• Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

    Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

    Talia Stroud (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is the Director of the Engaging News Project at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her book, Niche News (Oxford, 2011), examines likeminded political media use and inspired this project. The book received the 2012 Outstanding Book Award from the International Communication Association. Stroud previously worked at the Annenberg Public Policy Center; the name of this project is a H/T to Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s “E4″ work with local news in the 2002 midterms.

  • Alex Curry

    Alex Curry
    Research Associate

    Alex Curry (MA, Brigham Young University) is a doctoral student in communication studies and an assistant instructor at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include political communication and civic engagement, and he is particularly interested in how politicians use their own personal involvement with sports as a way to connect with voters. From 2005 to 2010, he served as a writer for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he’s not studying, Alex enjoys hiking with his wife and four children.

  • Emily Van Duyn

    Emily Van Duyn
    Research Associate

    Emily Van Duyn (M.Ed., Southern Methodist University) is a doctoral student in communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Some of her research interests include the interaction of online news with deliberative democracy and the influence of media framing on constructions of gender and race. Prior to her doctoral work, she received a master’s in Education specializing in multicultural literacy.

  • Shannon McGregor

    Shannon McGregor
    Research Associate

    Shannon C McGregor (MA, University of Florida) is a doctoral student and assistant instructor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests center on political communication, digital media, gender and public opinion. Shannon is especially interested in the ways in which emerging media behaviors create a more intimate and affective political landscape.

  • Gina Masullo Chen

    Gina Masullo Chen
    Faculty Research Associate

    Gina Masullo Chen (PhD, Syracuse University) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on the online conversation around the news with a particular interest in both uncivil debate and how these conversations influence social, civic, and political engagement. She is co-editor of "Scandal in a Digital Age" (2016/Palgrave Macmillan), and she is writing "Online Incivility & Public Debate: Nasty Talk," which is due out from Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.

  • Ashley Muddiman

    Ashley Muddiman
    Faculty Research Associate

    Ashley Muddiman (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at the University of Kansas. Ashley is broadly interested in political media effects and specifically interested in political conflict and incivility. Her current research projects study the role media coverage plays in shaping citizens’ perceptions of political incivility, explore how citizens interact with online news depicting incivility, and investigate tactics, such as fact checking, that have the potential to diminish the effects of incivility.

  • Joshua Scacco

    Joshua Scacco
    Faculty Research Associate

    Joshua M. Scacco (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Politics in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. He also serves as a Research Associate for the Engaging News Project (ENP). He is interested broadly in the communicative role elites and organizations, including political leaders, journalists, and news outlets, play in American political life.

  • Cynthia Peacock

    Cynthia Peacock
    Faculty Research Associate

    Cynthia Peacock (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) will be starting in fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at the University of Alabama. She is interested in political communication and news and social media use. Her most recent research investigates the contexts in which people express and avoid expressing their political opinions, and the ways in which diverse opinion expression and disagreement take place in politically homogeneous and heterogeneous groups.

  • Cameron Lang

    Cameron Lang
    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Cameron Lang is an undergraduate research assistant at ENP. She is in her senior year at The University of Texas at Austin and will graduate in the spring of 2017 with a degree in journalism as well as certificates in business and public policy. Cameron is also an ambassador with the Texas Civic Ambassadors program. She previously interned with Community Impact Newspaper and Project Vote Smart. Upon graduation she hopes to pursue a law degree.

  • Alex Purcell

    Alex Purcell
    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Alex Purcell is an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Engaging News Project. She is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing a degree in Corporate Communication. She has previously written for The Shorthorn Newspaper at The University of Texas at Arlington, Longhorn Life Magazine, and Burnt X. After graduation, she would like to get her master’s degree in Communications.

  • Alishan Alibhai

    Alishan Alibhai
    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Alishan Alibhai is an undergraduate research assistant with the Engaging News Project. He is currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a double major in Plan II Honors and Government. He is also a member of the University of Texas at Austin Speech Team. Upon graduation, Alishan will be attending Duke Law School.


  • Katie Steiner

    Katie Steiner
    Communications and Program Coordinator

    Katie Steiner is the Communications and Program Coordinator for the Engaging News Project. Since joining the team in 2014, Katie has handled all communications and outreach for the project, including overseeing report releases, planning ENP-sponsored events and promoting the project to the journalism industry. She previously worked as a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Bakersfield Californian and the Daily Nebraskan. She has also worked in corporate communications and public relations. A Nebraska native, Katie has a bachelor’s degree in News/Editorial and English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a master’s degree in Journalism – Public Relations from Kent State University.

  • Melody Avant

    Melody Avant
    Grants & Contracts Specialist

    Melody administers grants and contracts for the Engaging News Project. Previously, she worked with procurement and budgets in Undergraduate Education in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, managed programming and business affairs for a local Austin house museum, and interned in digital education programming at the British Museum in London, England. Melody received her B.A. from Texas State University at San Marcos and M. Liberal Arts in Humanities from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas.

Technical Staff

  • Josh Rachner

    Josh Rachner
    Technical Consultant

    Josh Rachner ( is a Technology Consultant based in Austin, Texas. With a background in Computer Science and Business from the University of Texas and a decade of programming experience, Josh enjoys spending his time helping organizations design, develop and deploy software solutions in various industries. In addition to focusing on technology strategy and implementation, Josh plays on a competitive, traveling, masters water polo team named Team of Texas.

  • Jerry Jones

    Jerry Jones

    Jerry is a designer and developer from Northeast Missouri. Before that, he and his wife started an organic, bike delivered bakery and a nonprofit permaculture education center. Since then, he's worked on websites for 150+ clients all over the world, including nonprofits like GoodWill and the Ronald McDonald House. Jerry's older than he looks, and has more kids than you'd guess.


  • Arielle Cardona

    Arielle Cardona
    Research Associate

    Arielle Cardona (MA, University of Texas at Austin) worked for the Engaging News Project from 2014 to 2015. She is a recent graduate of the UT Communication Studies program, where she studied women in politics and online political discourse. Prior to her MA, Arielle received her bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Arizona.

  • Alexis Alizor

    Alexis Alizor
    Research Assistant

    Alexis Alizor (MA, University of California Davis) received her master’s in Sociology with an emphasis in virtual methodologies, gender, and identity. Particularly, her graduate research project focused on using virtual ethnography to understand how gender race and identity play out in online communities. She is also interested in civic and community engagement in online spaces. Prior to working with the Engaging News Project, she worked as an assistant instructor at the University of California Davis and as a market research associate.