This summer, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication will host 23 doctoral students and faculty in the 2022 PhDigital Online program. The following fellows have been selected, representing universities across the globe:

Ratna Ariyanti, doctoral student, Ohio University
Sevgi Baykaldi, doctoral student, Michigan State University
Mary Liz Brooks, assistant professor, West Texas A&M University
Kelli Burns, associate professor, University of South Florida
Yeon Erin Kim Cho, assistant professor, Grand View University
Rebecca Cooney, associate professor, Washington State University
Jenny Dean, assistant professor, Texas Wesleyan University
Kelly Fincham, lecturer, National University Ireland – Galway
Avery Green, doctoral student & assistant professor, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Patrick Johnson, doctoral student, University of Iowa
Kruthika Kamath, doctoral student, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Yen-I Lee, assistant professor, Washington State University
Lisa Lenoir, doctoral student, University of Missouri
Nikki McClaran, doctoral student, Michigan State University
Susan McFarlane-Alvarez, professor Clayton State University
Aimee Meader, associate professor, Winthrop University
Serena Miller, associate professor, Michigan State University
Magdalena Saldana, assistant professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Shudipta Sharma, doctoral student, Bowling Green State University
Terra Tailleur, assistant professor, University of King’s College
Matthew Taylor, faculty, Middle Tennessee State University
T.J. Thomson, assistant professor, Queensland University of Technology
Cindy Vincent, associate professor, Salem State University

PhDigital Online prepares mass communication faculty to lead curriculum innovation in a digital product context. The program is offered online, scheduled June 3-July 15. The participants have already begun interacting on the workshop’s Slack team.

The Knight Foundation has provided support for the program since 2018 totaling $225,000. Led by Dr. Cindy Royal, director of the Media Innovation Lab 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 to offer this program online in 2022, making the training accessible to more faculty in more media programs,” Royal said. “The continued interest PhDigital demonstrates the need to more aggressively integrate digital product concepts into doctoral education, as evidenced by trends in the media professions for which we are preparing students. Congratulations to the new cohort! We’re excited to begin working with them.”

The program has recruited faculty and advisers from 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.