Martin Kaplan holds the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media and Society at the USC Annenberg School, where he was associate dean for ten years. He is the Founding Director of the school’s Norman Lear Center, whose mission is to study and shape the impact of media and entertainment on society. He was Vice President Walter Mondale’s chief speechwriter and deputy campaign manager of Mondale’s presidential bid. He worked at Walt Disney Studios for 12 years, where he was first a feature films vice president and then a screenwriter/producer. His movie credits include The Distinguished Gentleman, starring Eddie Murphy, and the film adaptation of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off. A summa cum laude in molecular biology from Harvard College, where he was president of The Harvard Lampoon, he won a First in English as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University, and he holds a Ph.D. from Stanford in modern thought and literature. Read more.
Johanna Blakley is the Managing Director at the Norman Lear Center, where she performs research on global entertainment, cultural diplomacy, celebrity culture, fashion, digital media and intellectual property law. She received a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught courses on popular culture and twentieth-century literature. She has held a variety of positions within the high-tech industry, including Web producer, Web site reviewer, digital archivist and research librarian. Read more.
Kate Folb is the Program Director for the Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society program. Kate comes to HH&S after a career in television and music production/management, followed by more than twenty years in the entertainment education field. As Director of Special Projects at the Scott Newman Center, Kate worked with top TV shows and films on issues of alcohol and other substance abuse. Kate was Director of the Media Project, a partnership of Advocates for Youth and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which addressed portrayals of adolescent reproductive health in the media. More recently, Kate lead Nightingale Entertainment, an independent consulting firm working with organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Planned Parenthood Federation of America on entertainment education and celebrity involvement in national media campaigns. Kate holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Denver, and a Master’s degree in Education from UCLA.
Erica Rosenthal is the Norman Lear Center’s Research Director, where she evaluates the impact of entertainment and media on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior. She has a PhD in social psychology from Claremont Graduate University (CGU), with an emphasis in applied research methods and quantitative analysis. Her research interests center around the social-cognitive mechanisms underlying the influence of media messages. Her dissertation research, for which she received the Arthur Brayfield Outstanding Dissertation Award, examined potential barriers to media literacy. Erica has also conducted research on the “digital divide” in obtaining health information online and the effects of stereotypical portrayals in reality television. She holds a B.A. in psychobiology (concentration in women’s studies) from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. in psychology from CGU.
Veronica Jauriqui is a Project Administrator at the Norman Lear Center where she oversees all center publications and events and manages research projects on entertainment, cultural diplomacy, politics and media. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Whittier College and a Master of Arts in communication from USC. Prior to joining the Lear Center, she worked in health communication and journalism, spending several years as reporter and assistant editor for the Los Angeles Independent newspaper where she won a L.A. Press Club award for newspaper design. She has also done freelance writing for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites and was a contributor for Los Angeles magazine and Performing Arts magazine.
Adam Amel Rogers is a Project Administrator at the Norman Lear Center. His research interests include gay media representation, sports as entertainment and the impact of entertainment on politics. Adam has been a contributor to the NFL Network and Huffington Post. He joined the Lear Center after working in communications for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and serving as Director of Alumni for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). He completed two terms of AmeriCorps service to the American Red Cross, where he responded to national disasters. Also, he has interned with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. Adam has a Masters of Communication Management from the University of Southern California and he graduated magna cum laude in Political Science from California State University, Los Angeles.
Armine Kourouyan is Project Manager for the Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) program at the Norman Lear Center. She has experience working at the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, specializing in risk communication, where she worked to teach public health professionals how to effectively communicate risk to the public and media in the event of an emergency or disaster. She has a background in entertainment education through her work with The Media Project, a program of Advocates for Youth, providing the entertainment industry with the latest facts, research, and script consultations on sexual and reproductive health issues for adolescents. Armine holds a Master of Public Health from UCLA, from the department of Community Health Sciences. She received a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and is certified as a Community Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Roberta Cruger is Program Specialist for the Climate Change Initiative in the Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society program. She has written on environmental issues for Discovery Network’s treehugger.com and Planet Central channel, and has contributed to Smithsonian, Salon, The Believer, National Geographic Traveler and MSNBC. Roberta worked in the entertainment industry as director of special programming at MTV Networks and Time Warner’s Manhattan Cable TV. She also headed the U.S. office of MCA Music International and served as co-executive director of the Grammy Host Committee. Roberta holds a B.F.A. in film and television from New York University. She’s taught at the School of Visual Arts and at Universidad de las Americas when pursuing her master’s in visual anthropology.
