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New Faculty Spotlight: Mariam Alkazemi, public relations

Jul 31, 2018

Posted in: News

By Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Associate Director

Mariam Alkazemi, Ph.D., assistant professor in public relations
Mariam Alkazemi, Ph.D., assistant professor, public relations 

Mariam Alkazemi, Ph.D., is one of our newest professors in the public relations sequence. She will begin teaching classes this fall.

Welcome to the Robertson School! Tell us a little bit about where you are from and where you worked, or studied, previously? 

I am very excited to move to Richmond from Kuwait, where I was teaching at Gulf University for Science and Technology since 2015. In these three years, I was fortunate to serve as a research fellow at the Middle East Centre of the London School of Economics and Political Science, a research fellow at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a Carnegie fellow in support of Arab social sciences at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. My degrees are from University of Florida (Ph.D., Mass Communication, 2014), Michigan State University (M.A., Advertising and Public Relations, 2009) and George Washington University (B.A., Journalism, 2007). My family lives in Kuwait, and I spent my childhood between Washington, DC and Kuwait.

What is your teaching philosophy? Which classes will you be teaching this upcoming semester?

I encourage students to think, to question, to explore. I want my students to take the class material outside of the classroom. My hope is to excite students about the concepts and examples offered in the classroom so they want to discuss them with friends, family and roommates over meals and in their leisure time.

I enjoy learning and have grown as a person as a result of my education, and I plan on continuing to do so. I hope students are inspired by my desire to learn from and with them, as well as by the example I set as a lifelong learner. I think this is the mindset of a researcher, and I will be teaching two sections of MASC 425 Public Relations Research Methods and one section of MASC 611 Research Methods in Mass Communication in the fall 2018 semester.

How do you keep current in this ever changing media environment?

There are many ways I try to keep current in the ever-changing media environment. I spend a lot of time reading both the mainstream media and specialized journals or books. I work hard to acquire skills that would update my ability to study the rapidly-changing media environment, including learning the basics of computer programming, exploring popular apps, and taking courses either in-person or online. I also enjoy attending lectures and learning from people with different perspectives, cultural backgrounds, disciplines and methodological backgrounds. I enjoy research because it helps me learn, find examples and express my curiosity at the changing world around me.

Which area do you focus on in your scholarship? 

My focus is primarily on international communication, and have experience working on interdisciplinary research projects. I have found a niche for my research at the intersection of Middle East Studies and Media Studies. In May 2018, a book I co-authored was published by Wolters Kluwer on Kuwaiti media law. Other recent articles deal with the intersection of media with religion, oil prices, culture and other issues that are commonly analyzed in Middle East Studies. My articles have been published in Newspaper Research Journal, International Communication Gazette, Corporate Communications and Journal of Media and Religion.  

Some of my interdisciplinary projects involve the intersection of communication technologies and the built environment of healthcare facilities. Some of my interdisciplinary research has been published in American Journal of Medical Quality and Health Environments Research and Design Journal.

Tell us something personal about yourself. What hobbies and interests do you have outside of the classroom?

When I am not teaching, I enjoy seeing friends and family, traveling, walking or jogging with my dog, Chelsea. Chelsea and I enjoy meeting new people with different backgrounds on our walks. Also, I thrive when I can express my creativity through writing, cooking, and playing the ukulele. I really enjoy new experiences and cannot wait to see more of Richmond and try out the foodie and art scene that I’ve read so much about. I used to be part of a writing group, called Shut Up & Write, which got together and quietly wrote for an hour. I have been thinking about trying to develop a branch in Richmond after getting more settled.

Because of my many interests (and limited resources including time and money), I tend to develop routines and schedule my time carefully. I had a friend who fondly referred to me as Mechanical Mariam because of this. Moving away from a laidback culture where time is flexible and a large, creative family, I really hope to find a community that shares my appreciation for punctuality and effective time-planning.