Diversity and equality researcher receives Kopenhaver Center’s 2020 Early-Career Woman Scholar Award


Danielle Kilgo, a researcher, professor and advocate for human rights, has been awarded the seventh annual 2020 Early-Career Woman Scholar Award from the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication, housed in the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA). The award, given in partnership with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Commission on the Status of Women, honors an early-career woman scholar who demonstrates outstanding research and great potential for future scholarship.

From internet memes to Ebola news coverage, Kilgo’s areas of focus are media access and media representation by analyzing issues related to conflict. She is currently an assistant professor at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Minnesota as well as the John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity and Equality.

As a 2019 Knight Foundation grant recipient, a 2018 AEJMC Emerging Scholars grant recipient and a 2018 AEJMC Mass Communication & Society division grant recipient, Kilgo is renowned for her research. Her specific studies include topics such as Black Lives Matter, crime, transnational social movements, international health crises and viral social media campaigns.

“The journey to this moment has been challenging, personally and professionally,” Kilgo says regarding her research. “One of the greatest challenges has been the changing faces of racism, how it has shaped my life, and how it has stolen the lives of so many others.”

She shares how her research appeals to the advancement of communicators and women. “I became dedicated to being part of the solution to the intersectional fight to eradicate inequalities through my research, in my classrooms and in the institutions and organizations with which I’ve been affiliated.”

Kilgo was presented the Early-Career Woman Scholar Award during the 103rd annual AEJMC 2020 virtual conference. AEJMC is a nonprofit organization for the education of journalism and mass communication scholars, educators, students and professionals.

“Winning this award is so much more than an honor,” she affirms. “This moment of visibility accompanies a mixture of emotions … relief, validation, and joy… that really have to be felt to be understood.”

Kilgo recognizes the women and scholars who have been pioneers in her field of study. “I am very humbled to have been selected, especially knowing that there are a league of fierce and amazing women that deserve this recognition too.”

A diverse panel of an award coordinator and judges selected this year’s awardee: Katie R. Place from Quinnipiac University, Lisa Burns from Quinnipiac University, Meta Carstarphen from University of Oklahoma, Spring-Serenity Duvall from Salem College, Maria Elizabeth Len-Rios from University of Georgia, Karen McIntyre from Virginia Commonwealth University (2019 Awardee), Lindsay Palmer from University of Wisconsin, Linda Steiner from University of Maryland, Elizabeth Toth from University of Maryland, Jennifer Vardeman from University of Houston and Yong Volz from University of Missouri.

The award was named in honor of Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, who is dean emeritus and professor at FIU’s School of Communication and Journalism in CARTA. “I’m so thankful that there are trailblazers like Dr. Kopenhaver that are doing the work needed to continue to lift women scholars,” acknowledged Kilgo. “And I pledge to take up arms in that fight as well.”

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