Indiana University

Indiana University Journalism

Meet Our Graduate Students

On this page, hear  graduate students pursuing doctoral or master's degrees weigh in on courses, professors and life at IU.

Samantha Felix
Received her bachelor’s degree in journalism at IU and now is a master’s degree student in the global journalism sequence

On choosing global journalism:
I’m from a small town in Indiana, and when I was a freshman in high school, I worked at a Mexican restaurant down the street from my house. Being exposed to that kind of culture really made me open minded. So when I was doing my undergrad degree, I took the travel course that goes to Chile. That was basically my first time out of the country. It was the most amazing experience ever.

On her fellow students:
The diversity in the students is one of the best things. I get to meet people from different countries and ask them about their culture and teach them about ours.

On her career goals:
Part of me wants to work for a travel magazine and part of me wants to join the Peace Corps, so I’m not sure yet. Travel is just my No. 1 goal.

On advice to prospective graduate students:
My first semester I really took for granted and didn’t realize how hard it would be. You really have to stay on top of things. It’s nothing like undergrad. It’s much more in depth.

Yang Han
Master’s degree student, global journalism sequence

Yang Han
On travel courses:
I’ve already taken the class that goes to Europe, J518 From London to Paris: In the Footsteps of Ernie Pyle. I’d never been to Europe before, and I wanted a different experience. I would be upset if I left Ernie Pyle Hall without knowing anything about Ernie Pyle. The class has given me the chance to learn about him and what he did.

On choosing a master's program:
When you’re an undergraduate, you’re not at that professional level for research. Now I feel like I have a better perspective and understanding on how to do research at the professional level. Also, I grew up knowing about Chinese media, so I wanted something different.

On selecting the global sequence:
The journalism program offers four sequences, but this one made the most sense for me. It gives you a broad perspective of journalism and helps you reach more people from different nationalities.

Jimmy Jenkins
Master’s degree student in the digital sequence

On real-world opportunities at IU:
I am a reporter as well as the night-time production manager at the Indiana Daily Student. I also am a newsroom intern for WFIU and WTIU, the local public radio and TV stations.

Why IU journalism?
For me, the greatest strength of the program is working with current and former journalists. The internship at the newsroom allows me to work with professionals in broadcast journalism, while my classes have put me in contact with newspaper veterans like Gerry Lanosga, and Steve and Bonnie Layton.

Since my classes began last summer, I have studied all aspects of multimedia journalism. By the time I graduate, I will be armed with the tools necessary to get a job in a newsroom in any medium.

Xinyu Lu
Master’s degree student in the political journalism sequence

On projects at IU Journalism:
I have been working as the journalism graduate student program recruiter for half a year, and I really enjoy this experience. The faculty and staff here are nice to work with, and I have learned a lot from communicating and corresponding with prospective students.

On the graduate program:
The faculty is really amazing, not only for teaching, but also for research. The program also offers some interesting courses, such as travel courses, which provide students with extraordinary experiences abroad or around the United States.

Last spring, I traveled to the world-renowned Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., where I gained some professional skills and knowledge. We also toured the Tampa Bay Times, where we sat in on the editors meeting and visited the newsroom. The overall experience was really interesting and rewarding.

Elizabeth Shepherd
Dual master’s degree in ethnomusicology and journalism

On her master's work:
I am doing research and drafting my thesis on 1960s-era music journalism. My coursework in journalism and in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology introduced me to the theoretical, aesthetic and sociocultural issues that underpin this topic. It also helped me to analyze the design and discourse surrounding this niche of print media. I freelance for Oxford American and contribute to the NPR-syndicated program American Routes. I am in the process of curating an exhibit on African American music for the IU Archives of African American Music and Culture, where I work part-time.

On IU and the program:
The IU journalism program encourages students to think critically about media in culture and society while providing them with intensive professional experience and entrepreneurial skills. The dual master’s program has allowed me to gain an interdisciplinary perspective and has given me the opportunity to explore my interest in music media using diverse scholarly tools: ethnography, performance studies, communication theory and qualitative analysis. Also, the program has taught me the value and applications of critical thought in modern-day journalism.

On her future:
I plan to use the skills I developed in the journalism program — Web design, audio recording and editing, and news reporting—to be a producer for a public radio station, while I continue to work as a freelance music writer.

