Hi, my name is Alvin Y. Zhou, an Asian chipmunk as my friends say.
I am currently pursuing my PhD in Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where I am advised by Dr. Sandra González-Bailón. I earned my M.A. in Strategic Public Relations from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, where I was supervised by Dr. Aimei Yang. I hold dual Bachelor degrees (B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering & B.A. in Journalism) from Tsinghua University. I have also worked with, and gotten inspired by Dr. Joe Saltzman, Dr. Patricia Riley, Dr. Jianbin Jin, Dr. Robert Kozinets, Dr. Larry Gross, and Dr. Jay Wang.
My research focuses on two topical areas that I have been interested in since college. First, I study (the new) political communication. I am collaborating with Dr. Yphtach Lelkes on a study that explores social media affordance and political talks. I am also an active member of the DiMeNet research group, where I work for a NSF grant that is developing network measures for digital news consumption. Second, I study public relations. I am aggressively using network and computational methods to examine causal inferences and advance theories that were previously established by case studies and surveys, in subfields such as CSR (corporate social responsibility), corporate communication, and OPR (organization-public relationships). This series of work has won two Top Student Paper Awards.
I was a communication practitioner before entering the academia. Between 2014 and 2016, I was a reporter and later on a freelance writer at Vista Story, the best-selling news magazine in China. I published dozens of original writing pieces on national and international politics. I have also worked for BlueFocus Communication Group as a public relations consultant, for China Central Television as an investigative reporter, and for Xinhua News Agency as a news anchor.
I am a proud member of the Apple fandom with MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad Pro, Apple TV, Apple Watch, AirPod, and HomePod. I love music and go to concerts often. You can find my Apple Music profile down below. I hold a MoviePass, and rarely miss good movies in theater. I travel as much as I can with my r/churning hobby. I see Los Angeles as my hometown.