School of Communication
Williams earned a Ph.D. mass communications and an M.A. in magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She also earned a B.A. English with a concentration in journalism at Jackson State University.
At the intersection of social media, social justice, reality television, mass media and how people of color use and are represented by these mediums is where you'll find Dr. Sherri Williams. Williams has a particular interest in how black people’s use of social media is changing social justice and the entertainment industry, especially television. She is also interested in and studies how marginalized people, especially black women, are represented in the media. National media outlets including CNN, USA Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Vice interviewed Williams for her social media expertise. She was also named one of NBC BLK’S fierce black feminists you should know.
For a decade Williams traveled to unfamiliar places to deliver stories that matter. Whether she stood in the middle of a Ku Klux Klan rally in Mississippi, a hostage situation at a hotel and a bank, the rural countryside of South Africa or the streets of Cuba – Williams transported readers to new places and introduced them to interesting people. Her journalism career started in 1999 at the Associated Press’ Jackson, Mississippi bureau and she worked in three newsrooms for 10 years. Her coverage of communities of color earned the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists first place minority affairs reporting for two consecutive years. Williams' work on how black residents voted in Mississippi's state referendum to change the Confederate stars and bars from the state flag and her contribution to a project about how Mississippi's poorest county reversed its fortune with casinos were awarded by the APME. She still contributes to national media outlets. Her work appeared in Self, Elle.com, NBC BLK, Ebony, Essence, Heart & Soul and Upscale magazines.
As a professor and media researcher Williams’ work focuses on how marginalized groups, especially women of color, are portrayed in the media. Williams teaches journalism and storytelling classes as well as courses that examine the ways in which race, gender, class, and sexual identity are portrayed in the media. Williams is now leading a study that explores how black millennials are affected by seeing images of fatal police brutality against black people on social media.