CMJ Graduate Students, 2023-2024

Julie Aprill joined our MA program in 2022. She earned a BA in Communication and Media Studies from Colorado State University in 2020. Her research interests include media psychology, parasocial relationships, and social media.

Email: julie.aprill@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Judith Rosenbaum-Andre
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)


Betty Nyameyie Armoo joined the MA program in Fall 2022 and has a BA in Communication Studies from the University of Cape Coast Ghana. Her interests are in Education and the successes and resilience of International Students.

Email: betty.armoo@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Judith Rosenbaum-Andre
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103) & Communication and Environment (CMJ 107)


Rebecca Bendure joined our MA program in 2023. She earned a BS in Zoology here at UMaine in 2010. Her passion for science has grown into research interests like science communication and the peer-review process, as well as rhetoric and how we speak to others about politics.

Email: rebecca.bendure@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Laura Rickard
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)


Alan Berry joined our PhD program in 2019. He holds an MS in Media Studies and a BFA in Film Production. His research interests include media literacy theory, practice, and policy; critical pedagogy and popular education; media ecology; misinformation and disinformation; screen studies; and the critique of news and advertising. Alan is currently based in the Greater Philadelphia area and is affiliated with the Scholars Strategy Network and Media Literacy Now.

Email: richard.berry@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Judith Rosenbaum-Andre
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103); Media Theories and Research Methods (CMJ 203); Film Criticism and Theory (CMJ/NMD 245)


Susan Bouchard is a PhD student in the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Email: susan.bouchard1@maine.edu

Advisor: Dr. Michael Socolow


Brianna Christie earned a BA in English and Communications at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts in 2022. Her research interests include intersectionality in cross-cultural texts and the Black experience. 

Email: brianna.christie@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Liliana Herakova
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)


Ernest Darkwa joined our PhD program in 2022. He holds an MSc in International Development from the University of Birmingham, UK. He also received a BA in Linguistics and Political Science from the University of Ghana. His research interests are in contemporary media, particularly social media use and its impacts on democratic participation. He is also interested in how social media use affects the participation of minorities and historically disadvantaged groups in society.

Email: ernest.darkwa@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Judith Rosenbaum-Andre
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)


Meng “Melanie” Gao joined our MA program in 2023. She earned an MS in Education at Johns Hopkins University and BS in Education at The Ohio State University. Her research interests include Intercultural and Organizational Communication.

Email: meng.gao@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Laura Rickard
Course taught: Interpersonal communication (CMJ102)


Mario Guevara joined our MA program in 2023. After working with several civil society organizations in El Salvador, his interests include LGBTQ studies, identity, migration and political propaganda. He also works with the aesthetics committee within the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Email: mario.guevara@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Michael Socolow
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)
Link: LinkedIn


Casey Kelly is a part-time PhD student in the Department of Communication and Journalism. His research focuses on the history and political economy of the media, with a focus on the social and cultural impact of the transition from broadcast to digital in public media, particularly on the practices of news workers, outlets, and audiences. Casey completed his master’s degree at UMaine in 2019. His thesis was titled “Sound Commodity: Contemporary Public Radio and Podcasting.” Casey is a former public radio journalist himself, having spent almost a decade in Alaska, where his stories won several state and regional awards. He now works as the communications coordinator for the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. Casey lives near Bangor with his wife, their two boys, a medium-large dog, and a diminutive cat.

Email: casey.kelly@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Michael Socolow


Larissa Little joined our MA program in 2022. They hold a BA in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2019. Their research interests include visual rhetoric, gender studies, and Queer theory. Larissa is also the SONA administrator

Email: larissa.little@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Nathan Stormer
Courses Taught: Interpersonal Communication (CMJ 102)


Carrie Loomis joined our MA program in 2022. She earned her BA in Chemistry and Environmental Science from Bucknell University. Her academic interests include risk communication, participatory science, and the intersection of people and nature. Her research investigates the communication of Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) risks in online spaces. Carrie is also a part of the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship.

