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Communication & Development Studies Newsletter

Summer Edition


In this Issue Director’s Message Alumnus Aggrey Otieno Class of 2013 Graduation Student Activities

Scripps College of Communication

Content Director’s Message ....................................................................................................................


Alumnus on Campus: Aggrey Otieno ...........................................................................


Graduation May 3 (Class of 2013) ............................................................................... ...


Comm Dev Students win Award at Scripps Innovation Challenge ..............


Student Field Trip to Washington, DC. ...........................................................................


Conference Presentations .....................................................................................................


Accepted for Upcoming Conferences ...........................................................................




Fellowships, Awards, and Appointments ......................................................................


Call for Abstracts ........................................................................................................................


Copyright Š 2013 Communication and Development Studies Program Summer Edition, 2013 Contributors Henry Boachi; Nii Kotei Nikoi; Lawrence Wood Cover design and layout by Nii Kotei Nikoi Communication and Development Studies Program Yamada International House Ohio University Athens, OH 45701


Director’s Message It’s been another outstanding year for the Communication and Development Studies program. As usual, we have the students to thank for that, as well as the commitment of faculty involved with the program.This past fall we celebrated our 25th anniversary – a day that included participation from alumni, all of the former directors, and, of course, the current students, who deserve much of the credit for the anniversary event’s success. We also had 15 students graduate from Comm Dev over the past year, and as evident throughout much of the remainder of this newsletter, our students – both past and present – continue to achieve amazing things, keeping the bar high for those that follow. Yet by all accounts, maintaining this tradition of excellence will not be a problem. This past year we continued to have a large number of applicants – higher than most other graduate programs at the university, and indicative of the trend of a growing number of applications over the past 10 years. The large applicant pool means that the admissions process is highly competitive, and the quality of students in Comm Dev is reflective of that. We also continue to attract many students from sponsored programs, such as the Fulbright and Open Society Foundations programs, which adds even further diversity and strength to our cohorts. In fact, the Communication and Development Studies program can proudly boast to having 28 percent of all internationally sponsored graduate students at Ohio University, far and away the most of any program at OU (see “By the Numbers” on the next page). Relative to the program’s size, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have as many, if not more, externally sponsored students when compared to any other graduate program in world! Similarly, it is no exaggeration to suggest that the program is perhaps as internationally diverse as any graduate program in the world. In this year’s incoming cohort of 22 students – the largest ever – 14 countries will be represented, from literally all parts of the globe, including Africa (Ghana; Sierra Leone); Asia/Southeast Asia (China; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia); Europe (Russia; Serbia); Latin America (Bolivia, Columbia); the Middle East (Egypt; Palestine; Syria); and the U.S. In combination with the second

year cohort, which includes representatives from some of the same countries as well as from Bangladesh, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, and Malawi, a total of 20 countries will be represented in the program this upcoming academic year. This is not to say that the Communication and Development Studies program is without its challenges. Given faculty loss at Ohio University over the past few years, including in relation to the recession and early retirements, maintaining sufficient academic support is as challenging as ever, especially when considering the program’s size as well as the quality of students, many of whom are interested in writing theses, for example. Nonetheless, there is every indication that the program will continue to receive the faculty support it deserves. As is evident on page 7, which lists faculty who served on the professional project and thesis committees of students who graduated this past year, many new and excellent faculty are now involved with the program, including in highly engaged mentoring roles. The list on page 7 includes some familiar names as well. The programmatic knowledge and support that many long-standing affiliated faculty continue to provide to students in the program, along with the enthusiasm and invigoration brought from newly involved faculty – who simply love working with our students – bodes well for the future. Indeed, whether considering this past year’s accomplishments, the past 25 years of accomplishments, or looking ahead, the Communication and Development Studies program not only has a history that should make us all proud, it has much history left to be made. Lawrence “Woody” Wood, PhD Director, Communication and Development Studies Program


Communication and Development Studies

By the Numbers

20 22 + 25 28

Countries represented in the program's first and second year cohorts.



Sierra Leone


Students in the incoming class. The largest class ever.

Years of history, celebrated last fall at the 25th Anniversary Event.

Percent of the university’s International Sponsored Students – the most at OU.


















Alumnus on Campus: Aggrey Otieno – Recipient of Rolex Award for Enterprise

Aggrey (fourth from left) in Korogocho with Dr. Steve Howard (fifth from left). Also in the picture is Comm Dev graduate David Conrad (third from left), who is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania.