Valerie Aquila
Received her bachelor's degree in journalism at IU and now is a doctoral student

On choosing IU:
When I was an undergraduate at IU, my adviser was former dean, Trevor Brown, and we were talking one day and he said, “You’re not really interested in journalism, are you?” It’s really embarrassing when the dean of your school says you’re not interested in that subject, but he was right. I was more interested in history museum studies so I went to Cooperstown Graduate Program and got my master’s degree there. Then I started becoming interested in how museums communicate with their audiences, so I decided to get my Ph.D. here.

On research:
I’ve done research about the online dialogue from the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I’ve been interested in how that’s been memorialized online, and in other forms of media and museums. Specifically, I looked at what the Smithsonian museums did and have been doing.

I also worked on centennial preparations for the journalism program. I helped write the book about the past 100 years and put together the wall describing the history. They needed an alumna who knew history, and that was me.

On the program:
We have a lot of very friendly faculty who are easy to approach with questions. Everyone is really focused on research, and you do get teaching opportunities. I’ve worked as an associate instructor for three years.

Claudia Kozman
Doctoral student

On choosing a graduate degree:
In undergrad, you learn how to do something and how to apply those skills to produce something. In grad school, you rise above that. You find out why you learned it and what the meaning of it is. It’s more about looking at the bigger picture.

From my experience with this program, I could understand myself better as a journalist and in society. When I finished my master’s, I thought that was the appetizer and I wanted the whole five-course meal. I knew a little bit but I wanted to know so much more. That’s how I got to thinking about getting a Ph.D.

Yanqin Lu
Received his master's degree and now is a doctoral student

On activities at IU Journalism:
I interned at WFIU/WTIU in my first semester here. Now I am a graduate recruiter assistant in IU Journalism. I am responsible for outreach and for keeping in touch with prospective international students.

On travel courses:
I traveled to the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. It was an exciting “collective action.” People who are interested in new media get together and share insightful ideas with each other.

On current projects:
I am currently working on two projects. First, I work with two Ph.D. students analyzing the images of the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates on several media platforms, including newspaper websites, partisan blogs and newsroom blogs. Second, I am working on my master's thesis. I plan to examine several incidents to figure out how new media and traditional media interact with each other in China.

Maureen Savage
Doctoral student

On faculty:
The faculty’s great. It jumped out at me during my first couple of weeks here how welcoming and helpful they are. You can tell that they want you to succeed. That’s very comforting. I’ve had the good fortune of working with faculty who are really good about teaching research skills. I’ve noticed that around here, opportunities for joint work between professors and students are great.

On career goals:
Ideally, I want to work at a university teaching, hopefully along radio lines, where I have experience and interest. I want to continue working in radio. Universities have public radio stations on campus. I want to work there and teach.

Roshni Verghese
Received her master's degree and now is a doctoral student
On getting involved in local media:
I work for the Indiana Daily Student, and I was an intern at WFIU during the spring semester. At the IDS, I write for the arts section and write reviews for the Weekend culture publication. I really like it because it keeps me on my toes. It gives me the clips I need for my portfolio. WFIU is really interesting, and I like the team there. The technology is much different from India, and radio has always been something that’s intrigued me.

On the importance of travel courses:
I plan to take the China course. I like the idea that the country is developing so quickly with new market-oriented values. A lot of my friends are Chinese, and I like to talk to them about the future.

On the IU program:
The faculty is amazing, especially for research. It was an integral part of why I came here. I’m still working on finding an area I want to focus on, but it will probably be media globalization.

A.Jay Wagner
Doctoral student whose work focuses on media law and free speech.

aj wagner
On choosing IU:
IU Journalism has a wealth of knowledgeable researchers with a sincere interest in the success of students’ work. Professors are always available and helpful. Fellow graduate students are friendly and always willing to lend a hand. The Ph.D. program expects interdisciplinary work, which has proven beneficial to my research. In short, the program offers the support system to become an excellent researcher.

On projects at IU Journalism:
I’m a research assistant at the Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies, working with associate professor Anthony Fargo, and I’m taking classes on historical research methods, ethnography and media, and rhetorical critiques of war.

I’m doing some early work on what will likely be my dissertation topic: Iceland’s passage of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a series of laws arranged to harbor WikiLeaks-type organizations. My primary focus now is writing a paper on the initiative through the lens of intellectual property and neoliberalism.

Earn your master's degree in one year