Katie Sophie Gonser

Ph.D. 2024, IPI Cybersecurity Fellow
Katie Gonser

Dissertation Project

Humanitarianism and Human Rights in North Korea

Professional Background

Human rights research, mis/disinformation research


Project Management, Qualitative Methods, Critical Data Analysis, French, Spanish, Swedish



Katie’s doctoral research, consisting of three articles, looks at the work of human rights and humanitarian organisations in the North Korean context, with the goal of exploring the different tools at the international community’s disposal to elicit change in authoritarian regimes like North Korea. She proposes an innovative framework through which to analyse these actors’ work that challenges existing models of global norm diffusion and offers new ways to think about how to address human insecurity.

Since 2020, Katie also works on an NSF-funded study that examines the quality of COVID-related information on Twitter. A large interdisciplinary project, Katie works as the project manager and a researcher for the various journal articles the team is writing. Under this role, Katie was selected to participate in the 2022 eScience Winter Incubator Program, where she worked alongside a data scientist on machine learning models for this project. As such, Katie has experience in critical data analysis, qualitative coding, managing teams of coders, building datasets, managing data collection, determining appropriate social media data collection, research ethics, ethics in online research, online ethnography, and R.

Prior to joining the Jackson School, Katie worked at various human rights organisations, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Freedom Fund, and the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB).

Katie holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and a master’s degree in Social Work and Human Rights from the University of Gothenburg.


  • Hoque, M. U., Lee, K., Beyer, J. L., Curran, S. R., Gonser, K. S., Lam, N. S., Mihunov, V. V., & Wang, K. (2022). “Analyzing tweeting patterns and public engagement on Twitter during the recognition period of the COVID-19 pandemic: A study of two US States.” IEEE Access, 10, 72879-72894.

Grants & Fellowships

  • Dr. Eleanor Hadley Mortar Board Alumni/Tolo Foundation Scholarship: 2022
  • Dr. Lisa Sable Brown Endowed Fund for Human Rights: 2022
  • Law, Societies & Justice Travel Grant: 2022
  • Jackson School of International Studies Travel Grant: 2022
  • Center for Korea Studies Travel Grant: 2022
  • Graduate School Travel Grant: 2022
  • Fritz Fellowship: 2020
  • Richard B. Wesley fellowship: 2019
  • Korean Government Scholarship Program: 2019
  • Seoul National University Scholarship: 2018
  • Adlerbertska scholarship: 2016
  • University of Edinburgh Sociology Prize for Outstanding Achievement: 2011-2012

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