OUR TEAM

DANIELLE K BROWN.HEIC
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DR. DANIELLE K BROWN
CHRISTINA HARISIADIS
FOLASADE ADESANYA 

Danielle K. Brown, PhD (she/her) is the LIFT project lead and the John & Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity and Equality in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is an award-winning, political communication researcher investigating the intersection of media, historically excluded communities, and social justice efforts. She is known for her media critiques of protest coverage and is now interested in producing solutions-based research that intervenes with power systems that oppress. Read more about her work here: www.daniellekbrown.com

Christina Harisiadis (she/her) is a second-year master’s student in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her research interests lay at the intersection of diversity, equity, and inclusion and organizational communication, and she works to center marginalized communities in her research. Christina received her BA in strategic communication with minors in Spanish and sociology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2021.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, taking dance classes, trying new recipes, and a rousing game of Scrabble.

Folasade Adesanya (she/they) is a second-year doctoral student at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Her research interests revolve around social/alternative media’s role in collective liberation struggles through a queer and trans lens. Folasade is the founder of The Black Syllabus, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and higher education in the Black community. Additionally, Folasade is a writer working on projects surrounding gender, sexuality, identity, self-expression, auto/biographical works, and poetry.

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DR. DENETRA WALKER
DR. VALERIE BELAIR-GAGNON
DR. ELISIA COHEN

Denetra Walker, PhD (she/her) is an incoming assistant professor at the Grady School, University of Georgia. She is an award-winning television news journalist and journalism scholar. Dr. Walker’s research focuses on the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented journalists in the digital age, social justice and activism, police shootings, maternal health, and has a growing interest in racialized mis/disinformation. Her dissertation focuses on the experiences of Black journalists and their connections with the Black community. Previously, Walker worked in several behind-the-scenes roles in television news markets including Augusta, GA; New York, NY; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Columbia, SC—covering some of the nation's biggest stories. Walker’s experience working in and managing a T.V. newsroom inform her teaching and academic research. 

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon, PhD (she/her), is Associate Professor and Cowles Fellow in Media Management at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is affiliated with the Department of Sociology and a McKnight Presidential Fellow at the University of Minnesota. She is also an Affiliated Fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. Her publicly engaged and empirical research has made contributions to the understanding of digital innovation and engagement in journalism. She studies digital media as structuring conditions of journalistic work, including how old and new actors adapt and respond to change in digital innovation, and the cultural forces of change in news organizations and the news industry. Read more:  www.valeriebelairgagnon.com

Elisia L. Cohen, PhD (she/her) is the Director of the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is an award-winning, health communication researcher investigating community-based news media and communication approaches to improving public health. She is known for developing innovative media and community-based outreach strategies to improve vaccination rates, cancer prevention, and detection behaviors in underserved communities.

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REV. TERRANCE M. MCKINLEY

An itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Terrance M. McKinley is a Senior Staff Member at Sojourners, the nation’s largest Christian messaging, media, and mobilizing organization. Throughout his ministry he has demonstrated his commitment to the work of faith and justice. Rev. Terrance McKinley is the Director of Racial Justice Mobilizing and provides leadership to three of the organizations key efforts focused on voting rights, racialized policing and justice reform, and radical truth-telling and repair for African Americans that properly acknowledges and memorializes our nation’s legacy of racial injustice, and is a catalyst for progress that ultimately eliminates persistent racial inequities. Rev. McKinley is also the Pastor of the historic Campbell AME Church in Washington D.C. Prior to his most recent appointment, he served as the Pastor of Hosanna AME Church in Darlington Maryland, on the Ministerial Staff of Reid Temple A.M.E. Church, and The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in his hometown, Queens New York. He is grateful to have also served in an interim role as Pastor of Mokone Memorial AME Church in Soweto, South Africa. Rev. McKinley has served in ministry the AME Church for over twenty years. He is an Alum of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree and holds Honors. He is also an Alum of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. Essence Magazine recognized him as a “Do Right Man” because of his community activism. The African American Pulpit Journal honored him as one of “The 20 to Watch Leaders Under 40”. He received the Distinguished Clergy Leadership Award from the Skinner Leadership Institute a storied organization committed to producing high character leaders, social innovators, and community builders. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Black Christian Influencers (BCI), a fast growing, online network of young difference makers who are using digital platforms to amplify and share stories with the world. He serves on the National Advisory Committee (NAC) for the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing. He also serves on the Board of Examiners for the Washington Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Over the course of his career, Rev. Terrance M. McKinley has been committed to scholarship, leadership, justice, and relevant ministry that meets the needs of people and confronts broken systems. He is committed to ministry that impacts the community, the nation, and the world.