Meet Dr. Fereshteh Zihagh

May 10, 2022

By Nichole Black
Digital Marketing Strategist, McCoy College of Business

Dr. Fereshteh Zihagh joined the McCoy College of Business as a lecturer in marketing in 2020 and will soon make the transition to assistant professor in September. She spent a brief year as an assistant professor in business analytics at the University of New Haven prior to joining the McCoy College team. In her previous role, she was primarily tasked with developing courses in statistics, data analytics and data visualization.

Dr. Zihagh earned a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2019. Her research focus on structured and network data soon transitioned to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning when starting her career as a faculty member. She started teaching courses at McCoy College in marketing research, particularly for our Master of Science in Marketing Research and Analysis (MSMRA) program, where she developed a course in AI and data visualization. 

“I really like working with my colleagues at McCoy,” said Dr. Zihagh. “They were all warm and welcoming and they were open to research collaborations. As a fresh graduate, I found that the culture here and the atmosphere here has helped me to become more productive.”

Much of Dr. Zihagh’s research currently focuses on content strategy in areas like social media and digital marketing. She analyzes the data of the many facets of social media posts — including text, imagery, and video content — and looks at the emotional and visual cues expressed in the content to learn what makes it effective. 

“There are still challenges in creating content that is well-received,” said Dr. Zihagh. “For the most part, in my research, I try to figure out what content marketers need to use in their communications to help them stand out, be more convincing, and generate maximum results.” 

Dr. Zihagh enjoys working with colleagues who have similar research interests, and she enjoys branching out to work on interdisciplinary teams. She is part of the team at Texas State University developing a new data science credential program in partnership with Sam Houston State University. This group was recently awarded $1.455 million grant by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

During her free time, Dr. Zihagh likes catching up on new movies and TV shows. Her recent favorite series is Succession on HBO Max. She also enjoys venturing out to the natural areas around the Austin area for hiking and sightseeing. Additionally, Dr. Zihagh recently invested in an Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset and is excited to start playing some VR games. ✯

For more information, email Twister Marquiss, manager of marketing and communications for the McCoy College of Business, at

About the McCoy College of Business

Established in 1970, Texas State’s business school officially became the McCoy College of Business in 2004 following a donation of $20 million by Emmett and Miriam McCoy. The college, which offers classes in both San Marcos and Round Rock, is accredited by AACSB in both business and accounting, and has graduated nearly 42,000 alumni.

Marketing and Communications

McCoy Hall 532
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666