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Shaimaa Khanam


Shai (pronounced: "shy") is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She is a Florida native, and takes an intersectional feminist and ecological approach to investigate systemic social injustice. Shai studies mass communication because it offers a mesospheric opportunity for transformative social justice. Her work examines how the macro level (laws/ systems/ ideology & hegemonic norms) interacts with the micro level (ideas of "self" and "others"/ interpersonal interactions/ experiences with violence) to reinforce and recreate harmful social systems. Shai builds on radical black feminist traditions, and carries forward their ideas about solutions to complex social problems. In her doctoral work, Shai investigates racial and gender-based violence, and the consciousness raising potential of edutainment media, social media, and AI. She focuses on sexual violence specifically as a window into a personal and complex social problem that is worth re-examining for root causes and true solutions.



Master of Arts (MA) in Communication, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (Summa Cum Laude)

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Editing, Writing, and Media, (minor in Psychology), Florida State University (Summa Cum Laude)

Bachelor of Science (BS) in International Affairs (minor in Religion), Florida State University (Summa Cum Laude)



Friends Travel Grant (2022 & 2023)

National Communication Association Student Caucus Travel Grant (2023)

Awards and Honors

Women of Color in Leadership Fellow, The National Women's Studies Association

Dale Brashers Memorial Fellow, The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Department of Communication Distinguished Fellow, The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Wayne Brockriede Graduate Fellow in Communication, The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Courses Taught

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign:

CMN 250 - Social Movement Communication

CMN 368 - Sexual Communication

CMN 340 - Visual Rhetoric

CMN 101 - Public Speaking


Florida State University

HUM 1920 - FIG Colloquium (FSU)

Additional Campus Affiliations

UIUC Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory

UIUC Gender and Women's Studies Department

Shai also volunteers and collaborates with the Champaign County rape crisis center (RACES: Rape, Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services).