2019 Recipients

Ramal Johnson

Ramal Johnson

Professor, Tidewater Community College, Virginia, United States

Ramal LaRon Johnson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and was raised in an itinerant military family. He earned his bachelor’s degree in theatre/film production from St. Augustine’s University, and he earned his master’s degree in mass communication & media studies from Norfolk State University. While studying for his PhD, Ramal served as an intern at the White House with the Office of Presidential Correspondence. He currently works as a communications professor in Virginia. With plans to return to school to finish his PhD, Ramal’s academic focus is the American media’s depiction of traditionally underrepresented demographics and how the depictions influence aspects of society, such as public policy, employment, and healthcare.

Maha Tazi

Maha Tazi

Communication Studies Program, Concordia University, Canada

Maha Tazi is a feminist artist-activist and a Ph.D. candidate in the Communication Studies Program at Concordia University. She is interested in women’s creative disobedience forms in post-Arab Spring North Africa. Her research focuses particularly on women’s graffiti, political cartoons, slam poetry, theatre and installation art in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. Maha is currently working on an art photography project to raise awareness about the backlash against women’s rights in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, as well as on a slam poetry project where she reflects, through her own experiences, on Moroccan immigrant women’s lack of sense of belonging to both their country of origin and the host country because of the double burden of sexism at home and racism abroad.

At Concordia, Maha teaches a Critical Race Feminisms course at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia and Media Criticism course in the Communication department. Previously, she studied International and Middle Eastern Studies in Morocco, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and Women’s Studies at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) Paris. She also worked and volunteered with several women's NGOs in the Middle East and North Africa region, such as Association Solidarite Feminine in the city of Casablanca, where she helped single mothers learn a new profession and re-integrate into a society that once shattered them. She was also a volunteer writer with Ananke Mag, an online interactive platform based in Dubai and engaging women across the MENA (and beyond) on issues pertaining to women’s rights. More recently, she held the position of Program Manager with Empowering Women in the Atlas, a social initiative which aims to engage rural women in economic growth and sustainable development in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, prior to moving to Canada.

Jyoti Keshwani (Joy)

Jyoti Keshwani (Joy)

Tutor, School of Education, Murdoch University, Australia

A passionate educator with rich experience in the secondary school sector - responsible for Pedagogical curriculum design ( ESL & Applied Linguistics/TESOL), delivery and audit including facilitating teacher development.

Also served as Head of School for a K-12 institution for 5 years in India. Currently pursuing doctoral research with focus on critical ethnography, intercultural studies, and critical pedagogy. Presently working as an academic tutor in the School of Education at Murdoch University.

She loves travelling, painting and poetry.

​Allison McClain Merrill

​Allison McClain Merrill

Yale University, United States

Allison McClain Merrill is a recent graduate of Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music where she earned a Master of Arts in Religion and the Arts (in the concentration of Religion and Music). She also has a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Science in English from Jacksonville University. Allison loves to study television, literature, religion, and music. She sings and plays the piano and lives in Connecticut with her husband, who is also a musician. Allison dedicates her work to her Granddaddy, who was a true connoisseur of good television.

Drishti J. Verma

Drishti J. Verma

University of Delhi, India

Drishti J. Verma combines interests in Media, Technology and Entrepreneurship into her interdisciplinary undergraduate research. She is currently a final year undergraduate student doing her majors in Multi Media and Mass Communication with minors in Philosophy. Her interest in research, especially around the E-commerce Industry and Globalization of Media has added various awards to her credit. She was awarded the Department All Round Best Student Award at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, India this year for excellence in academics and co-curricular activities. She has presented her research papers at the college level, state level and national level. This is the first time she is presenting her paper at an international platform. In addition to her research, she is also working on a community-based app model which can successfully help college students with college applications and proceedings for their masters program.

Emily Edwards

Emily Edwards

Bowling Green State University, United States

Emily Edwards is a doctoral student in Bowling Green State University’s American Culture Studies Program and serves as co-producer of the Fembot Collective podcast Books Aren’t Dead. She received her Masters of Arts from New York University's Center for European and Mediterranean Studies where she served as the Max Weber Research Fellow. She is concerned with the negotiation of national identity, race, and power through cultural and media forms and has most recently explored these issues in Germany as a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) visiting researcher at the University of Leipzig’s Department of Sociology.

Nieke Monika Kulsum

Nieke Monika Kulsum

Lecturer, Department of Communication, Universitas Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Nieke Monika Kulsum, is a lecturer at Department of Communication at Universitas Nasional in Jakarta, Indonesia where she has been a faculty member since 2006. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Communication Management from The University of Indonesia in 2002. Her research interests lie in the area of Social Marketing Communication, Behavioral change, Media Literacy, Social Media, and Gender. She publishes her research in many journals and proceeding, also attending and served many conferences as speakers and program committees. Nieke was an authors for books about social marketing communication, she enjoyed reading and traveling much. Now she lives with her family in Jakarta and has three adorable son’s.

