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CCI PhD Graduate Spotlight: Dr. Jackie Cameron

Jackie CameronJackie Cameron is a recent PhD graduate from the School of Journalism and Electronic Media in the College of Communication and Information. Jackie earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Counseling/Clinical Psychology from Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois and a Master’s of Science in General Psychology from DePaul University where she also worked as a Research Associate and Adjunct Instructor. 

Why did you choose the College of Communication and Information at UT?

The College of Communication and Information’s interdisciplinary program allowed me to comfortably enter the program without having a background specifically in the field. Additionally, CCI’s affiliation with Scripps Networks Interactive was an important feature considering my interests in television research.  

What opportunities have you had to use the skills that you have acquired?

In three years, I have worked on 14 research projects, several of which resulted in publications. My own research focuses on multi-media television production practices and their effects on the viewing experience. Specifically, my dissertation explored the effects of on-screen user-generated comments (i.e., tweets on TV) on how viewers cognitively process such messages, their perceptions of social presence, and their viewing experience. In addition to testing and expanding mass media theory and social psychology concepts, my research provides practical insights for creating television with social media content to produce desired results for both the industry and the viewer. 

How do you think these opportunities have prepared you for your future career?

In CCI, I was able to apply and test my skills in multiple domains and across multiple methodological approaches. Many projects did not work as expected, teaching me valuable lessons about design, planning, and overcoming failures. Working as both a project lead and a contributing researcher has prepared me for collaborative research. 

What courses/instructors were most influential in your doctoral program?

Dr. Nick Geidner’s passion for experimental research in hot topics and trends and Dr. Suzie Allard’s breadth of knowledge across the television industry and academia have strongly influenced my continued success. Professors like Dr. John Haas and Dr. Ronald Taylor, who took interest in my personal success, constantly provided a positive influence to work hard and strive to be the best. 

What advice do you have for incoming graduate students? 

Find something that you are passionate about and stay focused on it. The more you can integrate the same topic or interest into your courses and projects, the more knowledge and expertise you can gain and the easier the process will be. In addition, be a self-starter. Graduate school is a self-directed journey that can take you as far and wide as you desire. I think any doctoral student will find that building a solid working relationship with your dissertation advisor is the most influential and rewarding piece of the PhD puzzle. The CCI faculty and staff are wonderfully supportive and encouraging and will help in your development, but you must be willing to seek out or create opportunities that will support your goals and future plans.    

When you graduate you will part of the CCI family for life.  Your success will contribute to the success of other CCIFLers and vice versa.  What does it mean to you to be CCIFL? 

Earning the degree from CCI affords me membership into an elite category of industry and academic professionals around the world. To be part of this network is a prestigious honor. 

Prepared by the 2016-2017 CCI Spotlight Task Force

  • Lindsey Bier
  • LaVerne Gray
  • Abhijit Mazumdar
  • Whitney Tipton