In her doctoral studies, Christy Hagen specializes in organizational communication and new communication technologies. She is affiliated with the USC Scenario Lab, the Annenberg Research Network on Networks, and has conducted research supported by a grant from the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. Her current studies include the use of communication technologies in media organizations, terrorist networks, and disaster relief organizations. She is also interested in technology-enabled surveillance and eavesdropping. Hagen teaches and lectures in undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations, social networks, government communication, social media use in crisis, culture and new media, and applying research methods to communication practice.

Prior to returning to academia to pursue a PhD, Hagen was as a public affairs officer for 20 years in the U.S. Navy. As a naval officer, she served in a wide variety of assignments ranging from liaison to the television and film industry in Hollywood to head of Navy communication integration at the Pentagon. Most recently she served as public affairs officer for the U.S. Pacific Submarine Force in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She holds a M.A. in communication from San Diego State University and a B.A. in English literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.