Kruthika Kamath is a Mass Communication Ph.D. student in the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Along with providing communications and editing assistance at IPO, Kruthika’s Ph.D. research features the study of the social movements and the content generated from them. Specifically, she looks at the present relationship between social media discourse and news coverage, as well as the potential implications for future social movements. And from September 2018 through July 2021, IPO was fortunate to have her join the team as our project assistant (PA).
Below is an excerpt from a conversation, where Kruthika shares about her experience as the IPO PA, the impact it has had on her Ph.D. experience, and her future plans post-IPO.
What were your responsibilities as the IPO PA?
Kruthika: Since I joined IPO in 2018, my responsibilities have slowly increased. Initially, I worked specifically on copy-editing reports for the different IPO partnerships and projects, but over the course of my time I have morphed into the go-to communications person for the office. This is specifically because of my background in advertising and marketing, which Dr. Elise Ahn encouraged I use, and I am proud to have played a part in developing an extensive marketing portfolio for IPO, one which will sustain even after I leave. Thanks to support from Elise, Dr. Virginia Martin, Gina Barbosa, and Steve Barcus, IPO now has a fully functioning social media docket, a dynamic website, and external marketing brochures, all of which contribute to the office’s engagement within UW and externally.
What was your overall experience working with IPO and the International Division?
Kruthika: I have had the best three years working as the PA for IPO. It has been a part of my Ph.D. experience, as I joined my first year here at UW and will be leaving as I enter my fourth year. They not only provided me with the funding I needed to sustain as a Ph.D. student but also equipped me with the knowledge and skills I need as a researcher. On top of that, they have given me complete support and flexibility as I navigated my way through coursework and research projects. Working on all the communication and copy-editing projects gave me a good break from schoolwork and I got to have fun getting those creative juices flowing. Another thing I am thankful for is the exposure to how the International Division of a university works. Even though I am an international student, this is a side I don’t get to see often and being a part of IPO and the International Division gave me that opportunity. I got to work on some level with the different units in the Division and represent IPO in the Division, which was something I had never done before. I’m barely scratching the surface of my experience, but I know I will be taking all of this with me as I work as a TA academic year, complete my Ph.D. and eventually enter the working world.
What are your long-term plans for dissertation and research?
Kruthika: My dissertation will be studying the relationship between the social media discourse and subsequent news coverage on the #MeToo movement in India. I want to analyze if there is an agenda-setting relationship between the two forms of content. If yes, what is it? If no, why not? And what does this relationship/lack of mean for the future success of feminist social movements in India. Additionally, I am also working on a long-term project with a team studying the social media coverage of the larger abortion discussion in the U.S.
Update: Since this interview, Kruthika went on to successfully pass her preliminary examinations and is now A.B.D.