STS Certificate Recipients
Dissertation: “Rewilding Patagonia”
Soledad Altrudi is a PhD candidate at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she works at the intersection of STS and media studies, and explores the various effects technology has on our environment as well as on human/non‐human‐other entanglements. Her dissertation focuses on Parque Nacional Patagonia as a case of rewilding in the Anthropocene, one that entails not only a conservation strategy but also works as a device for ordering human–nonhuman interactions in a highly mediatized environment.
Dissertation: “Sunsetting: How Social Networks Go Dark”
Frances Corry is a doctoral student in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Her research is concerned with technology, memory, and archives, and asks questions about how conceptions of the past are (or are not) shaped by technological change. Her dissertation examines the process of social media closure, colloquially known as ‘sunsetting,’ and its intersection with memory practices. Additional writing and research can be found in the International Journal of Communication, Computer Communication Review (CCR), Feminist Media Studies, First Monday and in the edited volume Uncertain Archives. More info: francescorry.net.
Edward B. Kang is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Broadly, his research concerns the social and cultural dimensions of machine learning technologies with a specific focus on the relationship between sound, race, and identity. In the specific context of his dissertation, he explores the sociotechnical imaginaries around vocal ontology as they relate to machine learning cultures, practices, and techniques in contemporary ‘machine listening’ systems such as voice identification, biometric, and analytic technologies. His writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Social Studies of Science, New Media & Society and the International Journal of Communication.
Current STS Certificate Students
Margaret Davis is a PhD student in USC’s Sociology department, and is advised by Professor Nina Eliasoph. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Georgia, and formerly worked at the Brooklyn Historical Society (now Center for Brooklyn History) in New York. Her current project explores technologies of mutual aid at the state and grassroots level that form the response to California’s present and growing state of wildfire emergency. Her areas of interest include science and technology studies, political sociology, environmental sociology, social theory, and qualitative methods.
Maria Labourt completed her master’s in International Studies at the University of San Francisco, California, funded by Fulbright and the USF International Studies department. For the first years of her Ph.D. program, she has been working on a project that builds on the case of the Los Angeles River and aims to elucidate the ways in which public life and knowledge coalesce in times of ecological crisis. The LAR is emblematic of the processes of settler colonialism, and the triumph of managerial expertise over nature and uncertainty. She has immersed herself in the academic debates of Science and Technology Studies (STS) by taking specific classes and also participating in STS working groups both on campus and across universities.
Rohan Grover is a doctoral student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His research focuses on internet policy and political communication in the US, India, and transnationally. Specifically, in his current projects he applies postcolonial and STS approaches to internet governance, analyzes the implications of platformization in politics, and studies digital activism as a global field. He is a graduate student affiliate with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at UNC.
Simogne Hudson’s research interests concern the history and politics of the telephone in carceral spaces. Informed by Science and Technology Studies and attending to the relationship between telecommunications and prison boundaries, her work highlights the powerful role the telephone plays in the broader prison network. With attention toward its status as an element of punishment as well as a tool of resistance, her work asks how we might further interrogate carceral infrastructure beyond its physical means of maintaining its borders.
Dan Lark is a 3rd year PhD student in cinema and media studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at USC. He received his BA in anthropology form the University of Buffalo (SUNY) and his MA in cinema and media studies from USC. His work blends humanistic and social scientific approaches, with interests in media studies, science and technology studies, television studies, livestreaming, vidio games, internet culture, qualitative research methods, and media theory. His proposed dissertation is an investigation into how livestreaming technologies shape and are shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Allie Lyamuya is a doctoral student at USC Annenberg. Her research interests lie at the intersection of emerging media technologies, transnational governance, and inequality. Specifically, she is interested in the use of algorithmic decision-making systems and other digital infrastructures by governments and humanitarian agencies in migration management and border control. In her recent project, she investigated the design and use of machine learning and predictive analytics by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in its field operations and humanitarian mission.
Allie holds a Master of Public Policy & Administration with a graduate certificate in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science, and a BA in Legal Studies with a minor in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before her doctoral studies, Allie worked as a research fellow with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. She also served as a program administrator for an educational nonprofit based in Boston.
Will Orr is a PhD student at USC Annenberg. His research examines the culture and politics of technologies, with an emphasis on the ways in which the cultural practices of data science shape subsequent technologies and the societies they inhabit. Will’s research has been presented at the American Sociological Association 2019 annual meeting, and published in Information, Communication and Society.
