Meet this year’s incoming students

Meet our newest students, who began pursuing graduate degrees in fall 2015. 

Tyler Andrews

  • Degree:  Master of Science
  • Area of study:  Design and production

Before returning to school at IU, I worked as a professional musician and audio engineer in Los Angeles.  I am now employed at IU Radio and Television Services as an audio engineer.  My return to academia was motivated by a desire to be among the best in my field and to continue my education.

IU has not only the right programs, but also the right academic atmosphere to help me do these things.

Pietro Calautti (Courtesy photo)

Pietro Calautti (Courtesy photo)

Pietro Calautti

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Mass communication

When I decided where to apply, I made the choice to apply only to schools that were recognized as the top of the field.  I wasn’t going to make any half-hearted attempts at this and apply somewhere I didn’t want to go.  After careful consideration, IU seemed the best choice for me to make.

I enjoy cooking and weightlifting, and I hope to become a professor one day.

Megan Connor

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Media industry, gender studies

I earned my bachelor’s degree in English, and communication and culture, with a minor in folklore, from Indiana University. I went on to an master’s in media studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where my research focused on contemporary media franchises that target teen girls. As a proud Hoosier, I’m very excited to return to Bloomington and take advantage of the exciting new Media School and Ph.D. program.

With my degree, I hope to come to a deeper understanding of contemporary media industries, focusing on new media and feminist studies, and then to share my knowledge by teaching students about how media affects their everyday lives.

etem-webJulide Etem

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Social issues reflected in media

I’d like to combine anthropological research methods with filmmaking to examine how global culture flows effect these social issues. I am excited about joining the Media School as preparation for an academic career complemented by filmmaking.

I am a cinephile. I have made several documentaries to explore the social issues around me, including segregation and alienation in urban landscapes, education and immigration, and Turkish politics. After living in Turkey, Italy and the U.S., I appreciate a good cup of coffee. Come join me.

niki-fritz-webNiki Fritz

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Sexual socialization through media

When studying sexually explicit media and sexuality, there is no place better than IU and the Kinsey Institute. I am impressed by all the interdisciplinary work between different departments and Kinsey. It’s been a great two years of graduate school, and I’m looking forward to a few more.

I love to teach. I get inspiration for future projects from students and I feel more connected to my work. Ideally I would also like to continue to write, publishing books and popular articles for a more general audience. I believe it is important that our research reaches beyond academia.

ruofan-gu-webRuofan Gu

  • Degree: Master of Science
  • Area of study: Media production 

I am very interested in learning special editing techniques, and I like to work on projects with other smart production people, learning from them.

I wish to be a multimedia producer or editor after graduation, using my range of production and design skills to create unique multimedia projects. Later in my career, I also dream of opening my own digital media studio to bring the newest technology and unique perspective to the world.

Jingjing Han (Courtesy photo)

Jingjing Han (Courtesy photo)

Jingjing Han

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Communications theory

I’ve been passionate about applying the dynamic systems theory in communication science, and I would like to explore that in my doctoral studies. I want to keep working in the academic area and keep making contributions to current knowledge of communication.

I chose IU because of its great professors and students, as well as Bloomington’s beautiful fall and spring seasons!

Steffie Kim (Courtesy photo)

Steffie Kim (Courtesy photo)

Steffie Kim

  • Degree: Master of Arts
  • Area of study:  Information security

I originally majored in linguistics in my undergraduate, which introduced me to cultural studies and gradually guided me to media studies. I aim to become a researcher and expert in information security, provide regulatory oversight and guide society on cyber awareness in an increasingly techno-global world.

At SNU Asia Center, which focuses on Asian society and culture, I was a research assistant studying K-pop. I do ballet as a serious hobby, stimulating my interest in the study of visual and artistic communication.

Yeweon KimYeweon Kim

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of Study: Usage and implications of new digital media

I’d like to accomplish my long-term goal to be a productive scholar, along with my creative works as a writer. I firmly believe that the unparalleled opportunities at IU will allow me to reach my dream.

I worked as a copywriter for a digital marketing company, then pursued a master’s degree. I participated in making short films as a screenwriter before graduation and still enjoy it a lot. This added to my understanding of human interactions and communication processes.

Jooyeon Lee (Courtesy photo)

Jooyeon Lee (Courtesy photo)

Jooyeon Lee

  • Degree: Master of Arts
  • Area of study:  Public relations

My undergraduate major is in business administrations, but I want to be a communications professional. I’m especially interested in marketing and public relations. I worked for Samsung electronics for more than 10 years, and I worked in the marketing and PR fields for visual display products and business to business communication.

Kees Luyendijk (Courtesy photo)

Kees Luyendijk (Courtesy photo)

Kees “Case” Lyendijk

  • Degree: Master of Science
  • Area of study: Game design and production

I am fascinated by games, specifically how they can challenge the mind, bring people together, open new ways of thinking and create delight. In five years, I plan to return to the video game industry as a systems designer or producer, and in 10 years, I plan to serve as a mentor or instructor for the next generation of design students.

In addition to being part of the Big 10 university, having a strong program and being located on a beautiful campus, The Media School’s formation of an undergraduate game design program is something I want to contribute to and watch grow.

James Nagler (Courtesy photo)

Jim Nagler (Courtesy photo)

Jim Nagler

Degree: Master of Arts

An area studies background at IU revealed new avenues for pursuing research at the Media School.  I am eager to continue working closely with the diverse and intrepid faculty. 

I would like to teach at the college level, either in the U.S. or China. I interned at a digital animation company in western China and was responsible for translating business communications as well as phone apps and advertisements.

new-grad-partain-webLaura Partain

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Globalization, political movement formation and visual culture

My research primarily focuses on the countries of Lebanon and Iran, including the refugee communities residing in Lebanon. I study religious, gendered and nationalist identity during times of political conflict, particularly looking at how these identities interact with the formation of resistance movements.

I am interested in exploring how resistance groups utilize various forms of communicative practices and media to build a movement, how these groups represent themselves, their use of visual culture, and the interaction and solidarity between resistance groups as well as resistance groups and a wider audience.

My research will draw from both the mass communication and media disciplines. IU has an excellent reputation for its globalization research, something that is absolutely necessary for my work in the Middle East.

pallavi-rao-webPallavi Rao

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Cultural studies, globalization and feminism

With my teaching background in journalism and communication studies, I was looking for a graduate program that allowed me to expand my research. The new Media School merges several interrelated disciplines in media studies, allowing for greater diversity in research and learning, and also emphasizing the scholarly research environment of IU. Additionally, the school’s rich array of courses and specializations are extremely tempting for a potential grad student to explore and experiment with newer areas of study. 

Chris Rice (Courtesy photo)

Chris Rice (Courtesy photo)

Chris Rice

  • Degree: Master of Public Administration, Master of Arts
  • Area of study: Communications, international development and human rights

I went to IU for my undergraduate degree, because it is a great school and close to home. I pursued a master’s degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs last year and became interested in the dual degree program with Journalism.

I have always loved writing and photography, and it’s never too late to try something new. This past year at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, I collaborated with the communications department in both establishing and utilizing a system for the monitoring and evaluation of our programs. I’d like to work in communications for an internationally-oriented, non-governmental organization focused on international development, human rights or post-conflict reconstruction.


Joseph Roskos (Courtesy photo)

Joseph Roskos

  • Degree: Master of Arts
  • Area of study: Media

I decided to come to IU for several reasons. The program and faculty are impressive, and I think it will be a good intellectual environment for me to narrow my research focuses and assist me in placing them within manageable frameworks, which will make me a better scholar and teacher.

Ideally, I would like to earn a doctorate, though education is not a one-way street, rather it is a journey that can lead in different directions. I would like to become a college professor, but I anticipate my future goals being influenced by my enrollment at IU.

Jacques Rozier (Courtesy photo)

Jacques Rozier (Courtesy photo)

Jacques Rozier

  • Degree: Master of Arts
  • Area of study: Sports journalism

My main career goal is to report and do play-by-play for college sports.  I am a sports guy, but I love the stories and histories generated by college sports.  I also want to find a lot of the hidden storylines in covering college sports outside of the athletic activity.

I have always had a place in my heart for IU, stemming from the days when Bob Knight roamed Bloomington.  I felt it was the perfect place to learn about covering sports, because it is a program with rich traditions in many sports and a long history in the Big Ten conference.  Working with the NCAA offices in Indianapolis is also a great benefit to entering this program, and I am looking forward to unmatched learning experiences and opportunities while studying at IU.

SarriaLucía Cores Sarría

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Cognitive media studies

I like stories: listening, reading and watching them just as much as telling them myself. I’m interested in using scientific methods for exploring humanistic questions. Running experiments where I have to film my own stimuli is my strategic plan to combine the academia with storytelling.

I chose this program because of its interdisciplinary approach. It’s a great opportunity to receive an education both in media studies and cognitive science.

While my aim is to become a professor and a researcher, I would also like to do some literary or screenplay writing. If it’ll be professionally or only in my free time, I don’t know yet.

josh-sites-webJosh Sites

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Cognition of mediated music

After I finished my undergrad at Middle Tennessee State University in 2009, with a degree in recording industry (production and technology), I worked in the industry for a few years before realizing I wanted to go a different direction. I wanted to pursue my true passion: education.

The strength of the faculty, lab culture and the teaching opportunites are what drew me to IU. I’d like to one day be a professor in a department with both research and content creation, ideally somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

strattonNicholas “Cole” Stratton

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Evolution of new media technology

IU’s great media scholars and reputation caught my eye. The disciplinary convergence of media-related programs into The Media School and the opportunities for innovative approaches to media studies this opens up are reasons I applied to the program. The natural beauty of southern Indiana ensured my decision to attend.

I have a great passion for reading about, thinking about and talking about media technology and its place within society, and this makes the academic life very appealing. I hope to follow my passion to a career as a college professor. But anything is possible.

rebecca-thomas-webRebecca Thomas

  • Degree: Master of Arts
  • Area of study: Journalism

Journalism is a tool that I plan to use to accomplish a broader goal of contributing to the advancement of social justice. I am interested in both traditional print journalism as well as public radio; I would like to explore the many options available through the Media School at IU.

Until recently, my life was heavily influenced by Christian faith. Although I no longer consider faith to be a defining part of my identity, I am interested in the intersection of religion and culture. I enjoy sci-fi movies and shows, and I like being part of fan communities that dissect pop culture

Jessica Tompkins (Courtesy photo)

Jessica Tompkins (Courtesy photo)

Jessica Tompkins

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Communication science, game design and production

I am an avid video gamer, and the hobby fuels my passion to study games and similar media. I enjoy writing, being creative and traveling. I consider writing and designing studies a creative and fulfilling enterprise. My goal is to receive a Ph.D. in communication science with a focus on interactive media. I want to write a book on the synthesis of video game studies, research and design.

IU is a research university with an excellent reputation for producing top-quality scholarship. The Media School offers an exciting opportunity to pursue multidisciplinary research in regards to media and communication.

xia-zheng-webXia Zheng

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Area of study: Human-centered communications system

I majored in journalism during undergraduate studies and earned my master’s degree in communication. While doing research concerning the humanistic and historical aspects of media, I was fascinated by the underlying mechanisms and want to  more fully understand human communication behavior.