Ph.D. Student Named Berkman Fellow

Posted on: August 19, 2014

Sonya Song mainSonya Song, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Media and Information, has been named a Berkman Fellow by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

One of only 20 people to be named to the 2014-2015 class of Berkman fellows, Song will join her fellow class who will primarily work in Cambridge, Mass., alongside Berkman directors and staff, and will serve as key instigators within this vibrant research community.

"The incoming class of Berkman fellows, associates and affiliates brings together an extraordinary group of thinkers, explorers, researchers, creators, bridge-builders, movers and shakers from various disciplines and different parts of the world," said Urs Gasser, Berkman's Executive Director and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. "Collectively, they reflect the breadth and depth of a rapidly evolving Internet and society research agenda and form part of an expanding human and institutional network focused on such issues.

"We're thrilled to work with such a diverse, talented, inspired and committed group of colleagues and friends over the next academic year and beyond."

During her fellowship, Song plans to investigate Internet policy, social media and its impact, and technological innovations across newsrooms.

"It's my honor to be selected as a Berkman Fellow and I'm looking forward to meeting and learning from the community," she said.

Song joined MSU's Media and Information Studies program in the fall of 2009 where she studies media economics under the supervision of Professor Steve Wildman.

"Sonya's success and recognition are well-deserved," Wildman said. "She brings to her work an admirable combination of creativity, technical skills, and an ability to see practical applications of cutting-edge research methods."

This is the third fellowship Song has received while attending MSU. She was awarded a Google Policy Fellowship in 2012 and a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellowship in 2013.

"I feel very fortunate to be accepted by the MIS program at MSU," Song said. "The professors here have very strong and diverse academic backgrounds, such as journalism, psychology, economics and information science. Their interdisciplinary training has equipped me with theories and practices from various disciplines. In particular, I'm very grateful to my adviser Steve Wildman for showing me how to study media phenomena through economic perspectives.

"The MIS program has well prepared me for the three fellowships I've received, which indeed look for people with a good understanding of multiple subjects."

Song holds a bachelor's and master's degree in computer science from Tsinghua University in Beijing and a master of philosophy in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests are in online news media and emerging technologies.

Song has worked as a reporter and columnist covering online media and technology sectors at China Internet Weekly (Beijing), BlogChina.com (Beijing), New Weekly (Guangzhou) and Sanlian Life Week (Beijing). She also has been involved with Internet start-ups during the brainstorming stage.

Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. It is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology and society.

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