Ryan in Brooklyn

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

I am a media studies PhD candidate at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Oregon, and an adjunct instructor for Southern New Hampshire University. This summer I will begin writing my dissertation, which is tentatively entitled Same Device, Different Expectations: Smartphones and the Third Place.

Find out more about me…

Yesterday I wrote my final comprehensive exam, which essentially marks the midpoint of my pursuit of my PhD in Media Studies. Next week I will defend my answers; my department requires four exams, so there will be questions from my comps committee regarding all four. Assuming that everything goes well, that will advance me to candidacy, and my focus will shift to getting my dissertation proposal approved and writing the actual dissertation.

I wanted to take an opportunity to offer some suggestions to other PhD students who might be facing their exams in the near future. While every discipline and every school varies slightly in terms of what comprehensive exams consist of, they are a universal in terms of earning a doctorate in the United States. Here are the strategies that I used to get ready. Read the rest of this entry »

Now that I’m more than a year and a half into my doctoral program and have wrestled with dozens of papers, short and long, I believe I’ve finally put my finger on an ineffable experience that I seem to encounter with some frequency, particularly when working with later drafts of something that I’ve written and rewritten a half-dozen times already.

As I just noted, this is something ineffable, but I’ll attempt to describe the experience anyway. Say I’m staring at a paragraph that just isn’t quite right–perhaps I need to add an additional source, or introduce a contrasting idea, or both. I will find myself staring at the screen, silently (or sometimes not) screaming at the computer, almost paralyzed–it is unbelievably difficult to put my hand on the mouse, maneuver the cursor, click, and start typing.

I know what you’re thinking. “Why?” (Or, more likely, “Who cares?”)

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Those that know me fairly well already know the origin of the word “Eaners” (some actively still call me that). When I started at Wake Forest as a freshman in 1999, your Internet username was derived from a fairly cruel formula… Read the rest of this entry »

I’m mulling over a study idea related to the “best” restaurants in the world and how that may (or may not) correlate to social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) use. I’m wondering if there’s any possibility that Michelin stars indicate “stuffiness” (based on critiques like this one) and whether this has any bearing on a restaurant’s use of social media. I’m also thinking about comparing the full list of Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide to several other “world’s best” lists and seeing what I come up with. Any thoughts, foodies? Where do you get your restaurant recommendations if you want a “destination” meal?

This past term I was excited to be able to take a course entitled “Food Matters,” which was the first instance that the keystone course for the Food Studies graduate specialization was offered at the University of Oregon.

We had a number of options available as final projects; one of them was a book review that would encompass at least two book-length texts. I used the opportunity to write an abbreviated history of the restaurant; this was based on the books The Invention of the Restaurant by Rebecca Spang and Smart Casual by Alison Pearlman. The former focuses on the first restaurants that emerged in Paris in the 18th century; the latter looks at the changes that have occurred in American restaurants since the mid-1970s.

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