Welcome our Fall 2020 Incoming MATX/PhD Class

August 12, 2020

Please welcome our Fall 2020 incoming MATX/PhD class...

Entesar Albarakati obtained her Bachelor's degree in media with a specialization in public relations from Um al-Qura University, KSA in 2013, and her Master's degree in Sciences and Public relations from Quinnipiac University, USA in 2019. She is currently a lecturer at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. During her studies, she was interested in attending several training courses to develop her media skills and participated in many student activities that further enhanced her skills. Entesar has also worked as a researcher with the Authority of Tourism and Antiquities, in the management of exhibitions, as a trainer and marketer.

Mohammed Alsulami received a Bachelor's degree in TV, Radio, and Film from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University in 2013 and a Masters in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts from Central Michigan University in 2019. He worked in Mecca newspaper, MBC radio, and produced several news stories and short films. He has also worked as a Teaching Assistant in the College of Media and Communication at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University in Saudi Arabia. Mohammed has taught many courses that focus on screenwriting and writing for TV and Radio. His research interests are focused on the film industry, politics, and new media, and he has presented several research papers at national conferences in Saudi Arabia and America.

KáLyn T. Banks-Coghill received her Bachelors of Arts from Old Dominion University in Creative Writing Poetry and Linguistics. She then received her Masters of Arts from Bowie State University in Organizational Communications. While working on her Master’s, she worked as a freelance digital media manager and content creator and began teaching at the collegiate level. Her research focuses around the harassment of Black women online, specifically on social media websites like Twitter. Her work goes inward and then outward allowing her to focus on the safety of Black women. She hopes that her work will not only challenge the academy but force it to broaden the dearth of research and applicable solutions for Black women’s safety.

Lauren C. Garcia earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of South Florida and her Masters of Science in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Lauren is responsible for several community-centered projects in the city of Richmond, including a multi-organization winter drive and the Race, Space, Place Initiative's 2019 DATUM unConference. Her work has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her research interests include the role of digital platforms and websites in the spread of white supremacy, and the aesthetics of white supremacist groups.

Aurora Higgs is a Black queer visionary from Richmond, VA. Aurora transitioned in 2018 and uses her platform to fight injustice. She’s a speaker, performer, and producer of media that elevate queer POCs voices. Aurora will be studying the relationship trans people of color have with digital media.

Christopher Irving, asst professor of media in Communication Arts at VCU School of the Arts, is a pop culture historian and essayist. His work includes the books: Leaping Tall Buildings: Origin of the American Comic Book, Dean Haspiel: The Early Years, Conversations: Larry Hama, and the web project Graphic NYC. He worked as associate editor of the award-winning Comic Book Artist magazine and his writing appeared in publications New York Magazine, Comics Buyer's Guide, and Back Issue Magazine. Through VCU classes Star Wars Decoded, History of Visual Communication, The Superhero (online), Irving emphasizes the intersection between history and media development across platforms.

Madison Manning (she/her) is an artist, educator and lesbian. Manning holds her BFA in Jewelry Design + Metalsmithing from Texas Tech University and her MFA in Sculpture + Performance from New Mexico State University. She has been Artist-in-Residence at DE-CONSTRUKT [projekts] in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Arts, Letters & Numbers in Averill Park, New York. Her art work has been shown at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois as well as throughout Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and New Mexico. Manning’s research has been both published and presented. Her article, “Honest Queer Art Education in the South,” has been published in Visual Arts Research Journal: Queering Art Education. She has presented her research, Queer & Camp: Lies To Tell The Truth, at SECAC. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Media, Art & Text program focusing on the intersection of queer theory and craft materiality.

Latryce Noel earned a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a Master's in Media Management with a concentration in Public Relations from Virginia State University. She worked for Virginia State University in several communications capacities and as an adjunct instructor in the graphic design and mass communication departments, where she developed a love for mentoring and nurturing students. Noel also worked at Virginia Commonwealth University managing digital alumni communications. Her research interests revolve around developing academic programs that include publishing, digital and visual communications.

Joshua J. Smith holds both a Bachelor's and Master's in Mass Communication with a strategic focus in public relations from Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally, Smith has contributed to individual and group research for academic conferences and publications in the areas of media ethics, health care communication, and social media. Smith has an ongoing interest in the growing field of media psychology with a related passion for media literacy, technology and public relations. Over the last decade Smith has applied his knowledge and skills to communication and marketing roles with statewide nonprofit, health care and business-to-business organizations, operating in both management and leadership roles in the industry. He is a full-time faculty member of public relations at The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture with instruction spanning the public relations curriculum.