Aggrey Otieno, a 2011 graduate of the Communication and Development studies program, was back on campus this past spring for the Women and Children’s Health in Africa: Clinical and Social Perspectives conference, which was held at the Ohio University Baker Center during the last weekend in March. Aggrey recently received a highly prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise. The award included a grant of more than $100,000 to support his efforts to improve obstetric care in Korogocho, which is one of Nairobi’s largest slums and the place where Aggrey was born. Aggrey is the founder and Executive Director of the medical non-profit organization – Pambazuko Mashinani – that runs the project. Since 1976, Rolex awards have honored individuals who possess the extraordinary courage and conviction to take on major challenges designed to improve lives. Among other things, through his work with Pambazuko Mashinani, Aggrey has established a telemedicine center that is bringing state-of-the-art medical facilities, as well as trained, on-call obstetricians, to Korogocho.The project has already transformed obstetric care in Korogocho, where maternal mortality rates are exponentially higher when compared to much of the rest of the world. From the start of the project, Aggrey’s goal has been to save the lives of mothers and babies in the place where he was born and that continues to be his home. Aggrey was able to take time out of his busy schedule while here at Ohio University this past March to meet with, and indeed inspire, the

Aggrey discussing his experience with Comm Dev first year students during the Applied Research Methods class.

first year students in the Communication and Development Studies program. He stressed to the students the importance of keeping their eyes open for opportunities, and not being afraid to actively seek out financial support for the types of initiatives that are important to them. Aggrey is no stranger to convincing others to support his own innovative ideas. In 2011, the same year he earned his master’s degree in Communication and Development Studies, he received an award from the Clinton Global Initiative – founded by former U.S. President Bill Clinton – to support Pambazuko Mashinani. Aggrey also stressed to the first year students the value of the mentoring he received from faculty while in the Communication and Development Studies program, including from his capstone project advisor, Dr. Steve Howard (core Comm Dev faculty member and Director of Ohio University’s African Studies Program). In reflecting on Aggrey’s work, Dr. Howard noted,“It is through observation of such exemplary human agency that we are able to understand and be better ready to contribute to this revolutionary era of positive engagement for social change.” At the Women and Children’s Health in Africa conference, Aggrey gave an extended talk in relation to his work, with his presentation titled Applying IT to Improve Maternal and Child Health in Nairobi’s Slums. The conference was sponsored by the Ohio University African Studies Program, the university’s Global Health Program, and the Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions.


Graduation May 3 (Class of 2013)

Members of the Class of 2013 after commencement. From left to right, Claudia Nieto, Ayantu Tibeso, Nenden Fathiastuti, Cynthia Hannah, Dr. Lawrence Wood (Program Director), Santina Da Cruz, Zulfia Zaher, Camilo Perez Quintero, Mohammad Shafiq, and Muhammad Yusran Darmawan.

On May 3rd, members of the Communication and Development Studies program Class of 2013 attended commencement exercises held in Ohio University’s Convocation Center. Perhaps quite fittingly in relation to Comm Dev students in particular, graduate commencement speaker Jay Ryu (Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration in the Department of Political Science), told the students during his commencement address ‘to become heroes by following their passion.’ Over the past year, 15 students graduated from the Communication and Development Studies program, with members of the Class of 2013 including Santina Da Cruz, Muhammad Yusran Darmawan, Nenden Fathiastuti, Belinda Glover,


Cynthia Hannah, Claudia Nieto, Camilo Perez Quintero, Mohammad Shafiq, Ayantu Tibeso, Zulfia Zaher, and Yan Zheng. After the commencement ceremony, students spent some time relaxing – and in many instances saying goodbye – at the graduation party held at Yamada International House.We wish all of our graduates the best of luck, and know they will be every bit as successful as their predecessors.

Titles of Theses and Professional Capstone Projects Completed by the Class of 2013 Nenden Fathiastuti: UU Project – No News Without You, Your Finger is Power: Citizen Journalism Campaign (Professional Capstone Project)

Dr. Josep Rota and Claudia Nieto at Yamada International House graduation party.