Email: carrie.loomis@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Laura Rickard


Mania Mohseni joined our PhD program in Fall 2023. She earned her BS in Geology from the University of Tehran, her MA in Cinema from Tehran University of Art, and her second MA in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Maine. Her focus is on television and her current research interests are media psychology, narrative theory, character development, transportation, character identification, and feminism.

Email: seyedehmania.mohseni@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Laura Rickard
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)


Lara Naisbitt joined our PhD program in 2023. She holds a BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Maine and a MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons University, Boston. Her research interests include race theory, queer theory, Indigenous epistemology, rurality, and the Forest School movement.

Email: lara.naisbitt@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Hailey Schneider
Courses taught: Storytelling (CMJ 106)


Emmanuel Oduro joined the our MA program in Fall 2023. He holds a BA in Communication from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. His interests include health communication and the media. 

Email: emmanuel.oduro@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Michael Socolow
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103)
Link: Linkedin


Mariia Pugina joined our MA program in 2022. She earned her BA in International Relations in Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. Her research interests include political communication, campus politics, and social norms. In the summer of 2023 she became an Innovate for Maine Fellow and has professional experience in marketing and event management.

Email: mariia.pugina@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Haley Schneider
Courses Taught: CMJ 103 Public Speaking
LinkLinkedIn


Abby Roche joined our PhD program after earning an MA through our department in 2017. She earned a BS at Northern Michigan University in 2015. Abby’s work is centered around partnering with community science efforts focused on environmental risks, such as sea-level rise. She aims to co-develop, implement, and assess science communication practices that foster social capacity building. Abby works full-time at the Island Institute as a community development officer on projects related to community leadership, sea-level rise, and supporting the Island Fellows Program.

Email: abby.roche@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Laura Rickard
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103); Storytelling (CMJ 106); Environmental Communication (CMJ 107); Communication Theory (CMJ 202); Small Group Communication (CMJ 345); Advertising, Media, and Society (CMJ 380)
Link: https://abbyroche.weebly.com/


Jacob Russell joined our MA program in 2022 after earning a BA in Public Relations, Journalism/Media Communication, and Health Communication at Otterbein University. He has professional experience in sports, health, and nonprofit communication. Within his research interest of communication and media influence on health behavior, he is writing a departmental research paper on how viewing TikToks affects young adults’ lifestyle choice perceptions and intentions. He is also the communications graduate fellow for the Maine chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network. Working in and studying communication are special to Jacob as a person who stutters.

Email: jacob.j.russell@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Amelia Couture Bue
Courses Taught: Storytelling (CMJ 106)
Link: LinkedIn


Sheena Hunter Sheffield joined our PhD program in 2023. She holds a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from The University of Maine and an MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Georgia State University. Her research interests include body theory, body image, digital culture, and media psychology.

Email: sheena.sheffield@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Liliana Herakova


Jennifer Smith-Mayo joined our PhD program in 2019. She earned an MA in New Media at UMaine in 2011 and a BA in Communication at Goucher College in 1991. Her research interests include environmental communication; visual communication; rhetoric; ethnography; and engaged participatory research. Jennifer is currently affiliated with the Maine-eDNA EPSCoR project and the Environmental Communication Community of Practice.

Email: jennifer.smithmayo@maine.edu
Advisors: Dr. Bridie McGreavy and Dr. Heather Leslie
Courses Taught: Digital Imaging (ART/NMD 272); Public Speaking (CMJ 103); Film Criticism and Theory (CMJ/NMD 245)
Link: Google Scholar | ORCID


Clinton Spaulding joined our PhD program in 2017 after earning both his MA and BA at UMaine in 2008 and 2002. His research interests include media ecology; critical pedagogy; media history; and participatory action research. He is an undergraduate advisor for the CMJ department and also currently affiliated with Spire, the Maine Journal of Conservation and Sustainability, which is housed at UMaine.

Email: clinton.spaulding@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Paul Grosswiler
Courses Taught: Public Speaking (CMJ 103); Public Relations (CMJ 367); Modes of Media Criticism (CMJ 376)


Glendon Zernicke is an MA student in the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Email: glendon.zernicke@maine.edu
Advisor: Dr. Bridie McGreavy