Education B.A. in Film and Media Studies & English, University of Rochester, 2008; M.A. in Film and Media Studies, University of Kansas, 2010; Ph.D. in Media Studies, University of Texas at Austin, expected 2015
Current city/state of residence: Austin, TX
Job Title: Doctoral Candidate & Instructor
Employer: Department of Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas at Austin
Community Activities: Journal editing, festival and social programming, concert-going, eating
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
Rochester offered not only a wide variety of coursework, but also the freedom to explore a range of degree programs. I entered the University with many different interests, knowing that a curriculum that encourages exploration in many departments and programs could help guide me in discovering the directions I would want to take in my education and career.
When and how did you choose your major?
Film and media studies was initially more of a hobby interest when beginning at Rochester. As I took more coursework and gained invaluable experiences through unique programs offered by Art NY and the George Eastman House, I found film and media studies to be a particularly stimulating field that drew intersections across my interdisciplinary interests. Being heavily involved in the International Theatre Program led me to also pursue a second major in English, which nicely complemented my theoretical interests in media.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was most involved in the International Theatre Program. This was an excellent training ground for many skills necessary for life outside of the classroom. Across the many opportunities the program offered, I gained indispensable experience in management, problem-solving, technical knowledge, artistic concepts, and interpersonal communication. And best of all, this is where I met many of my friends.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduation, I entered graduate school. Coming to this decision was a long process that began well before graduation. Taking a variety of coursework within and outside of my major areas of study, along with my experiences outside of the classroom, helped me to figure out what I wanted to do equally as much as what I did not want to do in my career. After these experiences and many constructive discussions with faculty mentors, I decided that graduate school would be the best career path for me.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I am in the process of earning a Ph.D. in Media Studies from the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, where I also teach. My current research centers around politics of amateur media and the implications these media have in democratic communication and cultural historiography. In my coursework at Rochester, I became very interested in social contexts surrounding media. In my graduate work, I have developed these interests into a more focused area of study which I hope to share through research and teaching.
What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?
As I continue my graduate research in media studies, I feel ever more fortunate to have received the education that I did while at Rochester. The coursework provided an excellent foundation of theoretical, historical, and practical knowledge which has prepared me as I’ve advanced my research and teaching in the years since. Furthermore, the teaching methods of my professors continue to be pedagogical models for me when in front of the classroom.
What advice do you have for current students?
An education at the University of Rochester is a true privilege. Take advantage of the many opportunities the University and the city have to offer. If you are even remotely interested in exploring a new topic or idea, take that class or get involved in that activity. Step outside of your comfort zone. Your years at Rochester are the best (and perhaps only) time that you will have the flexibility to explore what truly interests you.