NU-Q Welcomes New Professors

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NU-Q Welcomes New Professors

Inaara Gangji and Saad Ejaz

Northwestern University in Qatar has hired eight new faculty with expertise ranging from animation to social media marketing. The Daily Q sat down with them to learn more about their interests and what they have to offer to students.

 

Marcela Pizarro, Assistant Professor in Residence, Journalism and Strategic Communication

Credit: Marcela Pizarro

Marcela Pizarro describes Al Jazeera’s Listening Post as her most acclaimed work. She worked as a producer for the show for the last eight years, creating impactful stories, most notably narratives from Latin America, in the form of 8-minute shorts. Before joining Al Jazeera, she also worked with the Associated Press.

A British national with Chilean roots, Pizarro is a reputable journalist with 20 years of experience reporting in the UK and across the globe. At NU-Q, she is teaching Journalism in a Digital World, an introductory journalism course for freshmen. In her other class, Media Giants and Social Networks, students can expect to do exactly what she has done: make 8-minute shorts about important political and social issues surrounding media, as well as studio work.

“In an university environment, it’s really fitting because the show I work on is a bridge between theory and practice….[The Listening Post] is a critical show, very much an academic essay on TV,” said Pizarro.

Besides teaching and production, she loves to paint and dance.

 

 S. Venus Jin, Professor in Residence, Communication

Credit: S. Venus Jin

A digital media marketing guru, Jin comes to NU-Q after teaching at universities in the United States and South Korea, the likes of which include the University of Southern California, Emerson College and Boston College.

Jin now teaches the Research Methods course at NU-Q, compulsory for communication sophomores, but in the past has taught consumer psychology to business and marketing majors and digital media behavior at communication schools.

“What I bring is a boarder perspective to how communication is taught…it is a multidimensional concept: it can be approached from the consumer’s perspective, the audience’s perspective, the marketer’s perspective and the content generator’s perspective,” said Jin.

Most of her research now focuses on studying the marketing effect of social media influencers, and in particular, how they impact consumers’ perception of ideas such as veganism. In Qatar, she wants to replicate her research on veganism given its rising popularity.

Outside of work, her passions include playing the piano.

 

Eddy Borges-Rey, Associate Professor in Residence, Journalism and Strategic Communication

Credit: Eddy Borges-Rey

By going to journalism school, Borges-Rey though he could escape numbers. But throughout his career, he has done exactly the opposite, having devoted his time and research to digital journalism and automation, data literacy and digital journalism in the Global South. He also has a book about journalistic automation that is due to be published by Routledge.

At NU-Q this semester, he is teaching Journalism in a Digital World and is offering a mobile journalism class in which students can expect to do hands-on work and create powerful content for their portfolios through shooting and editing on their phones. “Yes, there is theory…there’s a textbook… but I’m all about doing,” he said.

Prior to NU-Q, Borges-Rey taught journalism in Scotland, where he completed a two-year project that brought together various stakeholders such as educators, policymakers and lifelong learning organizations to enhance data literacy in their communities. He hopes to replicate this project in Qatar and explore how data literacy can empower Qatari society.

When he is not teaching, he devotes time to his Star Wars obsession by collecting memorabilia. He also plays the guitar.

 

Larissa Buchholz, Assistant Professor in Residence, Communication

Credit: Larissa Buchholz

Educated in Germany and the United States, Buchholz joins NU-Q from Northwestern’s School of Communication in Evanston.

A sociologist by training, Buchholz’s research focuses on cultural production in markets in a global context. In particular, she studies visual art such as sculptures and paintings because of their global prominence and sales.

In her undergraduate seminar, The Construction of Value, students will also examine the global art market using research exercises and guided data analysis. “We look at the case of artists from a non-western country…we want to understand how they became so successful in the global art market,” said Buchholz.

In her own time, she loves visiting art museums and listening to classical and jazz music, other than being a committed dog mom.

 

Anka Malatynska, Assistant Professor in Residence, Communication

Credit: Anka Malatynska

Anka Malatynska has dedicated her entire career to mastering the camera. She has been the cinematographer for numerous Hollywood productions, including “Little Women (2018),” “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (2015)” and “Dear Dumb Diary (2013).”

