New directors in Los Angeles, New York

Leadership appointments for UTLA, UTNY programs

Moody College of Communication Dean Jay Bernhardt is announcing the appointment of new directors for The University of Texas at Austin’s “study away” programs in Los Angeles and New York following national searches.

Mira Lippold-Johnson has been named director of the Wofford Denius UTLA Center for Entertainment and Media Studies in Los Angeles; she has served as acting director during the past year. Laura Brown, who has served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Health Communication since 2017, will serve as UTNY program director in New York City, which operates in collaboration with the McCombs School of Business, College of Fine Arts and College of Liberal Arts.

“Laura and Mira are strong, visionary leaders with an unwavering commitment to interdisciplinary academic programs,” Bernhardt said. “They are the ideal faculty directors to lead these two experiential and enrichment initiatives and help prepare students for careers in our country’s two largest and most vibrant cities.”

UTLA and UTNY bring together the best of what UT Austin offers students – direct instruction, industry internships and professional networks. The directors of both programs work in administrative and academic capacities.

Lippold-Johnson will also serve as an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at Moody College. She has prior industry experience as director, editor, producer, animator and cinematographer, and she supervised digital media content at the Smithsonian Channel. She also has teaching experience in the Department of Radio-Television-Film and Austin Community College. She holds an MFA in film production from Moody College and received a BA in linguistics from Harvard University.

Brown will also serve as an assistant professor of practice in Moody College’s Department of Communication Studies. She has more than a decade of instructional experience in both undergraduate and graduate courses. After serving as an assistant professor at Western Kentucky for two years, Brown returned to Moody College as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Health Communication. One of her key duties was facilitating an interdisciplinary education initiative between Moody College and the College of Pharmacy. Brown earned a BA from Elmhurst College, master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then pursued a PhD in communication studies here at the Moody College of Communication.

“We are very fortunate to have these director-designates in place to steer our LA and NY programs through difficult and unsteady times,” Bernhardt said.

UTLA and UTNY in-residence Summer 2020 programming has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Admitted students have three options: defer acceptance to a future in-residence program in Fall 2020, Spring 2021 or Summer 2021; participate in a reduced-cost virtual program; or receive a full refund.

Students who choose the virtual program this summer will be able to earn up to 12 hours of academic credit and maintain progress toward graduation and degree planning goals.

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