Graduate research and fellowships

John Crowley, a doctoral candidate, is studying how a coping technique can help people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) after they experience hate speech. “If you look at the statistics for hate speech, what it does to people is terrible,” Crowley said. Crowley is looking at cortisol and alpha amylase levels in saliva to determine how a writing exercise can affect stress levels. He is a recipient of funding from the Peter Clarke Graduate Research Fund. Read more >>

Eike Rinke, a visiting doctoral candidate from the University of Mannheim in Germany, knows that it can be difficult for citizens to make informed political choices when the quality of political television newscasts varies among sources. Rinke is tackling a research project in which he is trying to determine how political television news, in different media and political systems, differs in its efforts to give citizens a range of political options, and how the content affects a person’s ability to make informed political decisions. Read more >>

Doctoral candidates Colin Lingle and Damon Di Cicco spent the summer of 2010 interviewing Tea Party supporters and attending their rallies, trying to get an idea of what it means to be a Tea Partier. From Seattle to Arizona to Washington, D.C., they racked up more than 5,000 miles on Lingle’s Toyota Corolla. In part because of the relative rarity of conservative protest movements, the Tea Party has attracted a good deal of media attention over the last two years. “We wanted to see how close or different actual on-the-ground attitudes and opinions were,” said Lingle. Read more >>

In mid-November, the National Communication Association (NCA) held its 96th Annual Convention in San Francisco under the theme “Building Bridges.” University communication departments from around the country attended the event where numerous panel discussions on various topics of communication took place, and many graduate students of the UW Department of Communication showcased their work. Jason Gilmore, Lindsey Meeks, Elizabeth Scherman, Anjali Vats, and Mary Lynn Veden won awards for their work. Read more >>

Leah Sprain (Ph.D., Communication, 2009) was awarded the prize for the outstanding dissertation of 2009 in Language and Social Interaction by the National Communication Association. The title of the dissertation is Cultivating cooperativismo: an ethnography of Nicaraguan fair trade cooperative meetings. Serving with the proud advisor on the supervisory committee were Profs. Leah Ceccarelli and John Gastil, each of whom played an integral part in Sprain’s graduate education at the UW.

Graduate student Fahed Al-Sumait received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship for his dissertation research this year. Fahed is in Kuwait collecting research for his dissertation on contested discourses over the issue of Arab democratization. His emphasis is on Islamists, female political actors, and self-described democrats, all of whom bring particular agendas and perspectives to Middle Eastern politics. The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship is awarded to fewer than 150 students nationwide each year and is designed to provide opportunities for graduate students to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign language and area studies.

Jason Gilmore, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication, spent one month in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Brazil, conducting research on the use of new media technologies in the upcoming Brazilian elections in October. He will be conducting interviews with new media producers such as webmasters and Twitter writers from each of the four top campaigns in the presidential elections.

Graduate student Muzammil Hussain is on the UW interdisciplinary research team that won the Google Research award. The Virality of Information team, known as retroV, consists of iSchool Assistant Professor Karine Barzilai-Nahon and three iSchool Ph.D. students (Shawn Walker, Jeff Hemsley and Sheryl Day), Communication Ph.D. student Muzammil Hussain and Professor W. Lance Bennett. With the guidance of Professor Bennett, Muzammil’s project started back in fall 2008 to study social media during the presidential election — particularly the dynamics of election viral video diffusion. The interdisciplinary team started meeting in spring 2009. The Google Research Fund mainly supports technology costs and conference travel for the project; additionally, it gives them free access to Google and YouTube data, which will help them perfect their models to understand the relationships between viral information diffusion and the blogosphere. They presented their findings at an academic conference at Oxford:

Graduate students Manoucheka Celeste and Michelle Poff participated in the “Dialoguing Difference” conference, put on by the UW Women of Color Collective on May 14, 2010. Celeste will present her research on media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake during the National Communication Association conference in November 2010. Her research in media studies focuses on representations of race, gender, class and citizenship in popular media. Read more >>

Tabitha Hart received a 2009 Fritz Fellowship to support her research in Communication. The Fellowship comes from the Chester Fritz endowment, which was established to support international study or research by UW graduate students in the social sciences and humanities. Hart was awarded a research grant of $2,500 in 2008 by the Bridges Center for Labor Studies to research intercultural customer service.

Madhavi Murty received a 2009-2010 Simpson Center Dissertation Fellowship Award for “Textures of Representation: Stories of Neoliberalism and the Gendered Subaltern in Postcolonial India.”