Claudia Nieto: Healthy Housing for Healthy Living: Formative Research for the Introduction of a Housing Model to Control Chagas Disease in Southern Ecuador (Professional Capstone Project) Camilo Perez Quintero: Images to Disarm Minds: An Exploration of the “Pasolini en Medellin” Experience in Colombia (Master’s Thesis) Ayantu Tibeso: Revisiting the Past, Reimagining the Future: International Oromo Youth Association (Professional Capstone Project) Zulfia Zaher: The Problematic Socialization of Child Marriage in Afghanistan: Perceptions, Challenges, and Possibilities for Social Change (Master’s Thesis) Yan Zheng: Strategies for Cross-Cultural Physician-Patient Communication: A Case of International Patients in a Cultural Competency Laboratory (Master’s Thesis) Thanks to all of the affiliated faculty who provided key mentoring, guidance and support to the students who completed professional projects and theses, including Tania B. Basta, PhD, Associate

From left to right, Nenden, Santina, Priyanka, and Claudia at Yamada House graduation party.

Professor, School of Public Health Sciences and Professions; Amy Chadwick, PhD,Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies; Elizabeth Collins, PhD, Professor, Department of Classics and World Religions; Mario Grijalva, PhD, Professor, College of Osteopathic Medicine; Yusuf Kalyango, PhD, Associate Professor, Scripps School of Journalism; Drew McDaniel, PhD, Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies; Hans Meyer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Scripps School of Journalism; Jenny Nelson, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies; Marina Peterson, PhD,Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts; Judith Rhue, PhD, Professor, Department of Family Medicine; Edna Wangui, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Geography; Myra Waterbury, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science; Risa Whitson, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Women’s and Gender Studies Program; and Eric Williams, MFA, Associate Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies.


Comm Dev Students win $1,000 Award at Scripps Innovation Challenge

Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth presenting award to Comm Dev students.

Four first year students in the Communication and Development Studies program – Alicia Aikens, Reda Hassan, Nii Kotei Nikoi, and Tracy Tinga – won an “Honorable Mention” award at the Scripps Innovation Challenge in January. The Innovation Challenge was a campus-wide contest sponsored by the Scripps College of Communication. It provided an opportunity for students to share their creative solutions to real-world challenges posed by media industry professionals. The challenge began on the morning of January 17, and concluded at the end of the day when the ten finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges from the media industry, including Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director of the Ohio Newspaper Association; Ryan Lytle, Social Media Producer for mashable. com; Silas Lyons, Editor and Vice President of New Media Content for the Redding Record Searchlight; and Christine Merritt, President of the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.The teams had five minutes to present their ideas, which was followed by five minutes of questioning from the judges. Alicia, Reda, Nii, and Tracy were awarded $1,000 for their strategy to attract more young people to listen to, read, and watch news programs. The Scripps Innovation Challenge encourages students to apply what they learn in the classroom to help solve real-life challenges. It grew out of the multi-million dollar endowment given to the Scripps College of Communication from the Scripps Howard Foundation.


Student Field Trip to Washington, DC In February, eleven first year Communication and Development Studies program students visited Washington, DC, to participate in Ohio University’s DC Alumni Networking Week. The event was organized by the Ohio University Alumni Chapter of Washington, DC. The students visited offices of organizations that included the InterAmerican Development Bank, the International Economic Development Council, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and Amnesty International. First year student Nihal Said was particularly impressed with the organization and enthusiasm of the Ohio University alumni involved with the event. “Since being enrolled at OU, I have been amazed by the potential of this school due to the spirit and commitment of the professors and alumni,” said Nihal. The three day visit not only provided a unique opportunity for students to interact with alumni and to get advice on employment opportunities, it also allowed the students to become further aware of some of the development issues on the agendas of development organizations. Nii Nikoi was impressed by how much the organizations are focusing on gender-related issues. “Gender seemed to be significantly on the radar of most of the not-for-profit organizations we interacted with. Officials at the World Bank drew our attention to the world’s poor performance on meeting the MDGs on maternal death,” said Nii. (continued on next page)

Comm Dev students at the World Bank, during the Washington, DC field trip.

Conference Presentations

Comm Dev students visiting Amnesty International during the Washington DC field trip.

