Our Fellows

2018 COMPASS Fellows

Yang Bai, Pennsylvania State University

Yang Bai is a 3rd year PhD student in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University. He received his MA in Communication from the University of Southern California. Yang’s research interests include the economic impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs), ICT adoption and policy issues regarding Internet accessibility. Yang is also interested in the sociology of communication technologies. Currently, he is working on research about the interaction between broadband adoption and International trade. Yang’s research has been published in the Journal of Information Economics and Policy and presented at various academic conferences such as TPRC, ICA and IAMCR. This summer, Yang Bai will be at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and work on a project which examines the economic impact of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program.

 Lauren Bridges, University of Pennsylvania

Lauren Bridges is a PhD student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She conducts research at the intersection of media, technology, and policy; her interests include media industries, digital labor, global media systems, data infrastructures, and the political economy of data and information. She has presented at a number of academic conferences and published in New Media and Society. This summer, Lauren will be at Open Markets Institute working as a research fellow on data privacy and antitrust policy research. Her work will focus on impacts of the new European privacy regulations and other possible policy routes to mitigate the extraction, use, and reuse of personal data.

 Danyel Ferrari, Rutgers University

Danyel Ferrari is a PhD student at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information Studies in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. She earned her MA in Gender Studies at Central European University, with a focus on International and European Refugee Law. She holds an MFA from Hunter College City University of New York and Bachelors degrees in Fine Art and Visual Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has a professional background in art and arts administration. Her doctoral research focuses on engagement with public art as a form of political subjectivity production through affect and its public performance, both on site and on social media. She is particularly interested in how affective response is mobilized in artworks which address difficult political issues and to what political ends those affects work. She is particularly interested in looking at ways in which cultural policy might critically engage this questions.

 Azeb Madebo, University of Southern California

Azeb Madebo earned her B.A. in Communication and minored in Anthropology and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. As a Ronald E. McNair and Mary Gates Research Scholar, she examined negotiations of Blackness by considering the experiences of East African (specifically Ethiopian) immigrant communities in Seattle. At USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, her research interests and work have centered sub-Saharan Africa, issues regarding development, and civic engagement. She’s worked on projects that look at transnational/transracial adoption and surrogacy and the racialized commodification of bodies; the racialization and identity negotiations of East African immigrants the United States; civic imagination and networked mobilization in Ethiopia and its diaspora; and the relationships between discourses of sustainable development and techno-political governance in sub-Saharan Africa. This summer, Azeb will be working alongside Dr. Lauren Kogen (Temple University) to conduct an evaluation study for Ranking Digital Rights.

Christoph Mergerson, Rutgers University

Christoph Mergerson is a second-year Ph.D. student in Media Studies at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. His advisor is Professor Susan Keith. Christoph’s research interests include the political economy of news and sports media, and race and media. His work has been accepted for presentation at the 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, to be held in Prague in May 2018, and at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Southeast Colloquium, held in March 2018 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  This summer, Christoph will work with the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution as a media policy researcher.

 Chloé Nurik, University of Pennsylvania

Chloé Nurik is a dual degree (Ph.D./J.D.) student at University of Pennsylvania/Annenberg and Penn Law.  She researches freedom of expression protections and limitations, self-regulation of media industries, media advocacy, and the intersection of law, public policy, and gender.  Ms. Nurik graduated Summa cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. At Penn, she majored in History and minored in English, Classical Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. As an undergraduate, Nurik was involved in communication research through her fellowship at FactCheck.org (part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center) and her position as a research assistant in the Center for Health Behavior and Communication Research (where she co-wrote a paper about how young adults in China use the Internet for sexual health education). Chloé will be at the Federal Communications Commission investigating licensees for ham radios and other legal matters.

Maria Skouras, University of Texas at Austin

Maria was born and raised in New Jersey and earned her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, M.A. from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science in Cultural Sociology, and M.S. in Global Affairs from NYU’s School of Professional Studies.  She is currently a second year media studies Ph.D. student in UT Austin’s Radio-TV-Film Department.  Her research interests include cultural digital diplomacy, creative expression, and how social media platforms can be used to foster awareness of global issues and inequalities. Maria will be a research fellow at the Advisory Council for Public Diplomacy (ACPD) at the State Department working on digital diplomacy efforts.

 Chioma Woko, University of Pennsylvania

Chioma Woko is a PhD student studying Health Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. She graduated with a B.S. in Biopsychology at Tufts University where she focused her research in community health issues in the greater Boston area. Chioma’s research currently focuses on the use of new media for health behavior change as well as the propagation and impact of erroneous health information on social media sites. Chioma is also interested in the development and evaluation of communication-based health interventions in West Africa. Prior to her doctoral studies, Chioma worked as a junior analyst at a health research institute on both domestic and international projects in food, nutrition, and obesity policy. This summer, Chioma will be at Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs. She will be working as a research assistant on integrative health promotion projects in West Africa.


Past COMPASS Fellows


Thomas Billard, University of Southern California, National Center for Transgender Equality
Richelle Crotty, University of Texas – Austin, Free Press
Nathaniel Ming Curran, University of Southern California, Korean Economic Institute of America
Eric Forbush, University of Pennsylvania, Brookings Institution
Anna Loup, University of Southern California, Center for Democracy and Technology
Paul Popiel, University of Pennsylvania, Free Press
Emily Saidel, University of Michigan, National Association of Broadcasters
Jana Wilbricht, University of Michigan, National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Joseph Yoo, University of Texas – Austin, New America/Ranking Digital Rights


Hyeri Jung, University of Texas – Austin, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy
Hyun Tae (Calvin) Kim, University of Southern California, Sister Cities International
Jillian Kwong, University of Southern California, National Institutes of Health
Rachel E. Moran, University of Southern California, Campaign Legal Center
Revati Prasad, University of Pennsylvania, New America Foundation & Ranking Digital Rights
Matt Reichel, Rutgers University, Free Press
Sonia Jawaid Shaikh, University of Southern California, World Bank
Alex Williams, University of Pennsylvania, Pew Research Center


Opeyemi Akanbi, University of Pennsylvania, New America Foundation
Alexis D. Schrubbe, University of Texas – Austin, Common Cause


Douglas Allen, University of Pennsylvania, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation
Cat Duffy, University of Southern California, Department of Health and Human Services
Katherine Elder, University of Southern California, National Institute of Health
Michelle Forelle, University of Southern California, Common Cause
Brandon Golob, University of Southern California, Institute for Public Representation – Georgetown Law
Nicole Hentrich, University of Michigan, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Nathalie Marechal, University of Southern California, New America Foundation
Aalok Mehta, University of Southern California, Public Knowledge
Angeline Sangalang, University of Southern California, Department of Health and Human Services
Xin Wang, University of Southern California, World Bank
Alex Williams, University of Pennsylvania, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism


Deepti Chittamuru, University of Pennsylvania, World Bank
Nikita Hamilton, University of Southern California, Common Cause
Tim Libert, University of Pennsylvania, New America Foundation
Aalok Mehta, University of Southern California, Free Press
Kitior Ngu, University of Michigan, New America Foundation
Benjamin Pearson, University of Michigan, Internews
Laura Silver, Penn Annenberg placed at State Department


Katie Allen, University of Pennsylvania, Internews
Katherine Holland, University of California – Santa Barbara, Consumers Union
Dam Hee Kim, University of Michigan, Federal Communications Commission
Aalok Mehta, University of Southern California, New America Foundation
Brice Nixon, University of Colorado – Boulder, Media and Democracy Coalition
Jaclyn Selby,  University of Southern California, Center for Democracy and Technology
Jason Smith, George Mason University, New America Foundation
Sarah Stonbely, New York University, New America Foundation


Russ Newman, University of Southern California, Federal Communications Commission


Seyram Avle, University of Michigan, Internews and the Aspen Institute
George Nardis, University of Michigan, Alliance for Community Media


Ann-Katrin Arnold, University of Pennsylvania, World Bank
Matt Blanchard, University of Pennsylvania, Federal Communications Commission
Brett Bumgarner, University of Pennsylvania, Representative Maurice Hinchey‘s office (D-NY)
Russ Newman, University of Southern California, New America Foundation
Elliot Panek, University of Michigan, Media and Democracy Coalition
Olesya Venger, University of Pennsylvania, Center for Digital Democracy
William Youmans, University of Michigan, Senator Bernie Sanders’ Office (I-VT)


Hope Cummings, University of Michigan, Representative Maurice Hinchey‘s office (D-NY)
Antonio Lambino, University of Pennsylvania, World Bank
Sascha Meinrath, University of Illinois, Telecommunications Fellow (long term fellowship)
Russ Newman, University of Southern California, Senator Dick Durbin’s office (D-IL)
Mario Rodriguez, University of Pennsylvania, Senator Bernie Sanders’ Office (I-VT)


Brian Dolber, University of Illinois, Representative Diane Watson’s office (D-CA)
Kamilla Kovacs, University of Illinois, Representative Maurice Hinchey’s office (D-NY)


Victor Pickard, University of Illinois, Representative Diane Watson’s office (D-CA)


Ben Scott, University of Illinois, Representative Bernie Sanders‘ Office (I-VT)