Graduate Profiles | PhD

Meet the School of Communication's graduate students.

Carina Albrecht | Twitter

BA, Communication, Simon Fraser University

BSc, Computer Science, Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos

Supervisor: Wendy Chun

Carina's current research investigates how network science, as a data analytics and modelling tool, shapes how we imagine our connections on social media. She is part of the Desegregating Network Neighbourhoods project at the Digital Democracies Institute, where she helps to uncover polarizing mechanisms of network science and inform novel approaches for reimagining social media connections that minimize or counter polarization. Her main goal is to propose intellectual frameworks for building democratic digital environments. Her research areas also include critical data studies, critical algorithm studies, philosophy of technology, and science and technology studies.


Salma Amer | LinkedIn

MS, Journalism School, Columbia University

BA, School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, American University in Cairo.

Supervisor: Adel Iskandar

As a cultural studies analyst, Salma’s research investigates the diverse representations of regional & diasporic MENA/SWANA identities in contemporary shifting TV & cinema industries across transnational media corporations. Her specialty combines content analysis, policy research & industry-production analysis to assess the multidimensional and multicultural contemporary works of Arab identifying writers screened on digital platforms for transnational audiences.  

Following an established career in journalism & media production alongside a MS degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York, Salma’s work has been centered in research & teaching at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada since 2018 & previously at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.


Laya Behbahani

MA, Criminology, Simon Fraser University

BA (Honours), Criminology, Simon Fraser University

Supervisor: Adel Iskandar

Laya is a Sessional Lecturer in Labour Studies and the Director of SFU's Student Experience Initiative. She previously worked at the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria and served as a researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Laya’s current research focuses on the narrativisation of slavery, forced labour and human trafficking experiences in the Middle East. Her research has explored the role of the kafala system in shaping the experiences of the migrant work force in the Gulf States, and the policies and politics that govern the interplay between immigration, criminal laws and labour laws. In addition, she has collaborated on projects entailing the application areas of corporate responsibility, such as forced labour and slavery, and business models of forced labour. Laya is a 2020 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar.


John Bermingham | Twitter

MA, Liberal Studies, Simon Fraser University

Supervisor: Shane Gunster

As a former journalist, I have witnessed many of the key events impacting Western Canada, which often revolve around the use of our abundant energy resources. My research looks at how media in this region cover energy issues, with a focus on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. I am interested in comparing how mainstream and alternative media cover the pipeline story, which is so pivotal to Canada’s economic and climate future. I have worked as a business journalist in Ireland, and spent more than 20 years as staff reporter for The Province newspaper, covering beats such as education, Vancouver City Hall, and BC politics. Currently, I teach media and communication at the University of the Fraser Valley.


Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte | Personal Website

MFA, Interdisciplinary Arts, Simon Fraser University

BFA, Visual Arts, Concordia University

Supervisor: Alison Beale

Mariane’s research focuses on cultural and arts policy in Canada and British-Columbia. Her dissertation research considers the relationship between artist-run centres and arts funding bodies and traces the¾sometimes parallel, sometimes intersecting evolution of cultural policies and of artist-driven visual and media arts organizations in British Columbia. Other research interests include the digital turn in arts and cultural policy in Canada and the online distribution of independent Canadian film and video. 


Anthony Burton | Personal Website

MA, Communication & Culture, Ryerson University

BA (Honours), Philosophy, University of Toronto

Supervisor: Wendy Chun

Anthony's research is broadly concerned with the networked development of epistemologies and ideology in technological and datafied environments. His other research interests include digital temporalities and eschatology, computing, masculinity, and the body. His master’s thesis focused on involuntary celibacy, programmatic epistemology, and masculinity under neoliberalism. He is also interested in the research and development of technical tools for digital research.


Dylan Chandler

MA, Professional Communication, Royals Roads University

BA, English Literature & Philosophy, The University of British Columbia

Supervisor: Andrew Feenberg 

I work in the philosophy of technology, using critical theory, phenomenology, and pragmatism to study the human relationship to technology through interface and design. My dissertation focuses this broader philosophical discussion of technology through the case of smart voice assistant technology—Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home etc— and relates it to Mark Weiser’s ubiquitous computing and Arthur C. Clarke’s concept of magic. Particularly relevant concepts to my work are: Adorno’s constellations, Merleau-Ponty’s embodiment, technical function, Simondon’s technicity, and social dimensions of technology. My work aims to find strategies for orienting technology away from alienation and toward emancipatory relationships to it. 


