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Student and Faculty Spotlight

Sarah Shiavone

Student Spotlight: Sarah Schiavone

Sarah Schiavone is a senior majoring in Psychology. Her current research scientifically explores beliefs and values of science fiction fan groups, known as fandoms. Specifically, she sought to investigate the relationships between fandom engagement (beliefs regarding religiosity and secularism) and attitudes towards women among fan groups. To do so, she developed the Fandom Engagement and surveyed over 600 attendants of convention and comic con events.

Her research offers insight into unique, frequently stereotyped subcultures by providing data on the behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes of individuals active in science-fiction fandoms. One such finding revealed significant differences in religious beliefs and sexist attitudes between fans of Star Trek and Star Wars. Sarah plans to continue her research to further explore aspects of fandom and nerd culture.

Dr. Mohamad Elmasry

Professor Political/Media Expert by Kelsey Hyche

Dr. Mohamad Elmasry, Assistant Professor of Communications, continually sets the bar high for not only other professors, but also students. Elmasry’s publication list is impressive, as is his recognition as an expert in Egyptian politics and media. Elmasry has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Al-Jazeera, and has often been quoted on international news outlets.

Elmasry’s insight on Egyptian political and media cultures comes from a few different places. "I’m fascinated by human communication in general," he said, "and how the mass media work, in particular."

Although he says that it is hard to choose a favorite project, Elmasry says that he enjoyed doing a specific study on American newspaper coverage of deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His study demonstrated some of the ways in which key elements in American journalism humanize one side of the conflict, but devalue the human life of the other side.

While managing multiple research projects at once is the norm for Elmasry, his current focus is on representations of race in American news media. He is currently working on a co-authored comparative critical discourse analysis of Fox News and CNN coverage of the 2015 Charleston church shooting. He expects to complete the project in late December, at which time he plans to begin work on another project. Elmasry is also working on a book project examining Muslim Brotherhood-produced media. He and his co-author are currently shopping for publishers.