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Current Students in the PhD program in Communication, New Media, and Cultural Studies

J. Burbage (she/her/hers)
MA–Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies, York University
BA–Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies, York University

J. Burbage is a second year PhD candidate in the Communication, New Media and Cultural
Studies program at McMaster University. She holds a BA and an MA from York University’s
Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies program where she focused on sex and subjectivity for the bisexual subject. She is currently engaged in research related to the liberatory uses of the abject in art and body practice from an anti-assimilationist queer perspective.
Faculty Advisor: Liss Platt (Supervisor)

Alejandro Franco Briones (he/him/his)
MA–Communication and New Media, McMaster University (2019)

Alejandro is a composer, live coder and sound artist from Mexico City. Some of his salient interests are: time-oriented music, network art ecologies and musical/technological notational systems. Alejandro has been awarded with Prince Claus Mobility Fund, Sony Forward creativity award and the CONACYT-FONCA scholarship for post-doctoral studies abroad. He his presented papers in the International Conference on Live Coding Conference in its third and fourth iteration, the Electroacoustic Music Seminar in Mexico City and participated in many independent experimental music festivals and concerts. Alejandro is currently a teacher assistant in McMaster University teaching Digital Audio and a Research Assistant in the Network Imagination Laboratory directed by David Ogborn developing the online music platform Estuary.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Ogborn (Supervisor)

Niloofar Hooman (she/hers)
Ph.D–Communication, University of Tehran (2019)
MA–Cultural Studies and the Media, University of Tehran (2010)
BA–Social Communications, University of Tehran (2007)

Niloofar’s intellectual interests are social media, digital feminism, and representation of gender in media. Her thesis project focuses on Iranian feminists and the creative ways they use social media to collaborate and create awareness of women’s rights despite cultural taboos,governmental restrictions, legal discrimination, and traditional media stereotyping which uniquely oppress women. She critically investigates how Iranian feminists’ activists mobilize on Instagram and push back against constraints on females by government and tradition. Niloofar was rated 3rd among all Ph.D. participants in Iran’s Ph.D. Entrance Exam. Her travel to McMaster University as a visiting graduate student in January 2018 was funded by the University of Tehran where she completed her first Ph.D. Then she decided to apply for the second Ph.D. in Communication, New Media, and Cultural Studies program at McMaster
University. She has published several papers and attended conferences related to social media,
cinema, women’s empowerment, and Islamic feminism fields. Connect with Niloofar through her
email address:
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Paula Gardner (Supervisor)

Fizza Kulvi (she/her/hers)
MA–Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University (2017)
BA–Political Sciences and History, University of Alberta (2014)

Fizza’s dissertation focuses on international communications policy with specific reference to speech regulation. She is interested in the legal interplay between freedom of expression, freedom of religion and religious defamation. Her interdisciplinary project stems from her background in political science with an emphasis on the politics of the global South. Other research interests include ICT4D, internet regulation and surveillance studies.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sara Bannerman (Supervisor)

Luis Navarro Del Angel (he/him/his)
MA–Communication and New Media, McMaster University (ON, Canada) (2016 – 2017)
BA–(Licenciatura) Popular Music Composition, Academia de Música Fermatta, (Mexico City, Mexico) (2005 – 2013)

Luis’s research is about creating a computer music software inflected by Latinx and Latin American musical expressions derived from political resistance and opposition. Luis expects this software to be an ideology critique of the dominant computer-music world system. Luis’ project will connect knowledge and practice from the interdisciplinary fields of critical code studies, new interfaces for musical expression, live coding, and Latin American musicology with the decolonial approaches of border thinking and participatory action research. In 2017, Luis was co-chair of the International Coding Conference on Live 2017 (CMMAS, Mexico). Luis is also a member of the live coding collective RGGTRN and has presented at venues in Mexico, Spain (2014), France (2014), the UK (2016), Colombia (2018), Perú (2018), Ecuador (2018), USA (2019). He is also a part of the Cybernetic Orchestra directed by Dr. David Ogborn, where he has performed at venues in Canada (2016), Mexico (2017), Denmark (2017), and Spain (2019). Contact Luis at or
Faculty Advisors: Dr. David Ogborn (main advisor), Dr. Christina Baade, Dr. Rossana Lara.

Gil Niessen (they/them/theirs)
MA—Communication and New Media, McMaster University, (2019)
BA—Professional Communications, Ryerson University, (2018)

Gil’s fields of interest currently include game studies, labour studies, governance, and public scholarship. Gil’s past work features mixed media, arts-based projects in exhibits such as Enmeshed and Imaginary Landscapes 7, and an MRP titled Selling Out-ness, a semiotic and discursive examination of queer Canadian advertising. Gil’s dissertation intervenes at the intersection of game studies and governance, exploring how the streaming service Google Stadia attempts to extend its internet sovereignty to the video game industry through further acquisition of user-citizens. Gil sits on a variety of committees such as the GSA’s Executive Review Committee and CUPE 3906’s Grievance Committee, and consulted for the Communication and Multimedia programs’ IQAP review. Gil enjoys many forms of making, such as woodcarving, textiles production, and mixed media sculpture.
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Andrea Zeffiro (Supervisor)

Clementine Oberst (she/her/hers)
MLitt–Film and Television Studies, University of Glasgow (2018)
BA–Cultural Studies, McGill University (2016)