Anita Charters

MA, Professional Communication, Royal Roads University

BSc, Cell Biology and Genetics (Arts Minor), The University of British Columbia

Supervisor: Peter Chow-White

I am interested in communication issues in genomics and big data including adoption of technology, bias in algorithms and resulting data, and privacy.  


Xuezhi Du

MA, Theory and History of Communication, Communication University of China

BA, Journalism, Huaibei Normal University

Supervisor: Yuezhi Zhao

Xuezhi Du’s research mainly focuses on Global Communication, Political Economy of Communication, Rural Communication. Now he is trying to combine these three areas with doing his research on China's media policy and media transformation and its interaction with the world (especially with the Global South countries) under the context of (anti-)globalization.


Mingmin Gu

MA, Journalism and Communication, Zhejiang University of Technology

BA, Chinese Language and Literature, Zhejiang University of Technology

Supervisor: Siyuan Yin

Mingmin’s current research concerns communication and urban-rural relations in Chinese and global contexts. Including the socio-structural mediatization of “Small-Town Youth” in China, the natural continuation of rurality in the era of technical advancement, as well as the participation of subaltern people in the writing of media portraits. His research is an effort to reveal complex mechanisms of cultural production and collective identity formation both in post-revolutionary China and the digital age and to explore their development, potential, and limitations. 

Amy Harris

MA, Communication, Simon Fraser University

BA (Honours), English Literature, University of East Anglia

Supervisor: Shane Gunster

My primary research looks at how communication around climate change represents the inherent risks of sea-level rise and wildfires in BC. I will be looking at how activist groups and mass media use different forms of social media to communicate these risks, how effective those are, and if anything can be done to make messaging more effective. 


Andrew Hillan

MA, Political Science, Western University

BA, Political Science, Western University

Supervisor: Rick Gruneau

Research areas: Game studies; Digital media; In-game purchases; Microtransactions; Loot boxes; Media history; Friedrich Kittler; Analog games; Penny arcades; Coin-operated machines; Michel Foucault; Subjectivity; Critical theory; Consumer culture; Identity formation.


Kayla Hilstob

MLIS, The University of British Columbia

BA, Political Science, The University of British Columbia

Supervisor: Svitlana Matviyenko

Kayla Hilstob holds a Master of Library and Information Studies from UBC, where she focused on the political economy of information. Her research interests include automation and labour, media archaeology, political economy of global communication, and their expressions of militarization in a cyberwar framework. Her current focus is on the history of the internet(s) in Canada, and its significance in today's discussions of internet governance, sovereignty, surveillance and cyber conflict.


BSocSc, Women's Studies and Political Science, University of Ottawa  

MA, Political Science, Simon Fraser University

Supervisor: Victoria E. Thomas

C's research interests are critical political theory, queer theory and Black feminisms. Their MA project focused on Canadian homonationalist discourses, and they intend to explore Black Twitter meme culture as a form of political engagement during their PhD studies. They dream of a future where everyone is free, and they are committed to doing what they can to work toward that liberation.

Tahmina Inoyatova

MA, Communication Studies, Peking University

BA (honours), Linguistics, Russian-Tajik Slavonic University

Supervisor: Adel Iskandar

In her ongoing PhD research, Tahmina is exploring the intersection of identity, memory, and power in the context of post-Soviet cities with a special focus on Central Asia and Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. More specifically, she is interested in how cities and urban spaces mediate discourses of nationhood, development, and decolonization in Central Asia while being shaped by the forces of nationalism, capitalism, neoliberalism, and globalization. Tahmina’s other research interests include post-socialism and coloniality, decolonial studies, cultural studies, Eurasian studies, post-Soviet media and popular culture. Tahmina has a chapter in the forthcoming edited volume “Mapping the Media and Communication Landscape of Central Asia: an anthology of emerging and contemporary issues”


Saemi (Nadine) Jung

MSc, Media and Communication (Distinction), London School of Economics and Political Science

ALP (Advanced Leaders Program), Seoul National University School of Law

BA, German Studies, BM, Musicology, Freie Universität Berlin & Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

BA, German Studies, BM, Piano Performance, Oberlin College   

Supervisor: Sun-ha Hong

Saemi is a social justice-oriented, interdisciplinary thinker of media and communications. She worked as a financial news anchor for about than 10 years prior to her doctoral research. With 10+ years of work experiences in NYC, Chicago, London, and Seoul, it was natural for her to incorporate a transnational, decolonial, and comparative approach to her research. Saemi's research areas are largely at the intersection of political economy of platform technologies, critical data studies, issues of social justice and digital communication culture. Her recent research projects are focused on tech and power, surveillance/dataveillance, platformization of work, AI/data ethics, and datafied education.

D.W. Kamish

MA, Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago

BA, English, University of Pennsylvania

Supervisor: Alberto Toscano

Research areas: Working in critical theory, philosophy of technology, and media archaeology, their primary research interests are infrastructure, invention, and postmodernism.


Hoornaz Keshavarzian | LinkedIn

MA, Communications, University of Tehran

Supervisor: Adel Iskandar

Hoornaz ranked first in Iran's Master of Arts entrance exam in 2012 and received her MA in Communications from University of Tehran in 2015. Her current research focuses on digital humanities, networked youth, performative identity, online self-expression and neoliberal selves.


Woochul Kim | Facebook

MA, Korean Film Studies, Chungang University

MSc, Media, Communication, & Development, London School of Economics and Political Science

Supervisor: Dal Yong Jin

I have worked as a news photographer, journalist, and TV program producer for major broadcast television networks in Korea. I also shared my field experiences with university students as a lecturer in Korea. My interest lies in transnational media and culture, audience participatory culture as a way of preserving identities, and the role of public broadcasters and journalism in a social media era.


Xiaosu Li

BA, Journalism, Huazhong University of Science & Technology

MA, Communication, SFU

Supervisor: Frederik Lesage

Xiaosu Li's MA research explored the rationalization of collective norms and the valorization and stabilization of data-driven knowledge embedded in the flexible and dynamic COVID-19 surveillance assemblage in China. Her current research interests include digital tracking culture, surveillance studies, emotion regulation, cognition-emotion interactions, historical approach to media technology, and the technological construction of objectivity and knowledge.

Felix Lo

MA, Communication, Simon Fraser University

MEng, BSc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Supervisor name: Frederik Lesage

Felix’s research concerns the philosophical critique of machine learning and artificial intelligence by looking into the history of computing, cybernetics, and Gilbert Simondon's philosophy of technology.


Alicia Massie

MA, Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies, Carleton University

BA, Psychology & Linguistics, University of Ottawa

Supervisor: Shane Gunster

Alicia Massie is a Joseph Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholar and PhD Candidate. Her activism and academic work focus on the intersections of gender, labour, and race in late capitalism, as well as investigating Canadian petro-capitalism from a socialist feminist perspective. Beyond her academic work she works as an educator, labour organizer, and community activist.

Rowan Melling

MA, Germanic Studies, UBC

BA, History and Modern European Studies, UBC

Supervisor: Sun-ha Hong

My research explores the intersections between Romanticism, Silicon Valley tech culture, digital media, and neoliberalism. Resistance is also a major issue for me. It was the topic of my MA thesis, which focused on the militant, feminist guerrilla cell, Red Zora. I was born and raised in BC, but have also lived in Montreal, Germany, and California.


Jennifer Mentanko

BA, Journalism, MacEwan University

MA, Communication, Simon Fraser University

Supervisor: Peter Chow-White

Jennifer Mentanko's research interests are disruptive technology, social construction and the diffusion of innovation. Specifically, she looks at the social construction of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. She also works in the GeNA Lab investigating the social, economic and political impacts of blockchain. When she's not at school Jenn can be found at the dog park with her bulldog, Waffles.

Joseph Nicolai  

MA, Global Communication, Simon Fraser University

Supervisor: Jan Marontate

After graduating from the SFU-CUC MA Double Degree Program in Global Communication, Nicolai continued on in the department and is currently a PhD student. In 2016 he held a fellowship at the Academy of Korean Studies and completed a project that located the country’s current shift in promoting rural heritage and its historic relationship to the Saemaul Undong New Community movement. With interests in Global Communication and Critical Theory, his current project at SFU relates to the communication of cultural heritage understood as operating between "imagined community" and "concrete inequality".



Michelle Phan

MI, Information Studies & Archives and Records Management, University of Toronto

BA, History & Russian Literature, University of Toronto

Supervisor: Cait McKinney

Michelle is broadly interested in the intersection between carceral studies, feminist media studies, digital labour and platform organization. Her research interests seek to discern the relationship between the rise of technologies such as social media and its relationship between structural violence implemented into both public and private spheres, particularly police and carceral institutions in Canada.

Kamyar Razavi | LinkedIn

MiM, Management, Tsinghua University

BA, Journalism, Ryerson University

Supervisor: Shane Gunster

I examine the role of journalism in communicating climate change. Specifically, I am investigating the extent to which a solutions-oriented approach to news reporting can help audiences develop a sense of efficacy, with an eye on mobilizing political action for solving the climate emergency. In addition to my academic work, I am a national news producer with a major Canadian digital and broadcasting outlet.


