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The School of Communication welcomes a class of new scholars to its faculty

As more young people see the value of communication skills in the new information economy, the School of Communication continues to grow. The School hired eight tenured or tenure-track faculty in 2010, and seven more last year. In the fall, when our new freshman class arrives, a new class of “freshmen faculty” will be ready to teach them.

The new full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty arriving this fall are:

Jeremy Birnholtz joins the Department of Communication Studies from Cornell University. Birnholtz is an alumnus of Northwestern University, earning a degree in radio/television/film in 1996. He received both a masters and his PhD from the University of Michigan. His research focuses human-computer interaction issues such as attention, information sharing, and collaboration through the use of technology. Recent publications and talks include articles on young people’s attention to instant messaging, interruptions in attention in seniors with chronic pain, and deception in text messaging.

Aymar Jean Christian joins the Department of Communication Studies. He is a doctoral candidate in the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, focusing on new media and cultural production. He researches how producers and organizations create and distribute web series, integrating scholarship on television and media industry studies. He has been published in the journals Continuum, Transformative Works & Culture, First Monday, Cinema Journal and Communication, Culture, and Critique and in publications such as Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in American culture.

Marcus Doshi joins the Department of Theatre. He is a scenic and lighting designer for theatre, opera, and dance whose work has been seen across the world including projects in New York with Theatre for a New Audience, London at the Barbican, and Amsterdam at Het Muziektheatre, among others. He is an associate artist of the dance theatre company Moving Theater and of the Kuwait-based international theatre company Sabab, with whom he helped devise The Speaker’s Progress, a play in response to the Arab Spring. Doshi’s work has been nominated for numerous awards. He holds an MFA in stage design from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College.

Marcela A. Fuentes joins the Department of Performance Studies. Her work explores contemporary performances and appropriations of technology for social change. Fuentes was a postdoctoral fellow of the Andrew W. Mellon program “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” at the University of California, Los Angeles where she taught in the School of Theater, and in the departments of Spanish and Women’s Studies. Fuentes has published her work in theatre journals, edited volumes, and reference books. She holds a PhD from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Universidad de Buenos Aires. She is working on a digital book investigating performance practices through the lens and methodologies of the digital humanities.

Tina Grieco-Calub joins the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders from Northern Illinois University. Her research focuses on auditory development and language processing in young children, particularly in those who use cochlear implants. Her work has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, and her articles have appeared in journals such as Ear Hear, Journal of Neuroscience, and Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research. Grieco-Calub earned her PhD in neuroscience from Northwestern University in 2005. She also holds degrees from Vanderbilt University and Marywood University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Casey Lew-Williams joins the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Infant Learning Lab. His work focuses on the cognitive mechanisms that enable language learning, and how different learning experiences shape language outcomes. His research with infants, toddlers, and bilingual children has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. His articles have been published in Psychological Science, Cognition, Developmental Science, and Journal of Memory and Language. He received his PhD in developmental psychology from Stanford University; his undergraduate degree is from the University of California, Berkeley.

Amy Shirong Lu joins the Department of Communication Studies from Indiana University School of Informatics, IUPUI, where she was assistant professor in media arts and science. She is interested in the persuasive mechanism of media and communication technologies and their health behavioral and psychological applications. She is also interested in narratives and virtual media characters (in animation and video games) and their potential application in communicating health messages among youth of different cultures. She earned her PhD in mass communication and MA in communication studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her undergraduate degree, in English, is from Peking University.

Anne Marie Piper joins the Department of Communication Studies. She comes from the University of California, San Diego, where she was a lecturer and researcher in cognitive science. Anne Marie received her PhD in Cognitive Science from UCSD in 2011. Over the past ten years she has researched how new computer interfaces support learning activities and the communication needs of individuals with disabilities. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her masters in education from Stanford University. She has worked as a user experience researcher at Microsoft and LeapFrog.

Jason Tait Sanchez joins the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Washington, where he was a postdoctoral fellow. His research, supported by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders and the National Organization for Hearing Research, focuses on the development of excitatory transmission in the auditory brainstem. His work has been published widely, including in Journal of Neurophysiology, Journal of Physiology and Journal of Neuroscience. He received his PhD in audiology from Kent State University, his MA in audiology and speech sciences from Michigan State University, and his bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Northern Colorado.

Aaron Shaw joins the Department of Communication Studies. He is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He studies political and economic dimensions of collective action online. Current projects address the causes and effects of power inequalities in information sharing communities; the relationship between online participation and political engagement; as well as the dynamics of participation in commercial crowdsourcing markets and non-commercial peer production projects. He holds additional degrees from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Michelle Shumate joins the Department of Communication Studies as an associate professor from the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was the director of Interorganizational Networks research group. She investigates the dynamics of interorganizational networks designed to impact large social issues, developing and testing theories to visualize, understand, and enable effective interorganizational networks in a variety of contexts including nongovernmental organization (NGO)-corporate partnerships, development and disease NGOs, expert-NGO partnerships in sustainable development, and interorganizational networks for healthy communities. She has published in a range of journals including Human Communication Research, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Communication. She was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award and a Beckman Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois. She earned her PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and an undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University. She was on the faculty at North Dakota State University prior to joining the University of Illinois in 2006.

Elizabeth W. Son joins the Department of Theatre from Northeastern University, where she was a visiting research scholar in the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program. She earned her PhD in American Studies from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include transnational Asian and Asian American theatre and performance; cultural studies; gender and sexuality studies; trauma, memory, and human rights, and the arts and social change. Her book manuscript, The Performance of Redress: Transpacific Acts of Remembering Gender Violence, explores the political and cultural significances of performances—from protests, tribunals, theatre, and dance t o testimonial acts—for the transnational processes of reckoning with the history of Japanese military sexual slavery.

Walt Spangler joins the Department of Theatre after two years as a visiting professor at Northwestern in stage design. Spangler designs sets for theatre, opera and dance. He’s done extensive work for the Goodman Theater, in particular with Goodman artistic director Robert Falls. Their projects together include King Lear, Desire Under the Elms, and A True History of the Johnstown Flood, for which Spangler received a 2010 Jeff Award. Spangler holds degrees in dramatic art and German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA in set design from the Yale School of Drama. In 2011, he won the prestigious Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration.