Press Release

ADL Center for Technology and Society Announces Fifth Class of Belfer Fellows

ADL Center for Technology and Society Announces Fifth Class of Belfer Fellows


Three new Fellows will focus on research bridging the intersection of tech and civil rights

New York, NY, October 28, 2022 – ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) Center for Technology and Society today announced it has selected three leading academics for its fifth class of Belfer Fellows. The Belfer Fellowship program advances ADL’s work by promoting cyberhate awareness and digital citizenship, as well as implementing these projects for the wider social good.

The three fellows selected are:

  • Dr. Kathleen Searles, Sheldon Beychok Distinguished Associate Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University.

    Her project proposes to identify and test methods of online bystander intervention with targets of online hate and harassment, focusing on journalists.
  • Dr. Erik Bucy, Marshall and Sharleen Formby Regents Professor of Strategic Communication in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University and Dr. Dhavan Shah, Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Their joint project aims to detect and document the prevalence of visual hate symbols on major news sites and social media platforms that surface around racialized news events, protests, and demonstrations.

“This is a groundbreaking fellowship that continues to attract the best in their respective fields who are dedicated to supporting targets of harassment and fighting cyberhate with new ideas and technologies,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “At a time when we must safeguard our democratic institutions and better understand how society interacts with technology, we are looking forward to partnering with these fellows on their research and working towards finding solutions to inform policies in the online space.”

Searles’ focus areas include news media, campaign advertising, and political psychology. She has two forthcoming co-authored books with Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, respectively, and she has been awarded more than seven million dollars in grant monies, including four National Science Foundation grants. She is the co-PI of Expert Voices Together, a team working to address the online abuse of experts and journalists, and a founding member and executive emerita of Women Also Know Stuff, an organization designed to decrease the gender imbalance in media representation of experts. She is a co-convener of the Election Coverage and Democracy Network, which works with journalists to cover electoral politics.

Bucy’s research focuses on disinformation, visual politics, nonverbal communication, new technology topics, and public opinion about the press. He is the author of the award-winning Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections (with Maria Elizabeth Grabe, Oxford 2009) and editor of the Sourcebook for Political Communication Research (with R. Lance Holbert, Routledge 2013). In 2021, Bucy was recognized by Stanford University as one of the 100,000 most-cited scientific researchers in the world by discipline. The past editor of Politics and the Life Sciences, an interdisciplinary journal published by Cambridge University Press, Bucy has held visiting appointments or fellowships at the University of Oxford, London School of Economics, University of Michigan, UCLA, and Dartmouth College. He is currently an honorary fellow of the Mass Communication Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Shah’s interests lie in the intersecting power of framing and social capital, which have shaped his three core research programs: (1) the influence of message construction and processing in social evaluations and behaviors, (2) the capacity of mass and interpersonal communication, especially through online networks, to shape civic engagement, participation, and trust, and (3) the effects of computer-mediated interactions, particularly support expression, on the management of cancer, aging, and addiction. Across these domains, he has increasingly applied computational techniques to tackle social science questions, using natural language processing, network analytics, machine learning, and multi-modal classification to study communication in politics and health.

The Belfer Fellowship program is possible due to the continued generosity of the Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Family Foundation. 

ADL’s Center for Technology and Society will work with the new fellows as they pursue research in previously unexplored areas. The fellows will also augment ADL’s ongoing research efforts to help quantify and qualify online hate in a variety of social media sites, gaming platforms and other online communities. As ADL continues to work on multiple fronts to make the online space less hateful, the fellows’ research will expand upon this expertise and activity. Read more about the Belfer Fellowship and the Center for Technology and Society at: