Graduate Alumni Profiles


Monica Cornejo

Assistant Professor in Interpersonal Communication in the Department of Communication at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Cornejo’s research uses qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine the structural barriers that lead to inequities among undocumented immigrants, how undocumented immigrants draw on communication identity management and advocacy strategies to challenge those barriers, and how those strategies relate to undocumented immigrants’ health and wellbeing.

Her research has been published in leading journals in the field of Communication such as Journal of Communication, Health Communication, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Journal of Applied Communication Research. In addition to publishing in flagship and top tier journals in and outside the field of Communication (e.g., Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology), Dr. Cornejo has received a top paper award from the Interpersonal Communication Division at the International Communication Association and another one from the Health Communication Division at the National Communication Association. As a doctoral student, Dr. Cornejo received 12 different funding opportunities (e.g., grants, scholarships, fellowships), totaling $104,000.

Matt Giles

LEW Zi Jian

Assistant Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Dr. Lew Zi Jian (Zijian) is an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Among other areas, his research deals with self-effects via social media, or how the sending of messages can influence the message senders themselves.

Debora D. Pérez Torres

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, California State University, San Bernardino

Dr. Debora Pérez Torres (She/Her/Ella) is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the California State University, San Bernardino. She holds a BA in Journalism and Media Studies from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), an M.A. in Communication from the University of Utah, and a PhD from UCSB. Her research focuses on emotion, social identity, and media effects, particularly in the context of minority populations, namely Latinos. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, and Media Psychology. She teaches courses on strategic communication, media effects, global communication, organizational communication, and research methods. She lives in Oakland with her marvelous husband Dr. Ben K. Smith and delightful daughter Olivia J. Smith.


Camille G. Endacott

Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Camille received her Ph.D. from the Department of Communication in 2021. She is currently an assistant professor in communication studies and organizational science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research focuses on how people construct their identities at work, especially with and around emerging technologies. She primarily uses qualitative and field-based research methods. Dr. Endacott has published her research in outlets such as Communication Research, Management Communication Quarterly, and Communication Studies. Her work has received recognition from the Academy of Management, International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, and the Western States Communication Association. She and co-author Paul Leonardi won a top student-led paper award at the OCIS division of the Academy of Management for "Identity-Based Motivations for Providing the Unpaid Labor That Makes AI Technologies Work”.

Afsoon Hansia

Researcher, OMNI Institute, Denver, CO

Afsoon currently works as a researcher at the OMNI Institute, a public health consultancy agency based in Denver, Colorado. Her research focus revolves primarily around community health and behavioral health areas, supporting projects that revolve around HIV prevention and evaluation, substance use treatment programs, and homelessness through her expertise in quantitative data analysis. Afsoon has long been interested in public health issues, focusing on the cognitive triggers of intimate partner violence for her dissertation.

Frederic Hopp

Assistant Professor, Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Frederic is currently Assistant Professor in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam. His research leverages brain imaging, computational methods, and behavioral experiments to investigate how humans create, process, and respond to moralized messages. Frederic’s research has appeared in Journal of CommunicationCommunication Monographs, Behavior Research Methods, and other top journals in communication, media, and psychology research.

Gavin Kirkwood

Technology Consultant

Gavin is based out of the Washington Metro Area (WMA) and researches the impact of emerging technologies for a variety of stakeholders. Gavin has special expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), algorithmic managers, and exoskeletons designed for industrial and manufacturing industries. His work can be found in publications including Frontiers in Psychology, Communication and Social Media, and Communication Studies.

Chelsea Lonergan

Chelsea’s main research interests are in Media Neuroscience, Media Effects, Video Games, Sex and Gender. Her undergraduate research focused on the video game preferences of females in relation to their spatial ability as well as the video games’ gender themes and spatial demands.

Roselia Mendez Murillo

Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin

Roselia conducts culturally-grounded, communication research that can enhance minoritized communities’ academic, relational, and mental wellbeing. She has studied the ways in which family members and mono-English speakers communicate support to Latinx language brokers. She is also further exploring the experiences of separated Latinx immigrant families who have undergone stepwise migration. Ultimately, her goal is to uncover assets and resources at multiple levels (e.g., intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, institutional, and policy) that can reduce academic and health inequities among Latinx communities in the United States.

Yoo Ri Yang

Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Technology Management Program at UCSB

Before coming to UCSB for her MA and PhD, Yoori earned her Bachelor's Degree in Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, and worked as a market researcher/analyst in the marketing department of IBM in Seoul, South Korea. Her research primarily focuses on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the context of globalization and digital ubiquity. Specifically, her interests are in understanding institutions and pressures created by global civil society organizations and NGOs that shape global CSR practices in multi-national corporations and correct corporate irresponsibility. By integrating institutional perspective, she explores communicative practices of civil societies and NGOs in their digital networks, to develop macro-level understanding of how CSR is enacted and practiced transnationally. Many of her research address issues in South Korean context. Her other interests are social movements, collective action and connective action in digital social media.


