Faculty & Staff
Dr. Musonda Kapatamoyo
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
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
Associate 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. Elza Ibroscheva
Associate Provost, Professor

Office Phone: (618) 650-3772

Ph.D. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
M.A. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
B.A. American University in Bulgaria

My research interests focus on media developments in Eastern Europe and include media stereotypes, international and political communication, gender representations, and media and nationalism.

In addition to many articles and book chapters, I am the author of Advertising, Sex, and Post-Socialism: Women, Media, and Femininity in the Balkans (Lexington, 2013). I am also the co-editor, with Maria Raicheva-Stover, of Women in Politics and Media: Perspectives from Nations in Transition (Bloomsbury, forthcoming in 2014). You can find out more about my work at

Alex P. Leith
Assistant Professor

Office Phone: (618) 650-2245

Ph.D. Michigan State University (ABD), East Lansing, MI
M.A. Southern Illinios University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
B.A. Brigham Young University Idaho, Rexburg, ID

My research examines online communities and their relationship with content creators. I began with qualitative research methods while completing my master's degree in Speech Communication here at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. While completing my Ph.D., I began exploring methods for upscaling qualitative methods to computational analysis. My primary research utilizes the machine learning practice of natural language processing to explore livestream chats. I was hired into the Mass Communications department to teach media analytics and design courses, as well as building new courses. My interests include video games and representations of mental health, gender, race, and LGBTQ online.


Dr. Shi Li
Associate 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
Associate 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

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.

Ben Moyer
Broadcast Engineer

Office Phone: 618-650-5987

Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a minor in Anthropology SIUE 1996.

I worked as a freelance videographer, audio engineer, teleprompter operator and gaffer from 1996 to 2014. During that time, Ben Moyer did production on news and sports for every major network, as well as many foreign networks and media agencies such as NHK Japan, ESPN Desportes and Dorna. Additionally, I  did a wide variety of commercial and industrial production work for businesses both large and small, locally, regionally and nationally. In 2014, I was hired by SIUE as a Multimedia Supervisor for the Morris University Center.


Theresa Pauli
Broadcast Engineer

Office Phone: 618-650-5987

Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a minor in English, SIUE 1992

Theresa Pauli returned to SIUE in December of 2019 as a broadcast engineer. Her first tour of the university was as an undergraduate student earning a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a Minor in English in 1992. She began working in local St. Louis media before she earned her degree in 1990 as a production assistant at KPLR, which was a long standing number one rated independent station in the country for years. From, there she worked her way into positions as a video editor, a video journalist and as a broadcast engineer. Between 2000 and 2003 she gave birth to two sons and ventured out into the freelance world so she could have more time with her children. Theresa worked between St. Louis affiliate stations for CBS and FOX as well as continuing to work for KPLR through it all. In 2015 Theresa shifted gears into the management world and accepted a position as the Newsroom Operations Manager for KTVI, a demanding position that supported thirteen hours of live news a day.

Theresa's career of thirty years in St. Louis media gave her many opportunities to cover presidential and papal visits as well as numerous Super Bowls, World Series and of course one magical Stanley Cup. Some of the most memorable and touching stories she covered includes those that come with working in a city that continuously has one of the highest murder rates in the country as well as being the first crew on the scene as protests erupted in Ferguson in 2015. Working for a powerhouse like KTVI, the FOX affiliate in St. Louis, gave her opportunities to engineer and ultimately manage hours of live remote broadcasts literally from inside a cave to being on the field for numerous Cardinal Opening Days.

Theresa has cherished her time as a media professional, but her passion lies within the raising of her two sons. She loves the outdoors as she explores the miles of bike trails we have in the metro area and has a couple of first place trophies under her belt from coaching her sons Little League Baseball teams. Now that she has returned to SIUE she hopes she can help to grow the department and bring her knowledge and experience to students who are looking to have exciting careers in media.


Josie Morris
Office Manager

Office Phone: (618) 650-2230