Professional headshot featuring young woman with long, dark green hair and oversized red frame glasses.

Hi! I’m Ava Francesca, but let’s be real– that’s a lot of letters, so ‘af’ (/eɪ//f/) is just fine!

I am a first-year Information and Media doctoral student and University Enrichment Fellow at Michigan State University in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, under the advisement of Dr. Kjerstin Thorson. As Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication’s first dual-degree student, I concurrently completed my Master of Science in Global Strategic Communication (2020) and my Bachelor of Arts in Advertising (2019).

My recent projects serve to support a research agenda that is rooted in my journey and the concept of “home.” This work is heavily influenced by socio-spatial and cultural-historical perspectives and centers on the intersection of communication, place, space, technology (old and new), and community.

Prior to completing my dual-degree, I spent considerable time in deindustrialized communities in the United States and Canada, examining the relationship between history, industrial infrastructure, and current community narratives. Since then, I have been haunted by the larger question of the role that industrial infrastructure plays as a communication technology– this idea that “industry giveth and industry taketh away.” More specifically, I am fascinated by how people build communication knowledge and information systems and the integration of old and new technology, specifically within these Boom-Bust communities.

Aside from community-engaged scholarship, I am passionate about service to my communities (current and past), college, university, and discipline. Current service positions include:

When I’m not studying, my interests include volunteering as a public history and industrial heritage tour guide(think “grains and trains”), social activism, rail-fanning, biking, alternative print media, sewing, and photography. Also, I’m a proud cat- and plant-mom (2 cats and 63 plants… thankfully, not the other way around).

Up until recently,  I designed, produced, and managed a size-inclusive, body-positive, femme vintage reproduction apparel line. This project was placed on hiatus during my Ph.D. application process.

Want to collaborate? Feel free to connect under “Contact.”