Alvin Zhou

Alvin Zhou

Ph.D. Candidate

UPenn Annenberg

About Me

Hi, welcome to my homepage. I am Alvin Zhou, a Ph.D. candidate (track: digital media and social networks) in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where I am advised by Sandra González-Bailón.

I conduct theory-driven computational research on political communication and strategic communication. You can find my published work in venues such as Journal of Communication, Computers in Human Behavior, and Public Relations Review. My other academic and journalistic writing has appeared in Journal of Communication, Information, Communication & Society, and Vista Story.

I recently graduated from the Wharton School with a dual Master in Statistics, focusing on the causal inference framework and statistical learning methods. I obtained my M.A. in Strategic Public Relations from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, supervised by Aimei Yang. I hold dual bachelor’s degrees (B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering & B.A. in Journalism) from Tsinghua University.

I am the group coordinator of the DiMeNet research group, where I work for a NSF grant that is developing network measures for digital news consumption. I am also active in the DIG research group, where I am collaborating with Yphtach Lelkes and Kokil Jaidka on several studies that explore the role of affordances in human communication. I am also interested in using computational methods for theoretical inquiries on strategic communication. Past projects have examined how public relations fosters social capitals among diverse organizational publics and how digital media are changing its practice. This series of work has won a Robert Heath Award and a Top Faculty Paper Award at ICA, a PRIDE Article of the Year Award and two Top Student Paper Awards at NCA, and an Arthur W. Page Legacy Scholar recognition.

I was a communication practitioner before entering the academia. Between 2014 and 2016, I was a reporter and later on a freelance writer at Vista Story. I have also worked for BlueFocus Communication Group as a public relations consultant, and for China Central Television and Xinhua News Agency as a reporter.


  • Strategic Communication
  • Political Communication
  • Computational Social Science


  • PhD in Communication, 2022

    UPenn Annenberg School

  • MA in Statistics, 2020

    UPenn Wharton School

  • MA in Strategic Public Relations, 2017

    USC Annenberg School