Elise Karinshak will combine her study of artificial intelligence and digital communication at UGA with a degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, starting next fall. As the University of Georgia’s newest Schwarzman Scholar, she will join students from around the world as they pursue a one-year master’s degree in global affairs.
The 151 scholars in the incoming Schwarzman Class of 2024 represent 36 countries and 121 universities. They were selected from almost 3,000 applicants, of which 400 were interviewed, including five UGA Honors students. Karinshak is UGA’s seventh Schwarzman Scholar.
Eight classes of Schwarzman Scholars have been named since the highly competitive program opened to applicants in 2015. Scholars are taught by leading international faculty and study a core curriculum focused on leadership, global affairs and China.
A senior from Lawrenceville, Karinshak is a Foundation Fellow in the Morehead Honors College. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a certificate in personal and organizational leadership from the Terry College of Business as well as a bachelor’s degree in data science from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She also is pursuing a minor in studio art in the Lamar Dodd School of Art.
“The University of Georgia is incredibly proud of Elise for being awarded the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “It is inspiring to see the profound impact that learning experiences gained from UGA can have on our students’ success as undergraduates and on their ability to achieve their educational and career goals as alumni.”
In spring 2022, Karinshak was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship—the highest undergraduate award of its type for the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences—for excellence in computer science. Her work also has been supported by the CURO Research Award from UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities during her time on campus.
Since 2020, Karinshak has studied how messages are shared and altered on social media, conducting research with Yan Jin, a professor of public relations and assistant department head in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her research received the 2022 Emerald Professional Impact Award from the international EUPRERA conference for being the best research-based paper that is both academically sound and makes an important and useful contribution to the practice of communication management.
In 2020, Karinshak was the first undergraduate invited to participate in the Grady College’s Crisis Communication Coalition Research Group. She continues to collaborate with doctoral students to develop projects analyzing messaging in health, political, social and organizational crises.
“Elise is well deserving of this honor, and we are so appreciative of the mentoring she has received from UGA faculty and staff,” said Meg Amstutz, dean of the Morehead Honors College. “Elise is an emerging leader in the field of AI and digital communication, and we can’t wait to see where the future takes her.”
In 2021, Karinshak worked as a research intern in the Stanford Social Media Lab, analyzing applications of large language models in public health messaging through the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.
She has shared her research on AI-mediated communication, digital environments and disinformation at conferences in the U.S.; Vienna, Austria; Aarhus, Denmark; and Paris, France. Research, she said, has challenged her to explore the technical, social and ethical implications of technological development in communication.
“Digital environments mold how information is created and disseminated online. Globally in 2021, each minute, approximately 575,000 tweets were posted, 5.7 million Google searches were conducted, and 167 million TikTok videos were viewed,” said Karinshak. “I am working toward the development of better platform-level and algorithmic design for digital systems and the reduction of misinformation and disinformation.”
As a Schwarzman Scholar, Karinshak plans to continue analyzing media and communication ecosystems. That analysis will inform her future research, which will be designed to improve communication technologies and deepened by the cross-cultural experience she will gain in China.
Karinshak has served as co-founder and co-president of CodeHub, which encourages collaborative and hands-on exploration of coding; co-president of the Paw Print Agency, a student-run advertising and public relations agency serving local nonprofits; co-president of the Honors Student Council; and a leadership fellow in the Terry College of Business. She has been a marketing associate with the Ambactus Group and a mentor, lead facilitator and marketing officer for the UGA chapter of Girls Who Code.
UGA’s previous Schwarzman Scholars include alumni Torre Lavelle (Schwarzman Class of 2017), Elizabeth Hardister and Gabrielle Pierre (Class of 2019), Swapnil Agrawal (Class of 2020), Shaun Kleber (Class of 2021) and Zakiyya Ellington (Class of 2022).
UGA’s major scholarships office, housed in the Morehead Honors College, works closely with all students across campus as they apply for national, high-level scholarships. For more information, contact Jessica Hunt at email@example.com.
For more information on Schwarzman Scholars, visit www.schwarzmanscholars.org.