Clementine is broadly interested in how popular culture replicates and resists dominant ideologies, particularly those related to patriarchy, white supremacy, heteronormativity, neoliberalism, and capitalism. Her thesis work interrogates the strategic use of camp aesthetics and modes of performance in North American reality television. She is generally interested in the aesthetic, rhetorical, and political strategies of reality television. Other interests include representations of LGBTQ+ people in screen media; representations of HIV/AIDS; representations of female illness; and celebrity and star image.
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Christine Quail (Supervisor)

Julia Prudhomme (she/her/hers)
PhD-c.–Communication, New Media and Cultural Studies, McMaster University (Current)
MFA–Interdisciplinary Studies, University of British Columbia (2013)
BA–Visual Arts, Brock University (2011)

Julia Prudhomme is a curator and an artist. She is developing a feminist curatorial practice that focuses upon artistic process, experimentation, and care within (and against) institutions. In addition to curatorial projects Julia has completed a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at University of British Columbia (2013). Her artistic practice is often collaborative, working in video and installation, archives and curation, and has presented this work across Canada, United States and Europe. Julia has contributed to small town art galleries and artist-run centres in numerous capacities for over ten years and continues this work as a PhD candidate at McMaster University (2017-present) and Executive Director of Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC (2019-present).
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Amber Dean and Dr. Paula Gardner (Co-supervisors)

Jessica Sage Rauchberg (she/her/hers)
MA–Communication, University of South Florida (2019)
BA–Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University (2017)

Jess’s work is situated in critical/cultural communication, digtial humanities, and queer/disability studies. Her thesis project engages with somatechnics and critical disability studies to reimagine discourses and portrayals of health and marginality in popular media and digital cultures. Jess has received Top Paper and Top Student Awards from organizations like National Communication Association (NCA), International Communication Association (ICA), and Western States Communication Association (WSCA). She is currently a research assistant for Dr. Paula Gardner’s ABLE project in the Pulse Humanities Lab and is the incoming Student/Early Career Representative for ICA’s LGBTQ Studies Interest Group (2020-2022). Connect with Jess on Instagram and Twitter @disabledphd.
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Sarah Brophy (Supervisor), Dr. Paula Gardner

Jessica J. Rodríguez (she/her/hers)
MA–Universidad de Guanajuato (Mexico)
BA–Visual Arts, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (Mexico)

Jessica is a visual/audio artist, designer and researcher. She has collaborated with composers, writers, designers, and other visual artists to explore practices such as visual music, electronic literature, video experimentation, live coding, among others. Currently, Jessica is part of two projects: –a collaboration platform that collides technologies with practices that mix text, visuals, and sound, and RGGTRN –a collective that engages in algorithmic dance music and audiovisual improvisation informed by the Latinx context. For her Ph.D., Jessica will build a programming language for “live” video performance and develop a series of works around this language. Jessica also works as a research assistant at the Networked Laboratory Imagination with Dr. David Ogborn developing Estuary –a collaboration platform for hosting different languages for live coding. She often listens, sings, and dances reggaeton and cumbia.
Faculty Committee: Dr. David Ogborn (supervisor), Liss Platt, and Chris Myhr

Greg J. Smith
M.Arch—University of Toronto (2007)
B.A.—Philosophy, University of Toronto (1998)

Greg’s research explores the history of electronic percussion. It asks: what were the implications of the emergence of the programmable drum machine in the early 1980s on musical labour and the consumption of popular music? He has presented his academic research at the Canadian edition of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) conference and at McMaster’s Centre for Networked Media and Performance (CNMAP) Collisions Courses event. Outside his research, he is an editor and cultural producer for HOLO, a regular contributor to Musicworks, and a contract lecturer within Ryerson University’s Radio Television Arts New Media BFA program. Learn more about Greg and his research at or by following him on twitter @gr3gjsmith.
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Christina Baade (Supervisor), Dr. David Ogborn

Stephen Surlin (he/him/his)
MDes–OCAD University (2014)
BFA–University of Windsor (2012)

Stephen’s interdisciplinary research engages with speculative design and design thinking methodologies to imagine near futures, where diegetic prototypes can influence our strategies in the present. Stephen’s current research involves the creation and collaborative moderation of digital multi-media archives. Using a participatory action research (PAR) approach, Stephen will collaborate with the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association Hamilton (ACCA) to encourage seniors of colour to populate and moderate a Wikipedia server that is stored on a Raspberry Pi computer that can be accessed on a Local Area Network (LAN) in the ACCA community space. This work will question how data sovereignty and site-specific community-oriented archive creation can affect the experience of creating and interpreting the archive. Stephen is currently a research assistant in the Pulse Lab with Dr. Paula Gardner on the ABLE project.
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Paula Gardner (Supervisor), Dr. David Harris Smith, Dr. David Ogborn

Kim Khanh Tran (she/hers)
MA–Gender Studies, Queen’s University (2018)
B.A. Honours–Psychology and Sexuality Studies, York University (2017)

Kim Khanh is passionate about fan studies, transnational fandom, and youth fan of global popular cultures. Her dissertation is a case study of the Korean mobile otome game Mystic Messenger and its online youth fandom. As an aca-fan, Kim Khanh hopes to study why over one million fans worldwide adore Mystic Messenger and how dating sim games and online fandom help shape adolescents’ understanding of gender, sexuality, and romance. Her virtual ethnography project looks at not only how identities are deployed during gameplay, but also the different ways fans spend their online time engaging with the game when they are not playing. She is currently a member of the Humanities Student Research Ethics Committee at McMaster. Kim Khanh’s research updates and fandom rants (she can do this all day) can be found on Twitter at @khanhwithanH
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Christine Quail (Supervisor)