Speakers 2017

Panel 1: Mediated Self

Academic Panelists

Catherine Burgess

Catherine Burgess

Twitter: @_cathburg
Instagram: @_cathburg
Facebook: Catherine Burgess
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/cathburg

Catherine Burgess is a graduate student at Brooklyn College, where she is pursuing an M.S. in Media Studies, with a concentration in Media Literacy. She currently serves on the Student Leadership Council for the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and as the Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Media Literacy Education. Earlier this year, she was awarded the Nathan Cedars Scholarship from Brooklyn College.


Catherine will speak about the influence of social media images on adolescents’ identity development and the phenomenon of online “startup celebrities.”

Peter Miller Peter Brodie Miller is a long-time community media and technology practitioner, journalist, and researcher. As a member of the Community Media and Technology Program at the UMass/Boston College of Public and Community Service along with teaching, he directed the AmeriCorps Community Technology Centers (CTC) VISTA Project, later transformed into the transmissionproject.org, and edited The Community Technology Review. Peter received his PhD in Community Technology and Political Theory from the University of California at Santa Cruz in the History of Consciousness Program in 2010 and has been involved with Technology and Digital Media Support for Cuba and the Solidarity movement since December 2014. He blogs about these matters at peterbmiller.wordpress.com. His presentation is based upon a summary paper and workshop on the same theme given at the National Conference on Cuba at Fordham University in March.


Peter will speak about how technology and media, both mainstream and activist, have been complicit in the development of troubling policies and practices in Cuba.

Zexin Ma
Zexin (Marsha) Ma is a PhD candidate at Department of Communication, University of Maryland. Her research interests include health and risk communication, persuasion and attitude change, and entertainment and immersive media. Specifically, her research program seeks to understand how and why narratives/stories can be used to effectively communicate health risks and promote attitudinal/behavioral change. In addition, she is interested in investigating the psychological and social effects of media with an emphasis on entertainment and immersive media (e.g., virtual reality &  360-degree videos). She has four peer-reviewed publications (three of the four publications are first- or sole-authored) and over a dozen conference presentations in her area of specialization. At the University of Maryland, Marsha has independently taught Health Communication and Oral Communication. She currently serves as the research assistant at the Center for Health and Risk Communication at University of Maryland.


Zexin will speak about immersive mediated environments and the underlying psychological mechanisms, such as presence and empathy.

Industry Panelist

Jason Kint
CEO of Digital Content NextScreen Shot 2017-06-01 at 14.17.05
Twitter: @Jason_Kint
Jason Kint is CEO of Digital Content Next, the only trade association to exclusively serve the unique and diverse needs of high-quality digital content companies that manage trusted, direct relationships with consumers and marketers. Jason is focused on guiding the organization’s’ diverse and powerful group of members — from established media brands such as The New York Times, NBC, Conde Nast and ESPN, to digital natives, such as Vox, Slate and Business Insider — into the future and on setting the agenda for discussions on issues ranging from net neutrality to revenue innovation to privacy. Jason also serves as Chairman of TrustX, a cooperative digital advertising marketplace designed to address the industry’s trust, transparency and accountability challenges in digital advertising. TrustX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DCN operating as a public benefit corporation (B Corp).

A 20-year veteran of the digital media industry, Jason led the evolution of CBS Sports into a multi-platform brand offering premier broadcast, online and mobile sports content as SVP and General Manager of CBS Interactive’s Sports Division and served in various executive roles launching and leading the websites for Sporting News and all of Times Mirror Magazines’ flagship websites under the ownership of Times Mirror, Paul Allen and later Condé Nast. Jason has a deep passion for journalism and evolving venerable brands into their multi-platform digital future.

Panel 2: Real Emotions

Academic Panelists

Alicia Hong

Personal Site: www.aliciahong.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alicia-jingning-hong

Alicia is a graduate student enrolled in Marketing Communication Research program at Boston University (BU). She has great passion for virtual reality technology and is a strong believer in its power to bolster human intelligence, create awareness, inspiration and social change. Her work at BU explores the mind-and-body relationship within different media contexts in VR using biometric devices and psychological measurements. After graduation, she wants to work for a cutting-edge technology company that provides a meaningful service and dives deep in social dynamics to further human intelligence. She hopes that her work will help infuse social science in the simulation outcomes to effectively inform audience of the implicit messages explored and redefined through the virtual environment.


Alicia will speak about original research on how virtual reality and immersion can produce transcendent experiences and feelings of elevation and empathy.

