Faculty & Staff
Dr. Musonda Kapatamoyo
Associate Professor, Chair

Office Phone: (618) 650-2248

Ph.D. Ohio University, Athens, OH
M.A. Ohio University, OH
B.A. University of Zambia

I teach writing and design for the Web, multimedia use in mass media, advanced multimedia, new technology and media, and information technology and society. My research interests include use and impacts of information and communication technologies; creation, use and impact of Web 2.0 for ubiquitous learning; and political economy of media.

Dr. Suman Mishra
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

Office Phone: (618)650-5628

Ph.D. Temple University
M.A. Michigan State University
M.A. Institute of Management Studies, India
Diploma International Marketing Communications, IAA, New York

I am an interdisciplinary teacher-scholar with a background in science and arts. I am interested in intercultural communication, strategic communication, visual communication and health communication. I am particularly interested in media communication in developing countries (BRICs nations).

I teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses: Research Methods in Mass Communication, Media Law and Policy, International Advertising, Transnational Media, Mass Media in Society, Media Campaigns, and Freshman Seminar.

Dr. Undrah Baasanjav
Assistant Professor

Office Phone: (618)650-5687

Ph.D. Ohio University Athens, OH
M.A. Ohio University, Athens, OH
M.Sc. Novosibirsk State Technological University, Russia

I teach Design and Writing for Digital Media (undergraduate), Advanced Design and Writing for Digital Media (undergraduate/graduate), Identity and Emerging Media (graduate/undergraduate), Research Methods and Communication Theory (graduate) courses.  I also taught digital and new media courses at Temple and Michigan Technological Universities.

I research internet governance, mediated political and social processes, and the gender aspects of online gaming. My scholarship appears in Journal of Cyber Policy, iCS (Information, Communication, and Society), International Journal of Digital Television, Journal of Information Technology and Politics, New Media and Society, Explorations in Media Ecology, the Online Journal of Space Communication, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Teaching Media Quarterly, and Telecommunications Policy.

Dr. Gary R. Hicks

Office Phone: (618 )650-2242

Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin
M.A. University of Missouri-Columbia
B.S. Texas Christian University

My research focuses on the impact of media on society's marginalized communities. I have done qualitative studies of media portrayals of lesbians and gay men, immigrants, and the disabled. My current research focuses on media portrayals of those suffering mental illness. My framework for studying these groups includes ethical theory, as well as critical and cultural theories. Because of my background as a newspaper reporter and as an associate producer in the southwest bureau of The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, I work to make my research relevant and applicable to the real-world work of media practitioners.

Dr. Shi Li
Assistant Professor

Office Phone: (618)650-2236

Ph.D. Indiana University Bloomington
M.A. Temple University

My current research project is on the developments of Chinese photography between 1976 and 1989, exploring the interactions among media, society, and politics. Prior to coming to the United States, I worked for four years as a web and photography editor at China Daily, a national English-language newspaper based in Beijing.


Dr. Mark Poepsel
Assistant Professor

Office Phone: (618)650-2237

Ph.D. Univerisity of Missouri-Columbia
M.A. University of Arizona
B.A. Univerisity of Missouri-Columbia

Mark moved with his wife, Gaby, and son, Sammy, to SIUE to be closer to his place of birth and to teach digital journalism and graduate research courses. Mark grew up in Washington, Missouri. He went to St. Francis Borgia Regional High School where he played soccer, ran track, played a little basketball and was active in theater and competitive speaking.

He earned a Journalism degree with a focus on broadcasting as well as a BA in English from Mizzou in 2002. Mark was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary societies. Mark then worked as a television reporter in the Quad Cities (KWQC) and later in Tucson, Arizona (KOLD, ironically). He returned to academia to complete his master’s degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona before continuing on to earn his Ph.D. Mark conducts research in media sociology with a focus on how news organizations react to and try to shape evolving communication technologies to suit their needs as they work to inform society. Mark has been married to Gabriela Renteria-Poepsel for 12 years. They met in Guadalajara in 1999, when Mark was a sophomore in college studying Spanish abroad. Mark and Gaby have a son named Sammy, who is hilarious and adorable.

Dr. Ashton Gerding Speno
Assistant Professor

Office Phone: (618) 650-3110

Ph.D. in Communication, University of Missouri
M.A. University of Delaware
B.A. in Communication, University of Missouri

Dr. Speno joins SIUE after completing a Preparing Future Faculty Fellowship at the University of Missouri. Her research primarily focuses on issues of gender and sexualization in the media, adolescents’ experiences with new media technologies, and media effects on attitudes, behaviors, health outcomes, and self-concept. Ashton has presented competitively selected papers at the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, Central States Communication Association, and Eastern States Communication Association conferences, and her work has been has published in journals such as Sex Roles, The Journal of Media Psychology, Communication Monographs, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. She loves teaching classes related to media and culture, media effects, and new media.

Dr. Jason Yu
Associate Professor

Office Phone: (618)650-2219

Ph.D. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A. The University of Texas at Austin
B.A. Zhejilang University (China)

Dr. Yu joined the Department of Mass Communications faculty in the fall of 2007. He teaches undergraduate-level courses including Fundamentals of Advertising, Media Planning and media psychology and a graduate-level course Research Methods in Mass Communication.

He has worked as a copywriter, print ad designer, campaign planner, and media sales representative for advertising agencies and newspapers in China. He also worked for KFC as the assistant manager of its Public Affair department at its headquarters in Hangzhou China (Hangzhou KFC Inc). His primary research interests are in the areas of consumer behavior and marketing communication such as consumer cognitive process of advertising messages and the effects of marketing information on consumer attitude and behavior. Dr. Yu's research has been presented at major conferences including Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), International Communication Association (ICA), and National Communication Association (NCA).

Cory Byers

Office Phone: (618)650-3827

Cory Byers is an Instructor in the Department of Mass Communications, the Director of Video Services, the faculty advisor for the Advertising Club, and an award-winning video producer.

With a background and advanced degrees in both advertising (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and video production (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Byers teaches a number of courses in each area, including: Copywriting & Design, Electronic Media Advertising, Advertising Campaigns, Advanced Video Writing and Production, and Advanced Video Directing and Producing.

He is a member of the Broadcast Education Association, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the American Advertising Federation. As Director of Video Services, Byers produces commercials, promotional videos, web videos, documentaries, and educational and instructional videos for internal and external clients. On his own, and with students, he produces short-form documentaries, short films, and commercials. Here's an example:

Tammy Merrett
Program Director, The Alestle & Mass Communications Instructor

Office Phone: (618)650-3597
Website Links:

Tammy Merrett is an award-winning college media adviser with 18 years of student newspaper advising experience and has worked in the field as a professional journalist–both as a reporter and editor–since 1986. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists since 2010, first as University Liaison and then as President.

Merrett has also served on the board of the Illinois College Press Association since 2012 as 2nd Vice President. Her main duty is improving and coordinating the statewide journalism contest each year. As an extension of her role as a college media adviser and member of SPJ, she has devoted time throughout recent years to judging national and statewide journalism contests for professionals and students. Originally from Kansas, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a News Editorial emphasis from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. After moving to and working in Central Missouri, she then earned a Master of Arts in Communications Management from Webster University in St. Louis.She was also a member of the St. Louis Journalism Review Board of Editorial Advisers and worked for the media criticism publication in various capacities for 12 years. Before joining the faculty at SIUE to become the Program Director for The Alestle, she worked for eight years as the faculty adviser to The Montage at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, where her students were Pacemaker finalists and two years as the junior adviser at The Journal at Webster University in St. Louis, where her team won a national Pacemaker Award. Merrett-Murry lives in St. Louis. In her spare time, she is an official for Confluence Crush Roller Derby.

Tom Atwood
Instructor of Broadcast Journalism

Office Phone: (618)650-2796
Cell Phone: (618) 558-4949
Website Links:

I have taught journalism and production courses at SIU Edwardsville since 2006. I also produce documentaries for national broadcast through my production company, Tom Atwood Media. Those documentaries have been nominated for nine Emmys, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Public Affairs Program in 2003 for "Invisible Weapons," a documentary exploring the effects of bullying on American children.

I also won a Peabody in 1993 as executive producer of "Under the Influence," an investigative news documentary that exposed influence peddling and corruption among lawmakers and lobbyist in Tennessee. I believe that even as the tools of production and distribution are changing rapidly, the basics of good production – good storytelling – remain constant. Those basics must always be adapted to the evolving technology. That's the challenge for mass communications students and teachers in the 21st Century.

Wayne Mills
Broadcast Engineer

Office Phone: (618) 650-2243

B.S. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Television Systems Specialist, US Army, Denver, CO September, 1983

Over 25 years experience in the Television Industry. I've worked a number of places including, WSIU-TV/FM Carbondale, IL, Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, GA, and most recently before coming to SIUE, WMAR-TV in Baltimore, MD. My hobbies include hunting, fishing, computers, and video games. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife Jackie, daughters Jennifer and Debi, son-in-law Roger, and my dog Einstein.


Josie Morris
Office Manager

Office Phone: (618) 650-2230