Overall the students appreciated the brief but very insightful visit to the nation’s capital, and the valuable experience it provided. First year students Katty Alhayek and Qinying Chen both noted how they became even more aware of the importance of networking. As indicated by Katty, “The main thing that I learned was the importance of building a network while you are a student. The network should include students, professors, and professionals.” Along these same lines, first year student Tracy Tinga was impressed by the value placed on internships, and she noted, “from all the organizations we had the opportunity to visit, such as the World Bank, USAID, International Development Bank, and Amnesty, the majority of the people who took the time to share their experiences with us seemed to have started off with internships. The internship is what will give you the experience that employers are looking for.” Perhaps as much as anything, the trip offered some ‘downtime’ for students and a chance to, quite simply, spend a little more time socializing with one another. As noted by first year student Abhijit Mali, “Along with the official visits, this trip was a chance for all of us to get to know each other and our interests better. We decided to plan some more trips like these during our time here in the U.S.”

February: First year students Kazi Priyanka Silmi and Katty Alhayek, along with Liliana Acevedo Callejas, a former Comm Dev student who is now enrolled in Ohio University’s Media Arts and Studies PhD program, traveled to the 12th Annual Penn State University Women’s Studies Graduate Student Organization Conference. Kazi and Liliana presented a paper titled Hollaback: How Speaking Up Against Street Harassment Works, while Katty presented a paper titled Using Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Syrian Refugee Women’s Rights: A Case Study on Servile Marriage. March: Second year student Camilo Perez Quintero was invited to the 2013 TuckerBoatwright Festival of Film, hosted by the University of Richmond, to show Our Home on Our Shoulders. Camilo co-directed the documentary film, which is set in Medellin, Colombia, and portrays the struggles and triumphs of Afro-Colombians whose lives were disrupted by resettlement. Also in March, first year student Nihal Said presented a paper at the 14th Mediterranean Research Meeting in Turkey. Her paper focused on Egypt’s current challenges to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal of promoting gender equality. Finally, at the Ohio University Women’s and Children’s Health in Africa Conference, Michael Wolven, Kazi Priyanka Silmi, Abhijit Mali, Alicia Aikens, and Nii Kotei Nikoi all presented posters. April: First year student Kazi Priyanka Silmi was invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University to present her project idea on Web-based Support for Women Experiencing Gender-based Violence in Bangladesh. Two second year students, Zulfia Zaher and Claudia Nieto, presented their work at the 80th Annual Convention of the Central States Communication Association held in Kansas City, Missouri. Zulfia presented a paper titled At Crossroads with Culture: The Role of Communication in Challenging Child Marriage in Afghanistan. In collaboration with Dr. Mario Grijalva (Heritage College of Osteopathic


Yan Zheng receiving her student expo award from Ohio University President Roderick McDavis

Medicine), Claudia Nieto presented a paper titled Healthy Housing for Healthy Living: From Epidemiological to Socio-ecological Perspectives in Public Health Interventions. Also in April, first year students Abhijit Mali, Kazi Priyanka Silmi, Nii Kotei Nikoi and Alicia Aikens presented posters at the Ohio University Student Expo, while second year student Yan Zheng won second place for outstanding presentation at the expo (see picture above). June: At the 25th Annual Ethnographic & Qualitative Research Conference, Mohammad Ala Uddin presented a paper titled Defying Bangladeshi Gender Stereotypes in BBC Janala. His paper employed critical visual methodology to analyze BBC Janala, a language learning program in Bangladesh.Also in June, Kazi Priyanka Silmi presented a paper at the 2013 Cinema and Media Culture Graduate Conference hosted by the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Her paper was titled Transmedia Storytelling in Communication for Social Change: The Case of Hollaback and Half the Sky Movement. Finally, it is of note that Katty Alhayek received a highly esteemed invitation to join a United Nations meeting in New York in June to share her expertise on issues associated with promoting the inclusion of women in the Syrian political process.


Accepted for Upcoming Conferences October: A number of students had their work accepted for the upcoming Global Fusion Conference, which will be held in Carbondale, Illinois, from October 4-6. Students who had their work accepted were Alicia Aikens, Mohammad Ala Uddin, Katty Alhayek, Qinying Chen, Reda Hassan, Abhijit Mali, Nii Kotei Nikoi, Kazi Priyanka Silmi, Tracy Tinga, and Michael Wolven. Camilo Perez, who at the time will be a recent graduate of the Comm Dev program and a first year PhD student in Media Arts and Studies, also had his work accepted. November: A number of first year students had their work accepted for the 34th Annual National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) conference, which will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. The NWSA conference is the largest annual meeting in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to emphasizing feminist scholarship, regularly drawing more than 1,500 attendees. Papers and posters accepted for the conference include the following: Katty Alhayek, paper titled Online Activism and Syrian Refugee Women’s Rights; Nihal Said, poster titled Communication for Development on Street Harassment in Egypt; and Kazi Priyanka Silmi, paper titled Investigating the Opportunities to Provide Internet-Based Sexual Assault Information to Women in Bangladesh.

