From STRATCOMM to Political Science: WVPU Alumna's Research Journey

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natalia hatarova european commission visitWebster Vienna Private University (WVPU) alumna Natalia Hatarova graduated in May 2023 with a Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication. Raised in Slovakia, Hatarova attended school in her home city of Bratislava and moved to Austria for her university degree at Webster Vienna.

WVPU: Once you moved to a new city, how did you immerse yourself in campus life?

NH: During the four years of my bachelor’s program I attended events such as semester opening parties, Thanksgiving dinner and Webster’s Got Talent. I also participated in research studies and worked at the Webster Vienna library under the supervision of Benjamin Fasching-Gray. In this library assistant role I checked books in and out, looked for missing library property, prepared and labeled books. Most of my time in the library was spent assisting students with tech problems such as how to navigate the Webster Vienna printers.

WVPU: What motivated you to pursue your studies at Webster Vienna?

NH: While finishing my studies at QSI International School of Bratislava, I struggled applying to universities due to my indecisiveness about what I want to do. Webster Vienna gave me the opportunity to grow and draw my own path to a better future. I also chose to study in Vienna since it is close to my country, and the city thrives with life.

WVPU: Can you share some highlights of your experience in the Media Communications Department at Webster Vienna?

NH: What really stood out was the faculty. The Media Communications Department is filled with lovely people who each have their own unique research interests. For example, Dr. Anthony Löwstedt writes about diversity, equality, journalism and ethics. Dr. Bradley Wiggins looks at discourses of extremist websites, and studies different aspects of new media such as memes and my favorite topic, liminal spaces. These interests also seep into their ways of teaching and encourage students to look at what they study and how to eventually develop their own interests. 

Another thing that I appreciated is that teachers treat students as equals. Over my years at Webster Vienna, I did not feel like I was asking stupid questions. Every thought felt welcome in the classroom.

WVPU: Tell us about your research endeavors.

NH: I am working on three articles, two with Dr. Löwstedt and one with Dr. Wiggins.

My first research project with Dr. Löwstedt was just accepted for publication by the Journal of Media Ethics! The topic investigates whether we can apply communication values to cultures around the world without trying to enforce Eurocentric values. We do this by looking at secondary literature and sometimes readings of religious and other texts to find communication ethics commonalities.

The second research project was recently submitted to another journal. This project is based on my Webster Vienna Strategic Communication thesis. I am working with Dr. Wiggins to turn it into an academic article. The topic is conspiracy narratives found in Slovak websites. I look for twisted narratives and analyze them to find foreign soft-power influences and grains of truth, which reveal problems in the wider society, which in turn, impacts average voters.

The next project is not yet finished, and it is about promoting communication diversity in the context of a wider biocultural diversity, while still respecting freedoms of expression and information, such as the marginalization of harmful content that may eliminate diversity in the first place.

WVPU: You are currently pursuing a master’s degree from Central European University. In what ways do you feel graduate school is preparing you for your career aspirations?

NH: I am studying political science. In the program I am being taught how the political world works and how to conduct rigorous research, which translates raw data from the outside world to measurable observations. With my mastery of humanitarian approaches from the Strategic Communication undergrad program and training in political science, I am hoping to become a university professor or a researcher at a think tank.

If you are a graduate of Webster Vienna Private University, we invite you to join our online community at

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