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Julia E. Largent is an Assistant Professor of Communication at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas, where she also serves as the faculty advisor for the student newspaper, The Spectator. Her research focuses on why people are interested in documentaries and how fans communicate and view each other in online spaces. She graduated with her Ph.D. in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University in August 2017. In 2013, Julia received her MA in Digital Storytelling from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where she also grew up. She received her BS in Peace Studies and Communication Studies from Manchester University in 2011. Julia serves as the Managing Editor for the Popular Culture Studies Journal and is also the Graduate Student/New Professional Representative for the Midwest Popular Culture Association.

Dr. Largent will receive the award for her dissertation, Documentary Dialogues: Establishing a Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Documentary Fandom-Filmmaker Social Media Interaction.

Documentary Dialogues breaks new ground in considering nonfiction, documentary programming in relation to fan/viewer communities,” says Dr. Tom Mascaro, of Bowling Green University, and chair of Dr. Largent’s dissertation committee. “Her work exposes numerous lines of critical research in terms of encoding and decoding of nonfiction messages, and whether and how they are affected by social media input. And Largent has probed one of the key concepts of documentary programming — the creator’s desire to reach people and effect change.” Dr. Mascaro continues, “I believe Dr. Julia E. Largent’s dissertation is a stellar example of the tradition of Dr. Kenneth Harwood’s love and respect for history enlivened by the embrace of new and future questions in electronic media research.”

Established by Kenneth Harwood, Professor at the University of Houston and a former President of BEA, the award has been offering $1,000 for the outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in broadcasting and electronic media for over 25 years. The award was established through gifts started by Professor Harwood and a donation from a friend of BEA. Each year the recipient is selected by BEA’s Research Committee. The Harwood Dissertation Award will be presented to Dr. Largent at BEA’s annual convention in Las Vegas during a ceremony and reception on the evening of Sunday, April 8th at the Las Vegas Westgate. Visit the Harwood Dissertation page for more information on the award.