End of Year Party at Woody’s House

Katty, Priyanka, Tracy Tinga, and former Comm Dev student Liliana Acevedo Callejas had their work accepted as part of a panel that they organized with Dr. Risa Whitson, a Comm Dev affiliated faculty member. First year student Katty Alhayek had a paper accepted at the Union for Democratic Communications/Project Censored joint conference, which will be held in San Francisco from November 1-3. Second Year Student Yan Zheng had her work accepted by the Health Communication Division for the National Communication Association 99th Annual Convention, which will take place in Washington, DC, from November 21-24. Michael Wolven had a paper accepted at the 56th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, which will be held in late November. His paper is titled Hijrah to Muslim Africa: Western Converts and Their Quest for Purity of Place.

Assistantship to work with the Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Journalism and Media program. In May, Michael also traveled to Guyana to contribute to an effort, organized by Dr.Vibert Cambridge and Professor Eddie Ashworth, to begin the vital work of cataloguing and digitally archiving Guyana’s historically and culturally significant analog audio assets. The work was conducted in conjunction with the University of Guyana and the Guyana Ministry of Culture.

Fellowships, Awards, and Appointments

In April, first year student Nihal Said was awarded a highly competitive Ohio University Student Enhancement Award, which will provide more than $3,000 to support her research and related travel to present her work. First year student Katty Alhayek was awarded the Allushuski Graduate Fellowship in Internships Women’s and Gender Studies at Ohio During the spring semester, second year student University for the upcoming academic year. Katty Yan Zheng completed an internship at the Alhayek and Chikondi Khangamwa, to Ohio University Campus Involvement support travel to conduct their field research in Center, where she worked on health promotion Jordan and Malawi, respectively, were awarded campaigns related to Ohio University students. GSS Original Work Grants from the Ohio First year student Abhijit Mali was offered a University Council on Research, Scholarship, & number of internships for the summer, and he Creative Activity. Claudia Nieto and Kazi eventually decided to accept one with Amnesty Priyanka Silmi received Graduate Student International USA in Washington, DC. Kazi Senate Travel Awards. Priyanka Silmi was also offered internships For the upcoming academic year, Nihal Said and with UN Women as well as with the New York Alicia Aikens were elected as the President University Prevention Research Center and Secretary, respectively, of the Ohio University for the Study of Asian American Health International Student Union, and Kazi (CSAAH). She opted for the internship with Priyanka Silmi was elected to be a Senator NYU, and she also found time to get married over for the Graduate Student Senate. the summer. Congratulations, Priyanka! Michael Wolven was offered a competitive Graduate​


Call for Abstracts Breaking Ground and Building Bridges: Communication, Gender, and Social Change in Global Communities February 14 -15, 2014, Ohio University Abstract Submission Deadline: December 1, 2013 The Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Student Association at Ohio University, in collaboration with the Communication and Development Student Association, will host a graduate student conference focusing on gender and social change in a global context.The conference will be an opportunity not only to highlight emerging scholarship in the fields of gender, communication, and development, but also a venue to open avenues of conversation around these issues between people working in various disciplines both within and outside of the academy. The conference will include a keynote speech by Dr. Richa Nagar, Professor of Gender,Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Nagar is a world-renowned scholar in gender and development and has authored more than 100 articles, essays, stories, plays, and poems in relation to such matters. Core members of the conference’s planning and coordinating committee include second year Communication and Development Studies program students Katty Alhayek, Kazi Priyanka Silmi, and Tracy Tinga, as well as Liliana Acevedo Callejas and Zulfia Zaher, both of whom are former Comm Dev students now enrolled in Ohio University’s Media Arts and Studies PhD program. Anyone interested in participating in the conference should submit an abstract of a maximum of 250 words and brief bios by December 1, 2013, to the following email address: Further inquiries about the conference can be sent to that address as well.

Copyright © 2013 Communication and Development Studies. Summer Edition, 2013 Communication and Development Studies Ohio University Yamada International House Athens, OH 45701

Center for International Studies

Scripps College of Communication

Comm Dev Newsletter Summer 2013  
Comm Dev Newsletter Summer 2013