Nastaran Saremy

MA, Philosophy of Art, University of Art

BEng, Chemical Engineering, University of Guilan

Supervisor: Kirsten McAllister

I  majored in Philosophy and Aesthetics and have been working as an art critic and an interdisciplinary researcher in the field of cultural and social analysis. I have attempted to conduct several researches on Iran's contemporary socio-cultural landscape over the last six years. Recently I am exploring the aesthetics of the social praxis in social movements of MENA, by focusing on the media and communication role in social transformation. In the PhD project I will explore how memory practices along with methods of networking in new media reframe the reference framework of social movements in recent years. 

Ben Scholl

MA, Communication & Social Justice, University of Windsor

BComm, Business Administration, University of Windsor

Supervisor: Dal Yong Jin

Ben situates his research within games studies, with a focus towards esports. His ethnographic research has explored the institutionalization of college esports from the perspective of student-athletes. His attention has been shifting towards moments of place-making, through the emergence of material elements in transdigital assemblages, in competitive gaming, live streaming, and virtual music festivals. More broadly his interests include: games studies, media studies, ethnography, subcultures, institutional work, affect, political economy, and new-materialist cultural theory.


BA, Journalism, Misr International University  

MA, Global Communication, Simon Fraser University

Supervisor: Adel Iskandar 

Aya is a journalist and writer from Egypt. With special interest in science and environmental affairs, her work has been published in Nature, Reuters, the Globe and Mail, and Foreign Affairs, among others. She is passionate about solutions-oriented journalism as applied to various fields including gender equality, sectarian issues, and the climate crisis. Her research looks into environmental communication in the Middle East and how environmental action affects policy under authoritarian regimes. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, she likes to swim, dance, cook, and sometimes attempt to revive her dusty French.

Maliha Siddiqi | LinkedIn

MA, Communication, SFU

MA, Mass Communication, Jamia Millia Islamia University

BSc, Biochemistry, University of Kashmir

Supervisor: Ahmed Al-Rawi

Maliha is a first year PhD scholar whose area of study interests between Surveillance studies and global social justice, She is from Kashmir and previously completed her MA at SFU under the supervision of Dr. Zoe Druick studying the representation of Kashmiri's using Bollywood films. She loves to hike on the lovely BC trails and enjoys trying out new cuisines every week.

Dongwook Song

MA, Journalism & Communication, Kyung Hee University

BA, Journalism & Communication, Kyung Hee University

Supervisor: Stuart Poyntz

My research interest is widely concerned with media cultural studies, focusing on ideology and discourse theories. In particular, I have conducted research projects on youth-related topics by employing various qualitative methodologies that include in-depth interviews, media representation, ethnographic and discourse analysis. In addition, my interests broadly include subjectivity, Williams' “structure of feelings”, the relationship between structure and agency,(re)articulating the cultural studies with the political economy, the financialization of daily life and the social reproduction crisis in the South Korean context.


BA, Chinese Literature,Beijing Normal University   

MA(Res), Asian Studies, Leiden University 

Supervisor: Sarah Ganter

I have previously studied in literary studies and cultural studies in Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, and the Netherlands before coming here. Additionally, I worked as a university lecturer for one year in China. My research interests are broad, and I am currently focusing on platformization and its relationship with creativity in the contemporary world. I would like to explore how the platformization process has reshaped the landscape of the cultural industry and how we, as creative labor, adapt to this new tech-culture.

Siobhan Watters

BA, English, University of Waterloo

MA, Theory & Criticism, University of Western Ontario

Supervisor: Svitlana Matviyenko 

Siobhan Watters' doctoral research, informed by Canadian and German media theory, Marxist political economy, and philosophy of technology, posits food systems as communication systems and food as a medium, contrasting food's social function with its function as a commodity in the circuit of capital. Siobhan has published in the Graduate Journal of Food Studies (2015) and has a chapter forthcoming in The Vital Spark: Essays on the Legacy of Frankenstein for Charles E. Robinson.


Jiaqi Wen

MA, Media Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin

BA, Editing and Publishing, Sichuan University

Supervisor: Stephanie Dick

Jiaqi is interested in the histories of artificial intelligence and linguistic behavior, with a focus on various modes of sense-making. She also pays attention to the infrastructures and environments of media technologies in areas such as semiconductor manufacturing and cleanroom technology and thinks of computation as processes and experiences, as well as affective, emotive, and imaginary constellations of gendered and racialized bodies and labor. Prior to her PhD, she examined the historical epistemology of randomness in computer simulation and obtained her MA in Media Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin.