PhD Profiles

ph.d. profiles

Ph.D. Students are an integral part of our research and legacy as a leading college of journalism and mass communication.
Below are highlights of the research topics and experiences from some current students and alumni of our program.

  • Grace Adams

    What made you decide to pursue your Ph.D.?
    I have always been interested in art, but I did not know what about art I found so interesting. After exploring a variety of career paths while completing my undergraduate degrees and master’s, I discovered that what I really love is understanding how visual works can communicate something that words cannot. I decided to dive into visual communications research in my Ph.D. program and immediately fell in love with my work on memes. I ultimately decided to get my Ph.D. because I love learning, and this program has allowed me to discover new ways of learning and research what I am passionate about.

    What has been the highlight of your doctoral education?
    I think having a dissertation committee full of amazing professors who want to help me be the best I can be has been the highlight of my doctoral education. It’s such an incredible feeling having so many professors believe in me and my interests. Their constant support and guidance have not only helped me create professional and meaningful work but also given me the confidence and direction to pursue my passions.

    Sakil Faizullah

    What made you decide to pursue your Ph.D.?
    Faizullah worked in the communications industry for 23 years before deciding to come back to academia and pursue his doctoral degree. He has always admired teachers, so he decided to pivot in his career and earn his doctoral degree. Faizullah hopes to go into teaching after completing his degree, and he uses the opportunities available to doctoral students to hone his education skills.

    What made you decide to come to Grady?
    Faizullah chose Grady College because of the intellectual minds that make up the program. He values the work and diversity of the college, and said this college could make his work more meaningful and practical.

    What has been the highlight of your doctoral education to date?
    Faizullah said knowing how to implement his research into practical methods of progress has been the highlight of his doctoral education.

    He’s excited to continue collecting research on the ground level in Bangladesh. Faizullah will begin collecting data in Bangladesh next year, but he has previously collected preliminary research from friends and family in Bangladesh which yields promising results.

    “Conducting academic research on the top level can help reach those at the ground level,” Faizullah said. “This will create really good connections and will give me more interesting insights into people and their wants.”

    Anne Perera

    What made you decide to pursue your Ph.D.?
    It’s safe to say that I’ve been on a lifelong pursuit trying to understand every aspect of branding and find answers to the question “Why do people buy things?”. After getting my bachelor’s degree in business and economics, I started my career in retail many years ago and later moved on to market research, branding and advertising. I also completed my master’s degree in strategic marketing, which was really helpful in moving up the industry ladder. My interest in learning the triggers behind why people buy things and how communication shapes all those purchase decisions and consumer behaviors influenced my decision to enroll in Grady’s Ph.D. program in Mass Communication. I think having a strong academic research background will make me more well-rounded, which is why I chose to be in academia after years in the industry.

    Why Grady?
    Grady College is one of the best journalism and mass communication colleges in the United States with amazing faculty. I was particularly interested in Dr. Nowak’s work with the CDC and his work on risk communication, especially with reference to pandemics. I then learned more about Dr. Meng’s PR-related research, which includes leading several significant research initiatives such as The North American Communication Monitor and Women and Leadership in PR. I’m excited I get to work with her and be part of this project.

    Rhoda Olaleye

    Rhoda Olaleye

    The use and purchase of sunscreens by people of color.

    Why Grady?
    “The program as well as the testimonial of current students. The University of Georgia is known for its high educational quality, and Grady College can be identified as one of the contributors to its prestige. Based on my online research, Grady College was described as a place where career preparation and student involvement were taken seriously. As my goals were career driven, my application was a no brainer.”

    What do you want to do with your degree?
    “I hope to work in the advertising industry once I get my degree. My interests have been deeply entrenched in strategic communications as well as brand management, and I believe that my enrollment in this program has provided me with the advanced capability to synthesize complex problems while delivering visible solutions, which is an asset in the industry.”

Where other alumni are working

Below is a sampling of what some of our other doctoral alumni are doing:

Dane Claussen

Ph.D. ’99
Lecturer of Communications, University of Idaho

Jason Anthoine

(ABJ ’89)
Managing Founder Audacity: The Employee Experience Firm, Dunwoody, GA

George L. Daniels

MA ’99, PhD ’02
Assistant Dean for Administration and chief diversity officer, University of Alabama, College of Communication and Information Sciences

Denise DeLorme

ABJ ’89, MA ’91, PhD ’95
Professor, Environmental Communication, Louisiana State University

Eric Haley

ABJ ’87, MA ’89, PhD ’92
Professor, University of Tennessee


Apply to join Grady College’s top-ranked Ph.D. program, designed to prepare students for academic careers in teaching and research or a professional career in industry or government.