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 (Amazon.com)

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 Alumni (Alphabetical)

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Denise Cheng
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2014
Fellow, San Francisco Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation
Denise Cheng Denise is a researcher and designer who focuses on the future of work. She's currently on a fellowship stint with the SF Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation. At MIT, she explored how to configure a worker support infrastructure around people who earn income through Etsy, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, UberX and other peer-to-peer marketplaces. She has built strong relationships across the space with city governments, foundations, investors, startups, policy analysts and labor advocacy organizations. As a a former Peace Corps volunteer, the project lead of a well-reputed citizen journalism outlet, an entrepreneurial fellow with CUNY J-School, and many other stints on the way to MIT, her roots are in the future of news, media/digital literacy, media justice, and community building.

Denise holds a B.Phil in Cultural and Participatory Journalism from Miami University of Ohio and an M.S. in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. She is affiliated with the MIT Center for Civic Media and MacroConnections at Media Lab. Like a moth to a flame, she is drawn to DIY media, neighborhoods, design of all types and creating frameworks—media expression or fulfilling work—that enable people to pursue what they find meaningful.

Thesis: Reading Between the Lines: Blueprints for a Worker Support Infrastructure in the Peer Economy
Hannah Cheng
S.M., Science Writing, 2013
Hannah Cheng Thesis: Take Two Notes and Call Me in the Morning: The Science of Music Therapy
Grace Chua
S.M., Science Writing, 2008
Consultant, Kite Global Advisors
Grace Chua Thesis: Singing the Brain Electric
Allyson Collins
S.M., Science Writing, 2008
Director of Digital Communications at NYU Langone Medical Center
Allyson Collins Thesis: Sense and Sense-ability: The Artful Science of Hands-on Medicine
Gillian Conahan
S.M., Science Writing, 2011
Thesis: Bulletproof Gossamer: Spinning a Superfiber
Cynthia Conti
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2001
Thesis: “Stepping Up to the Mic”: Le Tigre Strategies Third Wave Feminist Activism Through Music and Performance
Anne-Marie Corley
S.M., Science Writing, 2009
Anne-Marie Corley Thesis: Reentry
Christina Couch
S.M., Science Writing, 2015
Freelance Writer, Administrative Assistant II for the MIT Communications Forum
Christina Couch Christina Couch is a human interest and finance journalist who’s making the transition into science writing. Her writing credentials include work for Wired Magazine, Discover Magazine, The AV Club, Playboy.com, Time Out Chicago and Entrepreneur Magazine and she’s the author of a financial aid guidebook that came out in 2008, but what she’s most proud of is getting to gesture wildly and say “TODAY I INTERVIEWED THE MOST AMAZING PERSON ON EARTH!” to family and friends at least once a week. Christina has spent the last five years living as a permanent traveler and moving to a different city or country roughly every three months (thank you remote work technology). Aside from travel and space and robots (and traveling space robots), Christina’s interests include awkward dancing, indie videogames and the first three Die Hard movies.

Thesis: Life After Hate: Recovering From Racism
Josh Cowls
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2017
Josh Cowls Josh Cowls is a graduate of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program, having previously gained degrees from the universities of Exeter and Oxford in the UK. While with CMS, Josh wrote his thesis on the impact of social media on the 2016 presidential election. After graduating from the program, Josh returned to the UK, and he can now be found researching data ethics at the Alan Turing Institute in the British Library in London.

Thesis: From Trump Tower to the White House, in 140 Characters: The Hyper-Mediated Election of a Paranoid Populist President
Stephen Craft
S.M., Science Writing, 2012
Stephen Craft Thesis: Stronger: The Architects of a New Intelligence
Heather Craig
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2015
Heather Craig focuses her work on the connections between interactive media and community engagement. When she's not working on community-based technology projects, Heather enjoys climbing mountains and working on small-scale carpentry projects.
Heather Craig Heather Craig focuses her work on the connections between interactive media and community engagement.

When she's not working on community-based technology projects, Heather enjoys climbing mountains and working on small-scale carpentry projects.

Thesis: Interactive Data Narrative: Designing for Public Engagement
Selby Cull
S.M., Science Writing, 2006
Selby Cull Thesis: From Gondwanaland, with Love: The Tale of How Boston Got Its Rocks
Tracy Daniels
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2008
Tracy Daniels Thesis: Hybrid Cinematics: Rethinking the Role of Filmmakers of Color in American Cinema
Michael Danziger
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2008
Visualization Engineer at PatientsLikeMe
Michael Danziger Thesis: Information Visualization for the People
Abhimanyu Das
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2009
Abhimanyu Das Thesis: Indian Comics as Public Culture
Stephanie Davenport
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2003
Thesis: Experiments in Corporate Collaboration: The Case of the Arts Electronica FutureLab
Rodrigo Davies
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2014
Chief Product Officer, Neighborly
Rodrigo Davies Rodrigo is a civic technologist and researcher who designs, builds and analyzes tools to help communities and governments collaborate for social good. He leads the product team at Neighborly, a new platform for individuals and households to invest in their community through municipal bonds.

As part of his research at MIT, Rodrigo founded the Civic Crowdfunding Research Project, a platform for social research on crowdfunding, and co-leads Build Peace, a conference that brings together peacebuilding practitioners and technologists to think about new ways to resolve conflict and rebuild communities.

He has served as an adviser, product manager and practitioner on civic projects with the Mayoral offices of San Francisco and Boston, the United Nations Development Program and the UK-based crowdfunding platform Spacehive. Rodrigo has been invited to speak about civic technology, design and crowdfunding by SXSW Interactive (Austin, TX), Personal Democracy Forum (NYC), the Library of Congress and Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Thesis: Civic Crowdfunding: Participatory Communities, Entrepreneurs and the Political Economy of Place
Erica Deahl
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2014
Design and UX at 18F
Erica Deahl Erica Deahl is a designer and researcher creating media for education and social impact. She co-leads the City Digits project at MIT's Civic Data Design Lab, developing classroom curricula and building geo-spatial tools to help high school students conduct data-driven urban investigations. Erica is currently an S.M. candidate in the Comparative Media Studies program, where her research focuses on using digital media in K-12 public education to support technological literacies and promote civic engagement. Previously she was a senior designer at 2x4 in New York City, where she designed and managed interactive projects for cultural sector clients.

Thesis: Better the Data You Know: Developing Youth Data Literacy in Schools and Informal Learning Environments
Sue Ding
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2017
Sue Ding Sue Ding is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer. She has worked on arts/culture and public affairs projects for media outlets including PBS, WGBH, Tumblr, and International Channel Shanghai. Her production credits also include several Emmy Award-winning programs for New York City's public television stations.

Sue graduated from Brown University with a double major in Visual Arts and International Relations, and has also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and the Université Paris-Sorbonne.

Her research interests include emerging media technologies, identity construction, and visual culture. She is also passionate about pop culture, travel, art, social justice, and mythology and folklore.

Thesis: Re-Enchanting Spaces: Location-based Media, Participatory Documentary, and Augmented Reality
Nadya Direkova
S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2003
Product Designer at Samara, Advanced Concepts Lab at Airbnb
Nadya Direkova Nadya is a designer and leader focused on speed of innovation. She's worked on products for all ages and global audiences, including making educational toys at Leapfrog and designing local search experiences at Google. She's best known for her work in defining a flexible framework for leading design sprints at scale at Google, leading over 100 design sprints and training 300+ design leaders through Sprint Master Academy.

Thesis: Bilingual By Design: A Design Study of Toy Design and Material Play Culture for Children Bilingual in French and English
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