Lab Members

Current Student Members

dorothyDorothy Feltner is a second-year Ph.D. student, with a B.S. in Physical Geography at Northern Michigan University, and Masters in Sustainable Management with the University of Wisconsin Superior. While completing her M.S., she moved to Hazard, KY to serve the rural community there as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, performing capacity building services related to food security. After her term of service in AmeriCorps, she decided to serve a second term as a VISTA in Albion, MI and aided in the formation of a small non-profit that catalyzed community gardening on vacant lots. Her research interests include organizational communication and sustainability, and she is part of a R.IS.E. Lab research team studying entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Mostafa Aniss is a third-year Ph.D. student who is passionate about qualitative methods, interpersonal communication, and social media. His research interests focus on how social media affordances are employed to fulfill particular communicative goals, such as expressing romantic interest.


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Kelsey Husnick is a second-year Ph.D. student studying organizational communication and journalism, with a focus on resilience and organizing for social justice initiatives. She received her M.A. in Communication with a global focus and an M.B.A. from Kent State University in 2017. Before that, she worked on the business news desk at The Columbus Dispatch. She is currently on a R.I.S.E. Lab team researching the collective meaning-making of water access in Metro Detroit. Additionally, she is researching how variations in elements of news practice, such as sourcing, headline styles and allocation of editing resources, affect perceptions of credibility, perception and value of news.


Ariel Achatz is a second-year Master’s Student on the Public Relations and Organizational Communications track. She has worked with R.I.S.E. Lab on a project about enacting environmental sustainability on an urban research university. Her interests include environmental sustainability and leadership styles. Currently she works as a communications professional and teaches yoga part-time!



Liz Pandzich is a Ph.D. student, with an emphasis on organizational communication. Currently her studies focus on stereotypes within the workplace, and specifically how popular culture and media may play a role in perpetuating these stereotypes. She’s also working on a group research project studying the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Detroit, and how various organizations play a role in developing burgeoning businesses in the region.

Brianna Jones

Nubia Brewster

Julia Gryzwinski

RISE Lab Graduates

  • William P. Cooper, MA
  • Kevin Hardges, MA
  • Samantha Most
  • Jason Revoir, MA
  • Erika Thrubis, MA
  • Nathaniel Warshay, MA
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