Welcome to new faculty
The School of Communication is proud to announce the full-time appointment of an outstanding group of new faculty members.
Pamela Souza, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Max Dawson, Radio/Television/Film
Spencer Parsons, Radio/Television/Film
Michael Rohd, Theatre
Jessica Thebus, Theatre
Jonah Feldman, Communication Studies
Erik Gernand, Radio/Television/Film
Weiko Lin, Radio/Television/Film
Kirsten Pike, Radio/Television/Film
Regina Stewart, Radio/Television/Film
Pamela Souza received her BS from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and her MS from Syracuse University. She also received her PhD in audiology from Syracuse in 1996. Before coming to Northwestern, Souza was associate professor of speech and hearing science at the University of Washington. She is a widely published researcher, and six of her articles have been cited by Hearing Journal as "best in audiology." Her research interests include how age-related deficits in speech understanding, including changes in sound processing over time, decrease the effectiveness of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other amplification devices. She is the former amplification section editor for Ear and Hearing, the current assistant editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, and a clinical audiologist for the Veterans Administration.
A graduate of Northwestern’s PhD Program in Screen Cultures, Max Dawson joins the faculty after serving as assistant professor in the department of communication and culture at Indiana University. Dawson’s published writings include articles in the journals Technology and Culture, Convergence, and the Journal of Popular Film and Television and chapters in the edited volumes American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century (Columbia University Press) and Television as Digital Media (Duke University Press). His current projects include co-editing a special mobile-television issue of the online journal Wi as well as writing an article on the 2009 digital television transition and the manuscript TV Repair, tracing the history of television’s encounters with new media technologies.
Spencer Parsons received a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MFA in film production from the University of Texas at Austin. In Austin he served as senior programmer for the Cinematexas International Short Film Festival, worked with the programming committee of South by Southwest Film Festival, wrote frequently for the Austin Chronicle, taught film production at UT, and directed award-winning short films such as Resolution and Once and Future Asshole. His first feature film, I’ll Come Running, premiered at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival and debuts on IFC’s Festival Direct Video On Demand service this fall.
Michael Rohd is founding artistic director of Sojourn Theatre — a 2005 recipient of the Animating Democracy Exemplar Award from Americans for the Arts — in Portland, Oregon. He is an associate artist with Cornerstone Theater Company and Ping Chong & Company. His work has been supported by the Theatre Communications Group, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Multi-Arts Production Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and arts councils around the nation. Rohd has current and upcoming projects with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Repertory, Washington’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Chicago’s House Theatre, and Sojourn Theatre. Author of the book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue (Heinemann Drama), he holds an MFA in directing and public dialogue from Virginia Tech.
Jessica Thebus is an associate artist with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company, where she has directed Intimate Apparel, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, When the Messenger Is Hot, and Sonia Flew. She has also directed Our Town at Lookingglass Theatre (with Anna D. Shapiro), The Clean House at the Goodman Theatre, Eurydice at Victory Gardens, The Turn of the Screw at Writer’s Theatre, and Jekyll and Hyde, Inherit the Wind, and Red Herring at Northlight Theatre. Favorite projects include the award-winning plays Pulp and Winesburg, Ohio at About Face Theatre. Last season Thebus directed the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s world premiere of Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter, which then moved to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. An artistic associate at the Corn Exchange in Dublin, Ireland, Thebus holds a PhD in performance studies from Northwestern.
A Chicago native who grew up in Oak Park, Jonah Feldman earned a degree in communication studies with a rhetoric focus at the University of Texas and then studied at the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in cultural anthropology with a focus on Japanese culture. His current research interest is narrative construction in the Israel-Palestine conflict. A competitive debater in high school and college, Feldman has served as a debate coach at Harvard and Dartmouth. He teaches theories of argumentation and is a coach for Northwestern’s debate team.
A Northwestern MFA graduate, Erik Gernand has written and directed short films that have screened at more than 50 festivals, including South by Southwest, Palm Springs International Shortfest, and Chicago International. His films have been broadcast on IFC, the Logo Channel, and WTTW-Chicago. Gernand’s short film Crafty was distributed on DVD by Strand Releasing in 2009. He is the cofounder of the Media Bunch, an Atlanta-based video production company, and a member of the board of directors of Split Pillow, a nonprofit Chicago-based film company.
Weiko Lin holds a BA in English and an MFA in film and television from UCLA, where he was a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award winner. He started his career in theatre, writing and directing plays and musicals produced at UCLA’s Royce Hall, Veterans Wadsworth Theatre, and Century City Playhouse. His most recent play, The Best Man, received its world premiere at East West Players’ David Henry Hwang Theater. In film Lin will serve as executive producer of a dramatic feature he recently wrote for the Mark Gordon Company and Reason Pictures. Currently he has a comedy and a TV pilot in development and is developing an action thriller. As a Fulbright senior specialist, Lin has taught screenwriting at Taipei National University of the Arts. He has also taught screenwriting at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Riverside.
Kirsten Pike is a graduate of Northwestern’s PhD Program in Screen Cultures. Her dissertation, “Girls Gone Liberated? Feminism and Femininity in Preteen Girls’ Media, 1968–1980,” explores how teen magazines, TV shows, advertisements, and films depicted second-wave feminist ideals for preteen readers and audiences during the women’s liberation era. Her chapter on Seventeen magazine was accepted for publication in the forthcoming book Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture, edited by Mary Celeste Kearney (Peter Lang). This fall Pike is teaching the radio/television/film courses Girls’ Media Culture and The TV Sitcom.
A graduate of the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop and a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America, Regina Stewart is a network television writer-producer who has authored more than 30 episodic scripts and six original pilots. Her writing and executive producing credits include Empty Nest, The George Lopez Show, The Norm MacDonald Show, Still Standing, and Dharma and Greg, for which she garnered two Golden Globe nominations and a People’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of an Environmental Media Award and two SHINE awards for honest portrayal of teen sexuality issues in half-hour comedy. Stewart has consulted on a number of feature film scripts as well as countless television pilots, including The Big Bang Theory. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.