About Me

Ryan & Hiro

Welcome to students, colleagues, mentors, friends and family alike!

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Business Management at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where I regularly teach courses on Digital Marketing, Consumer Behavior, and Advertising; I have also taught a first-year seminar entitled “Neurons and Networks,” and I am actively developing new electives related to Food Marketing and Culture.

I earned my PhD in Media Studies from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication; prior to that, I earned my MA in Media Studies from The New School for Public Engagement, and my BA in Communication and Digital Art from Wake Forest University. Most recently, I earned the Insights Association‘s Professional Researcher Certification (PRC).

In terms of my research, I am interested in consumption as a communicative act; we all consume, but too much attention has been paid to what consumption says about class and taste (which I couldn’t care less about). What does it mean to consume, and what do we tell others when we consume? These are questions that really interest me, particularly when it comes to food, drink, and communication technologies.

But before all that…

I was born and raised in small-town North Carolina; while I am the product of North Carolina public schools, which have floundered in recent years, I am thankful to have been instructed and inspired by some fantastic teachers who encouraged me to ask questions and seek answers endlessly. I ultimately graduated as the salutatorian of my high school class, and I headed to Wake Forest University that fall.

WFU turned out to be an excellent and low-pressure place to figure myself out. I graduated in 2003 with a BA in Communication and a minor in Studio Art (my concentration was photography and digital media).

While an undergrad, I also discovered my interest in, and aptitude at, shooting and editing video; the university, through WAKE TV (the student-run campus station), allowed me to formalize the skills I had begun to incubate as a youngster while creating movies with my best friend William. Throughout middle school and high school, on almost any weekend, the two of us could be found shooting something, somewhere, with a borrowed VHS camcorder or crudely editing things together using two jury-rigged VCRs and a 13″ analog TV.  All of that experience crystallized when I scored a summer internship at FOX 18 WCCB in Charlotte, and then another at The Late Show with David Letterman the following summer.

My road to academia

I moved to New York after graduation, and after a couple of fits and starts (including being hired for, but ultimately turning down a position with, the NBC page program), I landed a job with BillOReilly.com, where I worked for nine years. I learned a great deal about iterative web design, usability testing and about business in general, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

While working, I earned my MA in Media Studies at The New School; I graduated from that program in 2008 after writing a thesis that attempted to track the development of food TV shows alongside major societal and cultural shifts.  A couple years after that, I was offered the chance to teach Web Design as  an adjunct instructor at Manhattan College in their new Department of Communication, thanks to the influence of a professor from The New School who I’m very lucky to have learned from.

After this initial exposure to the academic life, I decided that it was time to make a change, so I left my job in New York and moved to Oregon, where I did my PhD work at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, graduating at the end of Spring 2015.

And the adventure continues…