P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Jermaine Anthony Richards, 2023

PhD, University of Southern California

Jermaine Anthony Richards is the child of immigrants from Jamaica

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Communication at University of Southern California

Jermaine Anthony Richards was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the Canarsie residential neighborhood by his mother and grandmother, who are immigrants from Jamaica. His mother is a civil servant; his grandmother is a nurse.

When Jermaine matriculated at the career and technical education High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media, his predilection to computing technologies grew. In high school, he worked at Madison Avenue’s most influential advertising agencies and learned principles of marketing, interaction design, and technical production; at home, he tinkered with- and built customized computers, with consideration for how creative computing could accentuate and challenge sociopolitical problems.

A third-generation CUNY graduate, Jermaine completed his BS at CUNY York College in communications technology––a major joining computer science, information systems, and design. After producing interactive experiences for global brands at Wieden+Kennedy, he earned his MSc in global media from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was an Advertising Club of New York Presidential scholar. His first master’s thesis focused on Indonesian disinformation protests contesting government air quality management data impeding the health securities of women and children. He then earned his MA in global communication from the University of Southern California (USC) and was awarded an Annenberg Global Research scholarship for his work. His second master’s thesis focused on cyberbiosecurity, remote desktop software, and public-private water infrastructure planning.

Jermaine is pursuing a PhD in communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism as an Annenberg Diversity, Inclusion, and Access Fellow where he is co-advised by Taj Frazier and Barath Raghavan across communication and computer science. Jermaine researches how transmedia animate human security politics and political movements. He operationalizes his research as a cross-sector scholar-practitioner. Jermaine has led research as a New America Fellow on Digital Transformation Opportunities and Challenges in the Lower Mekong Region, supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program. He is also an award-winning social impact entertainment producer: He produced the popular game Hair Nah™, which bolsters conversations on haptic, racial microaggressions and anti-hair discrimination laws, such as the CROWN Act, moving through the nation’s courts.

Jermaine’s New American experience teaches him that even within limits, there are limitless pathways to social change. He hopes to continue augmenting federal policy proposal adoption and cultural diplomacy by developing interactive media experiences to ethically steer human and social development.

  • PhD Communication | University of Southern California 2026
  • MA Global Communication | University of Southern California 2021
  • MSc Global Media | London School of Economics & Political Science 2020
  • BS Communications Technology: Digital Systems and Applications | York College - CUNY
  • Annenberg Provost's Diversity, Inclusion, and Access (DIA) Fellow
  • Annenberg Global Research Associate Scholar
  • American Advertising Federation (AAF) Most Promising Multicultural Student
  • American Association for Advertising Agencies Multicultural Advertising Program Fellow
  • The Advertising Club of New York Innovation, Advertising, and Media Fellow
Work History
  • Wieden+Kennedy, Motion and Interactive Producer
  • New America, Digital Impact and Governance Initiative Research Fellow
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