Jacob T. Fisher

Assistant Professor, College of Media, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jacob Fisher received his Ph.D. from the Department of Communication in 2020 (M.A. Texas Tech University). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research leverages brain imaging, computational methods, and behavioral experiments to investigate how the design of digital technologies influences our attention and self-control. Jacob’s research has appeared in Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, Behavior Research Methods, and other top journals in communication, media, and psychology research.


Avigail McClelland-Cohen

Social Science & Humanities Teacher, The Buckley School - Los Angeles, California

Avi McClelland-Cohen’s research focused on organizational communication in the realm of grassroots political organizing. Specific topics included the communicative constitution of constituent-based civic organizations and the negotiation of shared identities among networked groups of social movement activists. While at UCSB she taught a range of classes in Communication and Writing and mentored a team of undergraduate research assistants. Her research team presented multiple conference papers and won a Top Student Paper Award at the National Communication Association in 2019 for a student-led project. Avi is now pursuing her passion for teaching as a Social Science and Humanities teacher at The Buckley School, a college preparatory school in Los Angeles.

Spencer Nicholls

Content Producer (Technology), LinkedIn Learning - Carpinteria, California

Spencer Nicholls currently works as a Content Producer in the technology library at LinkedIn Learning ( He works with instructors and subject matter experts to help take their expertise and translate it into high-quality, instructionally sound, and engaging videos that allow individuals build their understanding of technology, data science, security, and other systems through LinkedIn’s online learning platform.

Rachyl Pines

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biomedical Innovation for the Transplant Education and Resource Center - Los Angeles, California

Rachyl Pines is a Research Scientist at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. After completing her PhD in Communication from University of California, Santa Barbara, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation and University of California, Los Angeles under the direction of Dr. Amy Waterman. Rachyl conducts research in behavioral health, population health, pediatrics, and communication topic areas to improve patient education and care. Rachyl serves as an executive officer for the Intergroup Communication Interest Group for the International Communication Association, and for the International Association of Language and Social Psychology. 

Jiyoung Suh


Quinten Bernhold

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Quinten Bernhold received his Ph.D. from UCSB's Department of Communication in 2019. Broadly, his research focuses on family communication, intergenerational communication, and health communication. More specifically, he is interested in the ways in which older adults might optimize their successful aging through their interactions with a variety of relational partners, including romantic partners, children, and grandchildren.

Kathryn Harrison

User Experience Researcher, Blizzard Entertainment

Kathryn Harrison is a User Experience Researcher for the Corporate Applications team at Blizzard Entertainment. She works with a variety of teams to ensure that the company's internal tools work well for employees so that they can continue to create the amazing products that Blizzard is so well known for. Her team leads company-wide initiatives, aims to be a force for positive change, and directly impacts all employees by supporting them in the quest to deliver epic games. 

David Stamps

Assistant Professor, Manship School of Mass Communication Louisiana State University

David Stamps received his Ph.D. in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018 and his M.A. from California State University, Northridge in 2016. His research focuses on representations of marginalized groups in mass media and the impact of mass media imagery on audience members. David’s research appears in the Howard Journal of Communications, Communication Quarterly, and The Kentucky Journal of Communication. David has presented at several conferences including the National Communication Association, Broadcast Education Association, and Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture conference. David's published work includes, "The social construction of the African American family on broadcast television: A comparative content analysis of The Cosby Show and Blackish," in Howard Journal of Communication and multiple book chapters on race in media including the forthcoming book chapter titled "My Brother from Another Mother: Black Brotherhood in Martin, The Wayans Bros., and Malcolm & Eddie" in Representations of African American Professionals on TV Series Since the 1990s (McFarland Press). A former public relations/media practitioner and grant writer, he also holds a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. You can find him on Twitter at @dlsdanz2.

Nicole Zamanzadeh

Nicole Zamanzadeh (she/her/hers) is a User Experience (UX) Survey Methodologist at Facebook. Today, Nicole serves as a survey expert, working with various teams to help Facebook understand people's attitudes, perceptions and sentiment through developing methodologically robust survey instruments. She received both her MA (2016) and PhD (2019) in Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focusing at the intersection of stress, family dynamics, and media use and earning an emphasis in Quantitative Methods & Social Sciences (QMSS) for her interests in measure development and validation. Her dissertation funded by the Arthur Rupe Foundation validated an ecological momentary assessment instrument, the Media Multitasking Intensity Questionnaire (MMTIQ), among parents and teenagers, which won ICA's Dordick Dissertation Award in 2020.


