Illustration by Sophia Foster-Dimino

Illustration by Sophia Foster-Dimino

Every year I have the privilege of celebrating my advisees’ tremendous accomplishments. Last year I reported on several former thesis advisees’ academic, professional, and creative endeavors. This year, I’m happy to say that three of my former thesis advisees are moving on to top-notch doctoral programs:

Last year Rory Solomon, my six-time RA and TA, wrote a wonderful thesis on “the stack” — the network stack, the application stack, etc. — as a central metaphor in computing history; he’s presented that work widely at conferences, and published part of it in a great piece in Amodern. He won last year’s Academic Achievement Award in the School of Media Studies at The New School, and this year he’s been accepted, with full funding, into the doctoral program in Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. Yay, Rory! 

Last year Yeong Ran Kim, my fantastic RA for my research in Korea, completed an extraordinarily thoughtful and poetic thesis on sound, ethnography, place, and performance. Ran had been collaborating with Patricia Clough, from the CUNY Grad Center, and a number of other graduate students to produce Ecstatic Corona, a multimedia performance exploring politics and memory in Corona, Queens — and this work functioned as a “case study” for Ran’s thesis. She just completed an MA in Performance Studies at NYU, and this fall she’s starting a fully-funded PhD in Theater Arts and Performance Studies at Brown. Yay, Ran!

And this spring Laura Scherling, a skilled graphic designer, completed a superb hybrid thesis — a beautifully designed booklet meant for public distribution, and an online archive — exploring the use of mapmaking in community urban visioning and rejuvenation activities in Detroit, where she did extensive fieldwork and was involved in numerous community organizations. She’s also employed maps in her own work as director of local activist group GREENSPACENYC. Laura’s thesis won this year’s Distinguished Thesis Award, and she’s has been accepted, with full funding, into the doctoral program in Art and Art Education at Columbia University. Yay, Laura!

And I met up this week with a thesis advisee from looong ago — Penny Duff. Penny wrote a wonderful thesis about the potential for sound arts to create community and cultivate sense of place, and she was selected to be our commencement speaker. I gave our program’s commencement address that year, and I had the honor of introducing Penny as she describes herself: a “southern lady, aspiring dandy, animal lover, and audio freak.” So true. Penny went on to do another masters in Arts Admin & Policy at SAIC and to organize awesome sound projects around Chicago. Now she’s the Chicago program director for Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, which means that she gets to work at/in/with the Dorchester Projects every day! I’m so impressed — and, I must say, a little bit jealous!

It’s been a privilege to work with — and learn from — all these amazing people. I’m proud to call all of them friends.

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