Director, Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact

Michelle Shumate is the founding director of Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact (NNSI). NNSI is dedicated to answering the question: How can nonprofit networks be rewired for maximum social impact? In addition, she is a Professor in Communication Studies and Associate Faculty at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

Her research focuses on how to design interorganizational networks to make the most social impact.  The National Science Foundation recognized her research with a CAREER award. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Army Research Office.  Nonprofit Quarterly, Stanford Social Innovation, and the Conference board have featured her work. She offers workshops, consulting, and coaching through the Social Impact Network Consulting.

Professor Shumate holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree from Pepperdine University. She can be found on LinkedIn and Mastodon.

Affiliated Faculty

Kate Cooper is an assistant professor at DePaul University.  Her research interests include nonprofit and cross-sector collacooperboration in response to social problems as well as stakeholder participation in collaborative or collective impact models. Kate’s research has appeared in Management Communication Quarterly and Communication Yearbook; her work also includes the development of the bona fide network perspective to explore collaborative networks convened around complex social problems. Kate holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. from Wheaton College.


Amy O’Connor is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. from the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. O’Connor has published or presented over 30 research papers focusing on corporate social responsibility and the corporate society relationship. Her research focuses on the role of corporations in society, specifically the rights and responsibilities of corporations in the global commons. She is co-PI of the nonprofit-corporate partnership project.

Graduate Research Assistants

Anne-Marie Boyer is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Media, Technology, and Society Program at Northwestern University, and is currently working on the Army Research Office project at the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact. She has several years of experience working in environmental nonprofits as a communicator and as a science journalist in public media. Her research interests include nonprofit communications, nonprofit organizations, and funder-nonprofit collaboration. Anne-Marie has an M.S. degree in Science Journalism from Boston University and a B.A. in English Literature from Delhi University, India.


Marwa Tahboub is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society (MTS) program. As a research assistant for NNSI, she has worked on projects studying veteran referral networks and individual help-seeking behaviors. Her research interests surround nonprofit community organizations’ social media engagement with marginalized communities, with a focus on social activism. Marwa received her B.A. in professional communication and psychology at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Yeha Kim Yeha Kim is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Media, Technology, and Society program. He is interested in exploring how creativity and new media can help nonprofit organizations, governments, and corporations achieve a more significant social impact, with a focus on sustainability. Yeha holds a B.S. in Television, Radio, and Film, an M.A. in International Relations, and an M.S. in Public Relations from Syracuse University. He has several years of experience working in advertising (BBH/Publicis), where he closely worked with global clients such as Samsung, UNICEF, AB InBev, and more.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Tatum Thomas

Maia Sporn

Lucia Koo

Emia Musabegovic

Kristy Park

Peixin Hua

Strategic Communication Interns

Alison Casler

Kat Kosup

Kylie Harris

Lab Alumni

Dr. Sophia Fu

Dr. John (Jack) Harris

Dr. Jennifer Ihm

Dr. Rong Wang

Dr. Reyhaneh Makotufi

Dr. Kaitlyn Childs

Dr. Zachary Gibson

Dr. Joshua-Paul Miles