Three PhD Students receive new Research Enhancement Fellowships

USC Annenberg PhD Students Erin Kamler, Jingbo Meng and Benjamin Stokes were selected to receive the new Research Enhancement Fellowships that are part of the provost’s initiative to support graduate education.

The fellowships were given to PhD students whose research called for expenses that are essential to their studies. The award allows for up to $5,000 in research, travel or training funds, as well as a year of fellowship at the graduate school fellowship rate. 

Erin Kamler’s research “focuses on using the arts as a tool for political communication in the developing world.” Her dissertation deals with the trafficking of women in Thailand and uses the lens of culture and feminist international relations to critique the anti-trafficking movement led by the State Department. Kamler is also an award-winning composer, musician and playwright. She is currently using her research to write a musical.

Jingbo Meng’s research looks at the sociological and psychological mechanisms of information-sharing behaviors and the development of relationships in the new media environment. Meng has conducted research of online brand communities, health communities, gaming communities and communities of practice.

Benjamin Stokes’ research “investigates how digital media foster civic engagement, informal learning, and activism.” He is also studying how videogames and mobile media can further social justice by “bridging online and offline participation.” Stokes is the co-founder of Games for Change, a branch of the serious games movement that focuses on nonprofit organizations and social issues.