Andrea Figueroa Caballero

Assistant Professor, University of Missouri

Abel Gustafson

Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati

Abel received his PhD in Communication from UCSB (2018), his MA from the University of Hawaii (2013), and his BA from the University of Minnesota-Duluth (2011). During his time as a graduate student, his research focused on science communication, environmental communication, persuasion, social influence, cognitive psychology, and public opinion. His dissertation, under the guidance of Dr. Ron Rice, developed a new conceptual structure of distinct types of uncertainty frames in science communication and tested their effects on attitudes and behaviors in topics like climate change and GMO foods. He continues to study how, in many topics, the norms of public science communication and inherent elements of cognitive psychology combine to create persistent barriers between science and the public.

Ben H. Smith

California State University, East Bay



Aubrie Adams

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Aubrie Adams (Brie) received her PhD from UCSB (2017) and M.A. from Sacramento State University (2013). Brie’s research focuses on the intersection of New Media and Interpersonal Communication with an emphasis in the influence of technology on society.  Her thesis examined student perceptions of teachers utilizing emoticons and her dissertation assessed a digital learning game, VERITAS, which was designed to teach law enforcement officers deception detection skills.  Brie was the recipient of the UCSB GSA Excellence in Teaching Award (2016) and the Dean’s Mentoring Award (2017).  Her research has been featured on 4 separate top-paper panels at regional and national communication conferences.  She has worked as a co-editor for two edited book collections published by Rowman & Littlefield Education: 100 Greatest Video Games Franchises and 100 Greatest Video Game Characters. These collections explore the ways that video game franchises/characters influence how people live and play.  Brie also served as the Chair of the Communication and the Future Division of the National Communication Association.  At Cal Poly, she teaches courses in areas such as Communication Theory and Media Effects.
Becky Robinson Ford

Becky is a research project manager at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, the research arm of the county hospital in Minneapolis, MN.  She works with a team researching team working on projects related to equity in access health care, particularly in the context of housing stability and criminal justice involvement. Becky is interested in cross-sector data analysis that can be used inform evidence-based practice in health care and public policy.

Kristin Hocevar

Lecturer in Public Health, University of California at Merced

Kristin Hocevar received her PhD and MA in Communication from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and her BA (magna cum laude) from Connecticut College. She has worked in television, documentary film, and web production for multiple Public Broadcasting Service stations and affiliated organizations, and has also worked in institutional advancement and strategic communication research for the United States Department of Defense. Her current research focuses on online health information sharing, selection, and evaluation, and the social and health implications of the interactions, communities, and pooled information facilitated by the Internet. Kristin teaches classes on the topics of persuasion/behavior change, health communication, health promotion, and digital media/communication technology.


Lauren Keblusek

Lauren is interested in the intersection of evolutionary theory and human communication, with a focus on indirect or social forms of aggression, including gossip. Her dissertation examines conditions under which the perceived juiciness and maliciousness of gossip--along with one's memory for gossip and their likelihood of sharing it with others--might be heightened or reduced. Lauren received a B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (with an emphasis in language and cognition) at Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. in Communication from UCSB. She currently lives in Seattle, WA. 
Samantha Rae Powers
Assistant Professor, Strategic, Legal and Management Communication, Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Howard University
Samantha earned her B.S., M.A., and J.D. at University of Florida and is a licensed attorney in Florida, where she practiced employment law and consumer financial services litigation for seven years prior to her doctoral studies at UCSB.  Her scholarship is interdisciplinary, drawing upon research in organizational, health, and interpersonal communication, as well as organizational psychology and management.  Her research interests include occupational stress and well-being, work-related emotional communication, vocational and organizational socialization, and workplace discrimination in professional institutions and occupations, as well as gender differences in conflict transformation and negotiation.
DaJung "DJ" Woo

Assistant Professor in the School of Communication Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville 

DJ received her PhD in Communication from UCSB, MA from Kansas State University, and BA from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. Broadly, DJ's research interests focus on how people from different groups and organizations can learn to work together successfully despite their differences. Her dissertation examined the ways in which organizations from diverse fields and sectors initiate, maintain, and end collaborative relationships through communication in regional planning processes. At The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, she teaches courses in areas such as Communication Theory and Organizational Communication. 


Kimberly Walsh McDermott

Research Leader, Truven Health Analytics, an IBM Company, Santa Barbara, CA

Kim received her PhD from UCSB (2016) and her MA from UMass Amherst (2012). Broadly, Kim's research interests surround children, adolescents, and the media. During her graduate school career, she studied representations of school bullying in entertainment and news media; implemented and evaluated K-12 media literacy interventions; and conducted experiments related to the effects of stereotypical media depictions. Her dissertation focused on television depictions of illicit drug use. Specifically, the study assessed the role of audience interpretations in predicting attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions related to cocaine. Now, as a health services researcher, Kim applies her background and experience to large-scale research studies for the Federal Government and State agencies.