Scott McGibbon is the Webmaster at the Norman Lear Center, where he also is project manager on the Popular Music Project. He joined the Lear Center after working as the MIS at Harmonia Mundi and many years writing comedy for television. He’s a WGAw Award Winner for HBO’s Not Necessarily The News, and among the many shows he wrote for are America 2Nite, Alice, and Archie Bunker’s Place. He’s thrilled to be in an environment that unites his love of entertainment with his passions about culture and politics.
Erica Watson-Currie is a Research Associate, where her current projects include investigating the effectiveness of podcast and transmedia projects in journalism, and expanding effective usage of audio-visual interviews and testimonies as primary research sources for use by educators, scholars, and community groups. Erica previously spent two years as a Senior Evaluator at a private firm, whose projects included NASA and NSF grant-funded STEM education projects, and educational films. She has worked as an instructor, researcher, and experiential learning trainer at the University of Southern California. Erica received her Ph.D in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC, along with Masters degrees in both Communication Theory and Communication Management.
Russell DeVita is the web editor and writer for Hollywood, Health & Society at the Norman Lear Center. In addition, he oversees all social media outreach for HH&S and designs its communication publications. Before joining the Lear Center, he worked as a graphic designer, award-winning magazine art director and journalist, and spent several years as an editor, writer and designer at the Los Angeles Times, where he was part of an editorial team that shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. He holds a BA in journalism from SUNY College at Buffalo, and a BFA from Art Center College of Design. A Brooklyn native, Russell still considers New York his true home.
Kristin (Eun Jung) Jung is a Research Specialist for the Media Impact Project (MIP) at the Norman Lear Center, focusing on evaluating the impact and efficacy of entertainment media in public diplomacy. Kristin is in charge of managing MIP’s public diplomacy research portfolio. These include leading evaluation research for the US State Department’s cultural diplomacy programs: American Film Showcase (AFS), Global Media Makers (GMM), Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI) and Media Meets Message (MMM). Kristin has led a survey of evidence-based research looking at the cultural impact of media storytelling on Arab and Muslim audiences as part of the MMM project. More broadly, she is passionate about developing best practices for the use of mixed research methods in analyzing the social impact of media and the use of media as an agent of diplomacy. She has skills in qualitative and quantitative content analysis as well as social media analytics, with a focus on sentiment analysis. Kristin holds two bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Media & Communications from Korea University and a Master’s Degree in Public Diplomacy from USC.
Emily Peterson is a Senior Research Analyst where she oversees statistical analyses, survey development, and data interpretation. She previously completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Behavioral Research Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). At NCI, her work focused on the effects of medical misinformation in the media and in social media. Her research interests also include identifying predictors of trust in national health information sources and developing persuasive health messages for tobacco control. Emily holds a PhD in Communication from George Mason University (2016) and a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Brigham Young University (2008).
Tony Pham worked at the USC Libraries, Science & Engineering Library as the Assistant Library Manager and also worked as a Computer Consultant for a joint venture between USC Libraries and USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science computer technology help desk. Tony previously worked as well for USC Information Services Division as assistant procurement specialist. Tony is an alumni of the University of Southern California, and has studied Computer Science in Computer Security and Civil Engineering Building Science, with a Minor in Architecture.
Melissa Gattuso joined HH&S after working at Silverlining, a vocational training center run by The Help Group, which prepares students with autism and other special needs for a successful career after graduation. She previously worked as an assistant at 3 Arts Entertainment, a management and production company located in Beverly Hills, before deciding to pursue opportunities in the nonprofit world. She has also worked as a production assistant for CBS’ The Good Wife and Person of Interest. Her internship experience includes working at MTV2 and MTVU as well as a variety of production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. She has her bachelor’s degree in Television, Radio & Film from Syracuse University.