FELLOWS OF THE CAUSE
Committed to the mission
Our team consists of scholars, practitioners and community partners. We do not believe in hierarchical thinking or a top-down organizational chart. Our organizational chart is flat, and everyone has an equal voice at the table. This list is organized alphabetically, by last name.
ARDA ATHMAN, BFA
They / Them / Theirs
Arda Athman holds a BFA in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked over the past two years supporting the work of Virginia-based non-profit and social advocacy groups, like Marijuana Justice, the VA Peoples History Project, and the Richmond Community Bail Fund. As the Communications Director with RCBF, they run the organization’s social media and web presence as well as ease information sharing about the disparate harms of the cash bail system and prison industrial complex (PIC). Their areas of interest include PIC abolition, transformative justice, community-based interventions to structural violence, mutual aid, community organizing and collective action, mass incarceration and criminalization.
They are working for the Digital Sociology Lab on social media and external communications.
He / They
Janus Chidester is an undergraduate sociology major at Virginia Commonwealth University. They have a background in nonprofit work and volunteer management, with a focus on youth and arts programming. In their formerly held position of program coordinator and vice president of operations at Fredericksburg All Ages, they helped facilitate the youth-led creation and implementation of music and visual arts programs with the aim of fostering a space for community-building and positive youth development. Janus holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management through VCU’s Nonprofit Learning Point program and aims to attend graduate school upon completion of their BS in Sociology. Their areas of interest include labor studies, disability studies, queer studies, and computational social science.
KA'LYN COGHILL, M.A.
She / Her / Beyoncé
KáLyn Banks Coghill is a current Ph.D. student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English (creative writing poetry and linguistics) from Old Dominion University and her Master’s degree in Organizational Communications from Bowie State University. Her interests include digital media, Black Twitter, digital violence on social media, gender-based violence online, digital wake work, and Hip Hop feminism in digital spaces. She coins her work as “Hoodrat Scholarship” which is a self-proclaimed effort to create an eco-system of work that can be cycled from the academy to the streets. She uses her digital presence and works to create spaces where anyone can engage and contribute. She hopes to bring this to the Digital Sociology Lab by researching things that are sometimes overlooked and connecting them to the communities to which she feels the most connected.
STEPH CULL, B.S.
They / Them
Steph Cull is a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University, receiving BS degrees in both psychology and sociology as well as a minor in LGBT and Queer studies. They are currently in the health psychology PhD program at Virginia Commonwealth University. As a disabled, non-traditional, first-generation, queer academic, Steph is extremely passionate about the queer community and expanding the research knowledge base within this area. They have a part of multiple research projects, including the GREAT summer research fellowship and the IMSD research fellowship. Steph is hoping to expand their research in the health psychology program to explore minority resiliency and LGBTQIA+ individuals with disabilities.
In their very limited free time, Steph enjoys binge-watching tv with their dogs, Gizmo and Baxter as well as going to amusement parks and being outdoors in the sunshine. Steph is a self-proclaimed nerd who has been sorted into both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw and enjoys nothing more than learning and growing as a person and an academic.
STEPHANIE KENNEDY, PHD
She / Her / Hers
Dr. Stephanie Kennedy is the Director of Research Dissemination for the Institute of Justice Research and Development. In this role, she oversees the production of all key written deliverables and assists with all aspects of the written research process. She enjoys creating research products and practical implementation guides for a range of audiences, including funders, academic and technical stakeholders, and our community partners in the field. Prior to joining IJRD, Kennedy was an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Her research interests include an examination of the intersection of trauma and incarceration for women, and how official policies and procedures widen disparity for vulnerable women and people of color within the justice system.
Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, a Master’s of Social Work, and a PhD in Social Work, all from the Florida State University.
BRIAN KNOP, PHD
He / Him / His
Brian Knop received his PhD in Sociology from Florida State University. He has been working as a statistician and sociologist for the federal government for 5 years. In that time, he has published a number of data visualizations related to trends in family and marriage. He has been teaching data visual seminars and classes since 2019.
GINA MARIE LONGO, PHD
She / Her / Hers
Dr. Gina Marie Longo is a feminist scholar of Digital Sociology and is an assistant professor in the Sociology department at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research agenda contributes to knowledge about digital spaces, intersectional identities, citizenship, nationalism, and inequality with implications for the sociologies of migration, gender, race, and politics. She recently completed her post-doctoral research position on the Access to Justice Project at the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Law School, which explores the challenges to self-representation that low-income, non-custodial parents experience throughout child support court. Her current project employs mixed methods to investigate how U.S. citizens negotiate immigration officials’ demands that they prove their marriages are authentic. Her recent Gender & Society article, “Keeping it in ‘the Family’: How Gender Norms Shape U.S. Marriage Migration Politics,” has received awards for outstanding scholarship from ASA’s International Migration Section, the Eastern Sociological Association, and the University of Wisconsin’s interdisciplinary Research Center on Gender and Women and has been featured in Sage Publication’s Gender & Society Podcast and the London School of Economics’ US Centre blog.
FRANKIE MASTRANGELO, PHD
She / They
Frankie Mastrangelo is a feminist researcher and teacher from south Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, and considers the Sexuality, Women's, and Gender Studies program at Rollins to be her first feminist home. In the Orlando area, she first learned about mutual aid and collective liberation frameworks that inform her research and teaching by organizing with the Youth and Young Adult Network of the National Farmworker Ministry. She earned her Master's degree in Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her thesis explored the mediated intersections of celebrity culture and the nonprofitization of social movements. In Milwaukee, she helped organize graduate workers to advocate for improved labor conditions through the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association. She is a graduating doctoral candidate in the VCU Media, Art, and Text program, and her research looks at emergent and mediated neoliberal feminisms, such as wellness influencers and life coaches, to understand the complications of feminist movement under structures of racial capitalism.
She / They
Amaya McNeal is a current undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University double majoring in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies and sociology. After college, she hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in user experience design & research. They are currently doing an independent study with the Digital Sociology Lab. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and spending time with friends and her twin sister.
LATRYCE NOEL, M.A.
She / Her / Hers
Latryce Noel is a marketing and communications professional with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s in media management with a concentration in public relations. Serving as a PR and marketing specialist at Virginia State University, Noel spearheaded and managed dozens of university-wide social media, graphic design, marketing, website and crisis communications initiatives. She received the 2014 CASE District III Grand Award in communications and marketing ‐ crisis/issues management. Noel supervised and mentored several student interns which helped ignite her passion for teaching. In 2017, she began teaching graphic design and communications as an adjunct instructor.
Noel is a second-year doctoral student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests investigate how media and advertising impact minority participation in boating, fishing and camping; digital sociology partially informs her work. In her leisure time, Noel enjoys cooking, food festivals, creative and do-it-herself projects, glamping, and spending time on the water boating and fishing.
REBEL OSBORN, M.S.
They / Them / Theirs
Rebel Osborn is a community organizer, artist, researcher, and queer Appalachian from Virginia. They hold a BS in Psychology from George Mason University and a MS in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Rebel has a background in statistics and data analysis; developmental psychology; criminal (in)justice; storytelling trauma through art and writing; disability justice; social movements; and direct action through mutual aid, protest, community organizing, and knowledge-sharing. They specialize in the intersection of trauma, mental health, incarceration, and the prison industrial complex—or the trauma-to-prison pipeline. Rebel listens to stories and gives others a platform to be heard and have their concerns addressed where previous methods have fallen short. In this capacity, they have worked locally and nationally with groups such as RVA Peer Support, Wings Beyond Walls, Something Something Press, Northside Strong, and on projects such as Mindful Occupation: Rising Up Without Burning Out. Rebel brings a community-oriented approach to the Digital Sociology Lab where outreach is a must and community-engaged research (research for, by, and with disenfranchised communities) is the norm.
MIKE PASTORE, M.S.
He / Him / His
Mike Pastore is a software engineer with over two decades of experience building and deploying software solutions. He currently works on development of cloud based applications and systems, and has an MS in Computer Science from George Mason U.
JOSHUA J. SMITH, M.S.
He / Him / His
Joshua J. Smith, M.S., is an assistant professor of public relations at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. He also serves as Director of Communications. Smith's current areas of instruction span PR writing, media relations, graphic design and production. Over the last decade Smith has applied his knowledge and skills to communication and marketing roles with statewide nonprofit, health care and business-to-business organizations, operating in both management and leadership roles in the industry. Smith holds both a bachelor's and master's of science in mass communication with a strategic focus in public relations. Additionally, Smith has contributed to individual and group research for academic conferences and publications in the areas of ethics, health care, and social media. Smith has an ongoing interest in the growing field of media psychology with a related passion for media literacy, technology and public relations.
TARA STAMM, PHD
Tara Stamm is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Graduate Program Director at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Florida State University, an MA in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics, and a BA in English Literature. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the first of its kind Masters Degree in Digital Sociology at VCU. Broadly, her research and teaching spotlights the experiences and depictions of young mothers, the importance of emerging mixed-methodological techniques, and intersections between gender, education, and media in popular culture.
She / Her / Hers
Double majoring in both psychology and sociology, Georgia Rodgers is a current undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She hopes to attend graduate school in the near future. She is currently working as the Digital Sociology Lab’s blog editor. In her free time, Georgia enjoys both baking and cooking as well as visiting the many bakeries of Richmond.
Fellows who have gone on
Former team members
JASMINE FRAZIER, B.S.
She / Her / Hers
Jasmine Frazier is an alumni at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), receiving her Bachelors of Art in Political Science, with a concentration in U.S. Government. She finished her Bachelors program in three years time instead of 4, to which she is planning to attend graduate school in Fall 2021. participated in a number of organizations and activities such as interning with the Democratic Party of Virginia, taking part o the editorial staff for the VCU Political Science Review Journal Vol. 5, and participating in a Professional Development Series with UVA. Initially being a Forensic Science major, she also engaged in various research symposiums through the VA-NC Alliance and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. She is currently working with the Digital Sociology Lab team, where she works in organizing and compiling data, obtaining articles and citations, coding, and prepping literature.
She / Her / Hers
Yaaminata Koroma is currently enrolled as a biology major at Virginia Commonwealth University. On the pre-med path, Yaaminata aspires to be a general surgeon. She currently conducts data collection and coding for the Digital Sociology Lab's inaugural research project, which examines how sexual assault discourse unfolds on digital news platforms. In her spare time, she enjoys rescuing and fostering area cats and spending time with her husband.