Will is an interdisciplinary scholar. Prior to joining the Annenberg School, Will completed a BA in Sociology and Politics at the University of Melbourne, an Honours degree in Sociology and a Master of Applied Data Analytics at the Australian National University. Will is also a member of the Justice and Technoscience (JusTech) lab at the Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet).
Srijita Pal is a doctoral student in the History department at USC. She received her Bachelor’s degrees in Microbiology and History from UC Davis and her Master’s degree in World History from New York University. Her research interests broadly cover Modern Europe, the history of science and medicine, and military history. Her dissertation focuses on the implications of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic for Germany during the First World War.
Pamela Perrimon is interested in environmental communication and the anthropocene. Her research lies in the ways in which scientific narratives are packaged and shared. She is interested in how we talk about biodiversity, Climate Change, nature, and why it matters. Her current research encompasses the intersection of action and memory with extinction and endangered species. She is also interested in questions of scientific literacy, institutional outreach, and accessibility in science and museum spaces.
Christopher J. Persaud is a PhD Student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Broadly, he is interested in how media and communication technologies are entangled with identity and popular culture. His research agenda includes projects about queer media and cultural production, video games and gaming cultures, digital sexual content, and online communities.
Jermaine Anthony Richards studies industrial globalization; his research investigates the relationship between the history and political economy of science, technology, and security; digital disruption and transformation; and the public interest. For example, his recent projects have considered how the 1997 Asian financial and economic crisis influences contemporary data-driven sustainable development in East and Southeast Asia.
Jermaine is also passionate about helping Black neurodivergent students interested in using information and communications technologies to tackle social problems.
Read more about Jermaine here.
William Russell is a scholar, filmmaker, and software developer interested in the intersection of computer science, philosophy, media theory, and activism, and is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. His current topic of study is an intersectional critique of the discourse surrounding smart technologies, paying special attention to their role production of urban and domestic space. He graduated with a B.A. in Film Studies from UCSB in 2004. Previously, he worked for 15 years as an industrial cinematographer, producer, and director, with notable clients such as the University of California Irvine, the March of Dimes, Samsung, AAMCO, ESPN, and Fox Business.
Toh Sook-Lin (she/her) is a first-year PhD student and Dornsife Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at USC. Her research looks broadly at the racialisation of technology, the digitisation and algorithmic governance of social life and identity. Situating her ethnographic fieldwork in tech-for-development initiatives in Southeast Asia, specifically those headquartered in Singapore, Sook-Lin aims to explore networks of labour and affective labour in machine learning, and its entanglements with localised notions of futurity and sociality, within the particular geopolitical and national orientations of the Singaporean developer.
Sook-Lin received her BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and her MSc in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London.
Hamsini Sridharan studies historical and contemporary entanglements of digital technologies with environmental imaginaries and speculative futures, asking how such entanglements shape the critique, contestation, and governance of technology.
Hamsini holds an MPA from the USC Price School of Public Policy, where she focused on digital media policy, as well as an MA in Anthropology from Columbia University, where she explored the sociocultural underpinnings of conservation genetics. Her undergraduate degree is in Anthropology and International Studies from the University of Chicago.
Jason Tuan Vu (he/they) is a first-year PhD student and Provost Fellow in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department at USC. His research interrogates the intersections of settler colonialism, militarism, and carcerality in the formation of global US empire. By engaging with the issue of Southeast Asian refugee deportation, he aims to chart a critical transpacific geography that links settler-military infrastructures to expanding US carceral power. In doing so, he hopes to bring Indigenous and refugee critiques of US empire into closer conversation, pointing toward resonant histories and potential futures of solidarity and resistance.
Johannes Weiler is a doctoral student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He is interested in the societal, political and ethical implications and underpinnings of the application of algorithms by organizations in the social realm.
Johannes holds an MS in Organization Studies from University Innsbruck in Austria, where he used qualitative methods to investigate a planned system of algorithmic classification at the Austrian Public Unemployment Service and its societal implications. Additionally, he holds an MA in Political Science, where he used quantitative approaches to investigate the incumbency advantage of mayors in Austria. For his master’s thesis he received the Marianne Barcal Price, awarded by the city of Innsbruck.