This May, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication will welcome 20 doctoral students and early career faculty to the second PhDigital Bootcamp. The following participants have been selected — out of 71 applications — for the program:

Brooke Auxier, doctoral student University of Maryland

Irene Awino, doctoral student University of Oregon

Paisley M. Benaza, doctoral student Arizona State University

Prashanth Bhat, doctoral student University of Maryland

Michael Buozis, doctoral student Temple University

Ayleen Cabas-Mijares, doctoral student University of Missouri

Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, doctoral student University of Texas at El Paso

Gabriel Dominguez Partida, doctoral student  Texas Tech University

Jason Guthrie, assistant professor Samford University; doctoral student University of Georgia

Ceri Hughes, doctoral student University of Wisconsin

Tatsiana Karaliova, assistant professor Butler University; doctoral degree University of Missouri

Sonali Kudva, doctoral student Kent State University

Jeslyn Lemke, assistant professor Rhode Island College; doctoral degree University of Oregon

Jo Ann Livingston, doctoral student University of North Texas

Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed, doctoral student Pennsylvania State University

Emmanuel Nwachukwu, assistant professor Winthrop University; doctoral student University of Southern Mississippi

Kirstin Pellizzaro, instructor University of South Carolina; doctoral student Arizona State University

Ingrid Sturgis, associate professor and doctoral student Howard University

Lewen Wei, doctoral student Pennsylvania State University

Chi Zhang, doctoral student University of Southern California

The PhDigital Bootcamp prepares mass communication future faculty to lead curriculum innovation. The program is an online/in-person hybrid, with the in-person workshop scheduled May 15-21 in the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. The participants have already begun interacting on the workshop’s Slack team and will begin online modules the week of March 4.

Thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, these 20 scholar-educators will receive training, transportation, lodging, materials and meals for the in-person workshop in May. The Knight Foundation has provided support from the program through 2020.

“Journalism educators have a leading role to play in ensuring the newsrooms of tomorrow innovate and adapt to new information demands,” said LaSharah Bunting, Knight Foundation director for journalism.  “The first cohort of PhDigital Bootcamp participants took on that charge, helping to establish a standard for constant learning in the field. And, with these future cohorts, we look forward to seeing how that continues to evolve over the coming years.”

Led by Dr. Cindy Royal, director of the MILab and a digital innovator with experience in curriculum redesign, the workshop will help participants develop strategies for staying up-to-date and sharing knowledge with students and faculty.

“We are thrilled by the continued demand for this program and the ongoing support of Knight Foundation,” Royal said. “This definitely demonstrates the need to more aggressively integrate digital concepts into doctoral education. Congratulations to the new cohort! We’re excited to begin working with them.”

Participant Prashanth Bhat applied for the program to gain exposure to a broad range of digital topics. “I’m hoping to acquire digital skills, including fundamentals of coding, web design and multimedia storytelling,” Bhat said. “I also hope to develop an in-depth understanding of APIs and online data gathering, which will help me in my academic research.”

Kirsten Pellizzaro is looking forward to sharing career insights with other participants in the program. “I’m excited to meet, collaborate with and learn from other scholars from all over the country and world,” Pellizzaro said. “It will be great to be surrounded by those that are in the same transitional period, moving from a doctoral program to assistant professor.”

The program has recruited faculty and advisers from the SJMC and members of the media community who are leaders in virtual reality and 360 video, drones, data, social media, coding, multimedia storytelling and media innovation. More information, including online module materials, is available at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit


About the Media Innovation Lab
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication opened the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) in Fall 2016. The MILab provides Texas State University with a central point for a broad range of digital media activities – scholarship, curriculum, courses, faculty development, community networking and events. Users are able to experiment with 360 video, drones, sensors and other emerging technologies and receive training in a range of web development and social media techniques. MILab faculty are committed to continuous learning and staying on the cutting edge of the intersection of technology and communication.


About the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication, housed in historic Old Main, offers a nationally accredited curriculum that introduces graduate and undergraduate students to the broad framework of mass communication, emphasizing what is fundamental to advertising, journalism, public relations, electronic media and the newest degree in digital media innovation. The mission of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is to pursue excellence. Our programs strive to cultivate strong professional, research, theoretical, critical and ethical skills in a diverse and engaging environment that prepares students to be socially responsible media professionals, scholars and citizens.