In order to be a cinematographer, a person needs both eyes and ears, according to Malatnsyka. When she first meets a director, she puts aside her vision and listens to what they want the project to be. Despite this, Malatynska is not afraid of losing her own creative touch in the process.

“My creativity is inescapable. My imprint will be there no matter what,” she said. As she fine tunes lighting and framing, she adds a little bit of herself in every shot.

For Malatynska, cinematographers are the conduit between magic and logic. Teaching this art and craft to others, according to Malatysnka, is the backbone of her profession because it is passed down from one generation of cinematographers to the next. Her classes offer hands-on instruction.

“It’s almost like a scientific laboratory. You are putting on different lenses and exploring what does it look like and what does it feel like,” she said.

 

 Kelly Reagan Wilson, Writing Center Administrator and Lecturer in Residence, Liberal Arts

Credit: Kelly Wilson

Kelly Reagan Wilson came to Doha nine years ago with her family. She started working part time as a writing consultant at Texas A&M University in Qatar. Before joining NU-Q, she was the manager of TAMUQ’s Academic Success Center, where she oversaw its writing and content tutors.

Wilson had followed an unconventional path in her career. After graduating with a bachelor’s in English literature, she worked briefly as a school district administrator. She soon quit her job to raise her two daughters.

“My career was raising a family,” she said, “I started my professional career at 35.”

Her eldest daughter, 19, is now a freshman at Northern Arizona University and the younger one, 15, studies in Doha.

When she’s not busy with her work, Wilson loves listening to podcasts. She is currently three episodes into “Serial,” an investigative journalism podcast, and listens to it on the way to work and her daughter’s school.

“I’m kind of a nerd like that,” she said, jokingly.

For Wilson, the most important component to a successful class is building a community. Each class has its own configuration, never repeated again, making each experience different, she said. Her classes try to build curiosity for the diverse experiences in the classroom.

“We all have something to learn from each other,” she said. “The opportunities are infinite for growth and discovery.”

 

João Queiroga, Assistant Professor in Residence, Communication Program

Credit: João Queiroga

João Queiroga is an award winning documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the intersection of race and gender.

During his childhood in Portugal, Queiroga was an actor and a musician, performing both on TV and in theater. Overwhelmed by the idea of fame and determined to challenge himself, Queiroga travelled to India to attend high school at the age of 17.

Studying in India was a transformative experience for Queiroga. He shared a room with students from India and the Maldives and his best friend was Korean. It was the first time he was surrounded by people that looked different than him, and he soon realized that the differences were only surface level.

“It was a groundbreaking experience to understand that somebody that was born in a different country, a different gender, different religion had so much in common with me,” he said.

After completing his high school education, Queiroga was admitted to Lake Forest College, Chicago on a full scholarship to study film and theater. In 2016, he completed his MFA in documentary filmmaking at Northwestern University.

Querioga treats every student that takes his class as an editor, filmmaker or artist.

As he pursues his own projects alongside them, he finds that he is equally inspired by his students’ work as they are from his.

Querioga is currently working on “Digging for Life,” a documentary about a Cameroonian man who finds himself mining diamonds as a slave in search of a better life.

 

Spencer Striker, Associate Professor in Residence, Communication Program

Credit: Spencer Striker

Spencer Striker specializes in blurring the line between education and entertainment. To do so, he combines learning with design concepts and mediums of the digital era.

“The idea is to create stuff that is really cool and fun but also rewarding educationally,” he said.

Striker’s passion for digital learning design is rooted in his own educational experiences. As an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, Striker doubled majored in history and film. From the beginning of his career, Striker was enamored by the idea of making learning more accessible and visual.

For the past few years, Striker has been working on an app called History Adventures to aid high schoolers with their AP History exam. Through the app, students will be placed in the shoes of fictional characters in scenarios across history and learn from their narratives.

However, this new medium comes with its difficulties. According to Striker, the challenge is to make sure that the content is as rigorous as the traditional method of studying for the exam but also far more engaging so that it distinguishes itself.

Striker is offering courses this semester in 2-D animation and interactive product design.

 

 

The Daily Q welcomes NU-Q’s new faculty who, no doubt, will bring a variety of backgrounds and expertise to an equally diverse and ever increasing student body!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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