar. Currently, she teaches Introduction to Latin America and Caribbean at the University of Illinois. As part of Karla’s research project, she is studying sustainability initiatives fostered by mining companies in the Chilean Andes,  the resultant impact on the surrounding community and the implications for sustainable global development. Karla has worked with different NGOs in Chile, and has experience in the development of communication strategies for resistance of communities affected by the violation of their rights, the development of community media, and methodologies of participatory research.

bettiviaRhiannon Bettivia
PhD program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Rhiannon studies digital preservation with a particular focus on film, games, and time based media art. Her work looks at bounding contextual information for media objects and documenting properties that are not intrinsic to an object’s code but still essential to long-term understanding. Her research looks critically at the development of new archival practice and uses discourse analysis and theories about the social construction of technologies to examine social and political implications of digital preservation tools. Her dissertation research investigates the role of the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model in archival discourse through interviews with its users and creators. Rhiannon received her undergraduate degree in philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University; her masters in education at Pace University; and she studied in the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), where she also teaches Digital Preservation (LIS586).

2013-2015 Affilates

Rhiannon Bettivia
Jessica Robinson
Elizabeth Simpson