Teaching Assistant Bios

Jesse Benn, Lead TA

Jesse is a third year Ph.D student and father of two who is from Colorado. His writing, a mix of column length opinion pieces and longer essays on subjects like white supremacy, US politics, culture, and society, have been featured in HuffPost, AlterNet, and Revolution News. More importantly, his video has been used in courtrooms to get charges wrongly brought against activists dismissed.

Alex Z.X. Koo, Lab 301

Alex Z.X. Koo is a doctoral student in the SJMC whose research interests include newsroom sociology, the digital transformation of news media and online national identity formation. Prior to that, he was an editor of a Hong Kong news outlet and worked as an investigative reporter for multiple years. He has also served as a part-time pro-track lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Elena Xie, Lab 302

Elena Xie is a second year research M.A. at the SJMC, and she also earned her bachelor’s degree here in 2017. Her research interest lies in advertising strategies, specifically the impact of racial stereotypes on advertising effectiveness.

David Wise, Lab 303

Dave is a PhD student studying the nature and effects of news coverage of political and science-related issues. He earned his M.A. from UW-Milwaukee and works as web editor and content manager for WisPolitics.com.

Hyungjin Gill, Lab 304

HyungJin Gill is a doctoral student at UW-Madison’s J-School. Previously, he worked for an advertising agency under the Samsung Group and was a reporter at a local NPR station. He recently became a dad to a baby boy and has been practicing kindness ever since. As a die-hard basketball fan, he’s been rooting for the San Antonio Spurs for more than 20 years.

Min-Hsin Su, Lab 305

Min-Hsin Su is a Ph.D student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research focuses on media effects, media psychology, and public opinion formation. Some of her recent research looks at how journalists use social media content in their reporting and what might be some implications of this new type of reporting for society.  Before joining the SJMC, she worked as a campus reporter for 2 years in Taiwan, covering international events on campus.

Wendy Swanberg, Lab 306

Wendy is a longtime broadcast TV producer who returned to the J-school in 2002 and has been hooked on research ever since. She attained her B.A. in 1983 from DePaul/Chicago; her M.A. in 2005 from UW. She’s raised three sons (now grown), worked in local government, and managed a large organic crop farm. She teaches Technical Communication for the UW College of Engineering, and is finally an end-stage dissertator in journalism history/First Amendment history.

Noah Benjamin-Pollak, Lab 307

Noah Benjamin-Pollak is a first year graduate student at the SJMC working with Chris Cascio. His research interests are social influence and decision making around alcohol and substance use. He previously worked as managing editor at The National Book Review. He grew up in Boston and went to Boston College as an undergraduate.