​Afshana Parveen Hoque

​Afshana Parveen Hoque

Illinois State University, United States

Afshana Parveen Hoque is a recent graduate of Illinois State University with an MS in Communication. Coming from a business studies background, her primary research interests include inter-generational communication, workplace communication, and ageism in the workplace. Hoque also takes interest in food studies, intercultural/ inter-ethnic communication and social media studies. She intends to obtain a Ph.D. in Communication in the near future.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with the residents of her local senior assisted living facility.

Daniel Edem Adzovie

Daniel Edem Adzovie

Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic

Daniel Edem Adzovie is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Faculty of Multimedia Communications of Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic. Edem has worked in advertising, public relations, new media and graphic design. Before embarking on his current study, he was a full time staff of the Department of Communication Studies of University of Cape Coast, Ghana where he was involved in teaching and research. His present research focuses on portrayal of sex scenes in African video films and its relationship with culture. Edem’s research interests include: African/Ghanaian cinema, media, health communication, advertising and visual culture. He hopes to become a great scholar in multimedia communications.

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Nadia Haq

Nadia Haq

University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Nadia is a doctoral researcher based at the University of Bristol. Her research examines the underlying tensions faced by journalists between the traditional value sets associated with mainstream journalism such as a commitment to objectivity, truth and democracy and the counter-evidence of discriminatory and sensationalist news coverage on British Muslims. The underlying aim of her research is to seek normative indications of how a democratic media can enable public debate of politically contested topics without leading to the marginalisation of a particular group.

Nadia’s wider research interests include media discourse and rhetoric, multiculturalism, ethnicity and religion, discourse analysis and political and social contestation. For ten years, Nadia worked as an international business journalist in the Middle East. Before this, she worked in research and development for a major political communications consultancy based in Westminster, London.

Neha Hooda

Neha Hooda

University of Debrecen, Hungary

Neha Hooda is a media practitioner, teacher and researcher. Currently, she is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Debrecen, Hungary and has been a visiting research student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Her areas of work include films and television with a focus on content for children. She has worked with several prominent film studios globally. Her work can be accessed using this link: imdb/neha hooda . It was her time of working in the film business that led her to pursue research in the field of media. She combines her expertise and learnings from media industry work with academic work. With her research, she hopes to bridge the gap between content makers and content consumers.

Zsolt Szabolcsi

Zsolt Szabolcsi

Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Zsolt Szabolcsi is a doctoral student of communication studies and sociology at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. The focus of his research is the media consumer and their receptivity to political communication in relation to their socioeconomic and sociocultural embeddedness. Besides the research projects he participated on the content analysis of online news portals, he is also a research assistant at the Institute of Sociology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Zsolt has developed his interest about social psychology and communication during his master and bachelor degree at Central European University and at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Francis Gbadago

Francis Gbadago

University of Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom

Francis Gbadago is currently a Ph.D candidate of the University of Salford, Manchester, in the United Kingdom.

The tittle of his research is: "Participatory Communication for Community Development: The Ghanaian Experience."

He has a background in Public Relations, Journalism and Development Communication. He obtained his Bachelors degree in Communication Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism and his Master's degree in Development Communication from the University for Development Studies, Tamale in Ghana. He also holds a Diploma in Industrial Relations from the Association of Business Executives (ABE), UK.

Before starting his PhD journey in the field of Development Communication, he served as the Public Relations Officer/Spokesperson for Ghana's Ministry of Education. He became the 2019 recipient of the Best Post-graduate Student Award for his paper presented at the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) Conference held at the University of Sterling, Scotland, in January.

He is also a teacher by profession and he hopes to develope his carreer in the academia and the industry.

Nelly Dux

Nelly Dux

ISM International School of Management, Germany

Having recently graduated from the International School of Management in Hamburg, Germany, with a masters degree in psychology and management, Nelly Dux was able to gain some learning experience in the field of consumer psychology with focus on marketing communication through new media technologies. Combined with her bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, she has developed a great interest in the workings of the human psyche and how the current technological advances have led to a shift in societal values. In line with her experience in the cinematographic field, her understanding of the technical properties for the different types of media such as virtual reality has inspired her to integrate those aspects into her master research.

Having grown up in different parts of the world, she is fond of traveling, learning new languages and is passionate about art. She hopes to incorporate intercultural differences into her research and is looking to pursue a PhD in the field of psychology and media.

In Their Words

I learned the importance of listening to other scholars and soaking up the experience. I also learned the importance of being supportive and having an open mind toward multiple worldviews. I learned how to be relaxed even when there were stressful, high stake moments. By talking with the other scholars and conference participants, I felt I was more able to assist other scholars in high stress situations.

Andrew Pratt, 2014 Awardee

My team building and communication skills have been tremendously enhanced by serving as a moderator in an interactive international group setting which the conference provided.

Dellarue Howard, 2015 Awardee