Richard Huskey

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of California Davis

Richard's research lies at the intersection of media psychology and cognitive neuroscience with a particular focus on understanding how media content influence human cognition and behavior. This emerging research area is known as Media Neuroscience. As a media neuroscientist, Richard adopts a multi-level perspective that understands the mind (and the communication phenomena it enables) as a physical property of the brain. Accordingly, Richard's use of neuroscientific research techniques complements existing measures by providing an additional level of explanation for communication processing and behavior (e.g., sociocultural, individual, biological, chemical, physical). It is from this perspective that Richard's research investigates three core topics: motivation and media engagement, attitude and behavior change, and the influence of moral narratives.


Marko Dragojevic

Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Kentucky

Marko Dragojevic is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky. He studies language and interpersonal/intergroup communication. In particular, his research focuses on the communicative significance of linguistic variation – that is, differences in language use, including the use of different accents, dialects, and languages. His research tries to answer three broad questions: (1) How do we evaluate different language varieties and the speakers who use them? (2) How do those evaluations influence our own and others’ communicative behavior? (3) What are the cognitive and affective processes underlying those effects? He pursues these questions in three related lines of research: language attitudes, linguistic accommodation, and linguistic framing in persuasion.


Theresa de los Santos

Assistant Professor of Communication, Pepperdine University

Theresa is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Her research interests focus on news effects and emotion. Theresa's dissertation examined how discrete emotions (anger, hope, and fear) influence the selection, processing, and sharing of online news information.

Ryan Fuller

Associate Professor, California State University - Sacramento

Ryan Fuller is Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. His research interests focus on conflict framing, negotiations, labor unions, and organizational communication.  His doctoral dissertation centered on how entertainment unions frame changes in a disruptive and conflict-ridden industry. He teaches conflict management at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and organizational communication at the graduate level.

Lisa Leombruni

Development Associate, NOVA / WGBH Educational Foundation; Program Manager, UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Lisa works in the NOVA Science Unit to help develop ideas and raise money for new science television programs for PBS; she also oversees research and evaluation studies on NOVA programming. Additionally, she lectures at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management on strategic environmental communication and media. She received a Master of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2009 and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Brandeis University in 2005.

Justin W. Lipp

Director of the Faculty Center, Sonoma State University

Justin directs the Faculty Center at Sonoma State University, a collaboration between Academic Affairs and Information Technology. The Faculty Center serves as a hub for innovation and support for educational technology, course and program assessment, and faculty development. The Center also supports a variety of internal and external grants in faculty professional development and instructional innovation.

Ryan Medders

Assistant Professor, California Lutheran University

Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Communication at California Lutheran University. His research addresses the social and psychological effects of the media with a focus on credibility and news. He teaches courses in mass communication, research methods, political communication, and international media. His dissertation examined the influence of credibility and need for cognition on selective exposure to partisan news on the Internet.

Anne Merrill

Post-Doctoral Lecturer, Penn State University

Anne is a post-doctoral lecturer in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Pennsylvania State University and will start a tenure-track assistant professor position there in 2015.  Her research interests lie within interpersonal, relational, and family communication, focusing on processes such as information regulation (i.e., topic avoidance, disclosure, secrecy, and privacy), conflict, uncertainty, stress, and coping.  Anne’s dissertation examined the extent to which romantic partners’ sense of couple identity predicts their communicative and physiological management of stress and conflict in their relationship.

Christopher Seaman

Survey Research Analyst, UC Santa Barbara

Christopher is a Survey Research Analyst for the Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment (IRPA) group in the Office of the Assistant Chancellor, Budget & Planning. He is responsible for all aspects of survey research projects conducted by IRPA on behalf of the University's Senior officers, administrators, and academic departments conducting surveys for assessment. This includes consultation, questionnaire design, programming, survey administration, data processing, data analysis, and report writing.  In addition, he works as a freelance consultant providing data analysis services and research solutions to a variety of clients from diverse backgrounds. Past projects have included GIS data analysis, survey questionnaire feedback and construction, and descriptive and inferential statistical analysis of survey and experimental data.

Chan Thai

Cancer Research Training Award Post-Doctoral Fellow, National Cancer Institute

Chan is a post-doctoral fellow in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute where her work focuses on physical activity and nutrition attitudes and behaviors among children and their parents in the United States.  Her research interests include health and cancer communication, program evaluation, media literacy, and information processing and outcomes such as dietary behavior, food purchasing behaviors, and physical activity.  Chan's dissertation focused on the initial development of a measure for media literacy based on Potter's Cognitive Model of Media Literacy.