Aishwarya Viswanathan


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AishyV
Instagram: @bluberry_muffin18

Aishwarya Viswanathan is a graduate student from India, currently pursuing her Masters in Aesthetics and Visual Cultures from Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology, Bangalore. She holds a degree in Visual Arts and has been awarded the proficiency prize for the academic year 2015-2016. Her artwork has been exhibited as part of group shows and art festivals. She has also co-curated a video art exhibition for Video Vortex XI, a traveling conference series concerned with the aesthetics and politics of online video. Her areas of interest include digital media culture, philosophy, and new media art. In her research, she is currently exploring the aesthetics of online video and its role in transforming human interaction and engagement.


Aishwarya will speak about the recent trend of live-streaming suicides and crimes online and the spectatorship of death.

Yiyan Zhang

Yiyan Zhang

Social media:
Twitter: @Yiyan411

Yiyan Zhang is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in Emerging Media Studies at College of Communication at Boston University. Prior to BU, Yiyan earned her bachelor degree in advertising (major) and economy (minor) from School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University, China. She also worked as a research assistant in Laboratory of Public Opinions at School of New Media at Peking University. Yiyan’s previous studies involve media frame of environmental issues online, national image of China on foreign media, and public opinion expression on social media. Her current research interests include the relationship between emerging media and civic engagement, especially on political issues. As an international student, Yiyan is always trying to adopt a comparative perspective and collaborate with researchers from different cultural background.


Yiyan Zhang will speak about original research on how meaningful media can elicit mixed affective responses and psychological empowerment with culture as a moderator.

Industry Panelist

Jason Carrasco

Twitter: @jscarrasco
Instagram: @jscarrasco
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasoncarrasco/

Jason Carrasco is the Vice President of Digital Media at Gupta Media, and agency specializing in promoting content and driving sales in the entertainment space. He has been with the agency for 12 years, as its first employee hired, and has grown his department to a 25-person team, working with clients like Sony, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, Amazon and others. Prior to joining Gupta, Jason graduated from Syracuse, where he studied Advertising and Psychology. He currently lives in Westwood with his wife and two children. He is a connoisseur of Mexican food and an avid obstacle course racer.

Panel 3: Fake News

Academic Panelists

Lidia Valera-Ordaz


Facebook: Lidia Valera Ordaz

Lidia Valera-Ordaz, Ph.D. in Communication (University of Valencia, 2014) and specialist in Data Analysis and Research Methods (CIS, 2016) currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Valencia. She is visiting Suffolk University for six months working on the project “Frame Building and Frame Sponsorship concerning Catalonia’s Independence”. She has published a dozen of peer-reviewed articles, participated in two funded Spanish research projects and taught courses on political communication and public opinion. She has been a visiting scholar in Paris 8, Boston College and Sciences Po. Her research interests focus on public opinion, political communication and new media.


Lidia will speak about the democratic value of political discussion on Facebook, using an analysis of comments on Spanish political parties’ pages.

Shing Yun Chiang Shing-Yun Chiang received a B.A. in journalism from National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan, in 2013. She is currently a graduate student of Information Design and Visualization program at Northeastern University, Boston. Her interests include data visualization, data journalism and UI/UX design.


Shing will speak about the creation of a project that analyzed and visualized the sentiment of more than a year of fake news articles.

Alex Rochefort Alex is a second-year student in the M.S. program in Corporate and Organizational Communication at Northeastern University. He is also completing coursework in policy analysis at Northeastern’s Graduate School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. His research focuses on the political economy of new media, with special attention on the impact of social media algorithms on political discourse and ideological polarization. Related interests include mass data collection and digital privacy issues. Prior to attending graduate school, Alex was employed for two years as a social media professional in New York City with Superfly, the company that created and now produces the popular annual music festivals Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. In 2015, he received his B.S. in Music Industry from Northeastern University with a minor in Sociology.  


Alex will speak about the phenomenon of social-media-induced political polarization and solutions for enhancing online transparency and public accountability of social media providers.

Industry Panelists

Geordie McClelland


altr Founder, Chief of Strategy

Experience Strategy & Design


We Design The Future Every Day

Founder, and Chief of Strategy at altr, an user experience and digital marketing collective working with clients including athenahealth, Iora Health, and Jitterbit. Prior to founding altr, Geordie led product design and marketing efforts for media clients including Thomson Reuters, McGraw-Hill (Businessweek), and The Christian Science Monitor.


Shyam Sundar


Twitter: @Shyamer

Facebook: @S. Shyam Sundar

LinkedIn: @S. Shyam Sundar

S. Shyam Sundar (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a distinguished professor of communications and the founding director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University, USA. Supported by the US National Science Foundation, Dr. Sundar conducts experiments on the social psychological effects of a variety of digital media, ranging from websites and social media to mobile phones, robotics, and internet of things. A frequently cited source on technology, Sundar has testified before Congress as an expert witness and delivered talks at several universities around the world. He is editor of the first-ever Handbook on the Psychology of Communication Technology (Wiley; 2015) and currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

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