Master’s Program Alumni

Starting with the arrival of our very first CMS students in 1999 and Science Writing students in 2002, our alumni have gone on to some extraordinary careers. And nearly all of them can draw a straight line from their studies at CMS/W to what they do today…

Featured Alumni

Lisa Song '09

Lisa Song, ’09
Pulitzer Prize-winner, Reporter at ProPublica

Steven Schirra, ’13

Steven Schirra, ’13
User Experience Research Manager at Twitch

Aswin Punathambekar, ’03: From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry (

Aswin Punathambekar, ’03
Founder and Director, Global Media Studies Initiative; Associate Professor at University of Michigan

Rekha Murthy, ’05, on "Transforming Humanities Education"

Rekha Murthy, ’05
Radio & Podcast Strategist

Julie Fischer, '14

Julie Fischer, ’14
User Experience Researcher, Google Play

Abby McBride, ’12

Abby McBride, ’12
Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow

Cara Giaimo, ’15

Cara Giaimo, ’15
Staff Writer, Atlas Obscura

Cristobal García Herrera, ’04

Cristobal García Herrera, ’04
Ph.D. Researcher & Innovation Group Co-Founder, Imperial College London’s Dyson School of Design Engineering

All Graduate Program Alumni

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Iris Vargas
S.M., Science Writing, 2008
Iris Vargas Thesis: Earthlings: Humanity’s Essential Relationship with Gravity
Mara Vatz
S.M., Science Writing, 2004
Thesis: Knowing When to Stop: The Investigation of Flight 191
Ilya Vedrashko
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2006
SVP, Consumer Intelligence, Hill Holliday
Ilya Vedrashko Thesis: Advertising in Computer Games
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2006
Disability and Technology Consultant, Radical Disability Blogger and Writer
kestrell Thesis: Decloaking Disability: Images of Disability and Technology in Science Fiction Media
Karen Verschooren
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2007
Karen Verschooren Thesis: .art: Situating Internet Art in the Traditional Institution for Contemporary Art
Kenrick Vezina
S.M., Science Writing, 2011
Science Writer, Editor, and Educator
Thesis: Metromorphosis: Evolution on the Urban Island
Maya Wagoner
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2017
Maya Wagoner Maya M. Wagoner is currently a research assistant at the Open Technology Institute of the New America Foundation, working on a participatory action research project to understand the people in the field of technology for social justice. She is broadly interested in building digital platforms with principles of social justice, collaborative design, and critical pedagogy. Prior to studying at MIT, she grew up all around California, worked as a UX designer and usability researcher, and was an organizer of both the UC Santa Cruz African/Black Student Alliance and Code for San Francisco.

Thesis: Technology Against Technocracy: Toward Design Strategies for Critical Community Technology
Qi Wang
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2002
Associate Professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Institute of Technology
Qi Wang Thesis: Negotiating Realists: The Sixth Generation of Chinese Filmmakers
Yu Wang
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2015
Yu Wang Wang Yu spent his years empowering Chinese grass root NGOs with technology. As a member of NGO 2.0 China project, he participated in building the Philanthropy Map, which is designed to help Chinese NGOs and corporations find each other's needs. He also attended Web 2.0 workshops for Chinese NGOs as an instructor, to train them how to utilize social media to achieve their goal.

As a graduate student at University of Science and Technology of China, Wang is interested in software developing and engineering, science communication, online education, data analysis, mining and visualization. He believes that the well-being of society resides in collaborative solving social issues and sharing delight about knowledge, life, and the world.

Thesis: Heike, Jike, Chuangke: Creativity in the Chinese Technology Community
Genevieve Wanucha
S.M., Science Writing, 2009
Genevieve Wanucha Thesis: The Clearest Mirror: The Science of Laughing and Crying
Erin Weeks
S.M., Science Writing, 2013
Science Writer, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (Charleston, SC)
Erin Weeks Thesis: Out of Africa and Into the Sunshine State: Tracking an Exotic Invader
Margaret Weigel
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2002
Margaret Weigel Margaret graduated from CMS in 2002 and began her career in the glamorous and lucrative field of education technology as the Project Director of Project New Media Literacies with Dr. Henry Jenkins. She subsequently worked for Dr. Howard Gardner at Harvard's Project Zero, for academic publisher Cengage Learning as a digital strategist and content developer, for Six Red Marbles as a Director of Curriculum and Learning.

Thesis: The Commoditable Block Party: Electric Signs in Manhattan, 1881-1917
Matthew Weise
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2004
Narrative Designer, Writer
Matthew Weise Matthew Weise is a game designer and writer whose work spans industry and academia. He has been a Narrative Designer at Harmonix Music Systems on Fantasia: Music Evolved, the Game Design Director of the GAMBIT Game Lab at MIT, and a consultant for Microsoft, PBS, and others on transmedia storytelling and game design. His work, both creatively and critically, focuses on transmedia adaptation with an emphasis on the challenges of adapting cinema into video games. Matt has given lectures and workshops on film-to-game adaptation all over the world, and his published work on Aliens, James Bond, and zombie and horror cinema can be found along with the rest of his writing on his blog at His development work, including IGF finalist The Snowfield, is available at

Thesis: Understanding Meaningfulness in Video Games
Evan Wendel
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2008
Designer, Intuitive Company
Evan Wendel Thesis: New Potentials for “Independent” Music: Social Networks, Old and New, and the Ongoing Struggles to Reshape the Music Industry
Michelle Woodward
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2002
Photo Editor, Middle East Report magazine
Michelle Woodward Michelle lives in Beirut with her husband and young daughter. She is the photo editor for the magazine Middle East Report ( and editor of the Photography Page on the e-zine Jadaliyya ( She is also an experienced photography researcher. She finds photos for authors to use in their published work and help them navigate the landscape of rights and permissions. She also pursues historical research into photography of the Middle East and occasionally publishes on this topic.

Thesis: The Construction of Photojournalism: Visual Style and Branding in the Magnum Photos Agency
Sam Wotipka
SM, Science Writing, 2014
Exhibit Development Coordinator, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Sam Wotipka Thesis: Seizing A Species: The story of the Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Harvest
Ashley Yeager
S.M., Science Writing, 2008
Freelance Writer, Editor and Multimedia Producer
Ashley Yeager Thesis: Cosmos Incognito: Vera Rubin Shines Light on Dark Matter
Christopher York
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2001
Christopher York Thesis: Anthropology of Nostalgia: Primitivism and the Antimodern Vision in the American Southwest, 1880-1930
Sarah Yu
S.M., Science Writing, 2013
New Media Editor at KTOO
Sarah Yu Thesis: The Butterfly People, and Their Impacts on the Creatures They Love
Huma Yusuf
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2008
Pakistani columnist, policy analyst and media researcher
Huma Yusuf Thesis: Tactical Cities: Negotiating Violence in Karachi, Pakistan
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