I’m Ava Francesca!

I am an Information and Media doctoral student and University Enrichment Fellow at Michigan State University in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations.


Academic Bio

Ava Francesca Battocchio is an 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. Their course of study also includes a graduate certificate in Community Engagement. Ava Francesca’s pronouns are they, them, theirs. Their full name is pronounced “eh-VAH-fran-CHES-kuh bah-TAH-chee-OH,” but go by their first name initials, “a f” for short.

Ava Francesca’s experience as a working-class, low-income, non-traditional student shapes their desire to be a community-engaged researcher and public scholar. After three attempts at community college, in two states, they earned their associate degree in 2015 from Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 2017, Ava Francesca moved from Duluth, Minnesota to Chicago and was Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication’s first dual-degree student. Working their way through school, they concurrently completed their Master of Science in Global Strategic Communication (2020) and Bachelor of Arts in Advertising (2019).

Ava Francesca hopes to use their experience to open a discussion about the value of both formal and informal education along with shedding light on why it can be difficult for people without a traditional educational journey to find their way to graduation.

Research Interests

Keywords: Media ecology, civic engagement, information access, news and political content exposure, civic infrastructure, rural and post‑industrial community structures, social computing, and mixed methods (ethnographic and computational).

Ava Francesca’s ongoing research explores the entanglement of civic infrastructure, information accessibility, and media ecology. Their research centers on how rural and post-industrial community structures and collective identity shape hybrid civic storytelling networks, or how people come to share information that impacts civic life. Ava Francesca is particularly interested in former mining and manufacturing communities in the Great Lakes region that simultaneously grapple with economic changes and shifting media landscapes in the form of declining local news and inequities in digital access.

Ava Francesca is particularly fascinated with tackling these questions through combining ethnography (traditional and digital) and computational textual analysis, primarily using R.

Current and Recent Work

Recent work that Ava Francesca has been a part of includes research on digital civic infrastructure in the Great Lakes, along with work on the quantity and quality of news and political content that young Michigander adults were exposed to on social media sites, leading up to, during, and following the 2020 US Presidential Election.

Professional Affiliations and Service

Ava Francesca is a graduate student lab manager in the Civic Infrastructure Lab, an affiliate with the Rural Computing Research Consortium, and Research Fellow with the Quello Center.

Ava Francesca also serves as a graduate student liaison for the AEJMC History Division and AEJMC Communication Theory and Methods Division.

Non-Academic Skills, Interests, and Service

Previous creative and activist work includes collaborating with and coordinating distribution for a feminist Zine collective; designing, producing, and managing a size-inclusive, femme vintage reproduction apparel line; and several years, on-call overnight, as a crisis hospital advocate for survivors of sexual violence.

When I’m is 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. I also spend a lot of time with 2 sassy geriatric cats and the botanic garden in my house.


I am always open to talking about my research or discussing ways to collaborate. Also, if you are a non-traditional student wondering where the “didn’t have any post-secondary education until really late and now are in a PhD program” corner of Academic Twitter” is, feel free to shoot me a message. I’m wondering the same thing. 




tweets on technology, society, public history, and balancing life (no promises though)

Google Scholar

publications and that “work-in-progress”


working projects
(which I am terrible at keeping updated)


LaTeX and R stuff including Rmarkdown version of OSF Qualitative Prereg template


monthly mash-up playlists of post-hardcore, “elder emo”, pop, and everything in between, if you’re looking for music (Again, no promises)