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CMAP prepares doctoral students for future media-related work in both academic and non-academic careers.

Alumni Stories  

Derek Price

Derek Price Vanderbilt UniversityPh.D. in German Studies and joint-Ph.D. in CMAP ’21
Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt Center for the Digital Humanities

Since completing his Ph.D. in German Studies and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice, Derek has taken a position as Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt Center for the Digital Humanities. To further develop his data analysis skills that he gained during the CMAP program, he is also enrolled in a part-time Data Analytics Bootcamp at Nashville Software School. During the 2021-2022 academic year, he expanded the work that he did in his dissertation by scraping, analyzing, and visualizing data about the simulator game genre and its production contexts. 

Jacob Abell

Jacob Abell Vanderbilt University June 2021Ph.D. in French Studies and joint-Ph.D. in CMAP ’21
Visiting Assistant Professor of French at Colgate University

“I am currently Visiting Assistant Professor of French at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Since graduating from Vanderbilt in June 2021, my work in the CMAP program continues to enrich my research agenda, teaching experience, and public-facing projects. In my time at CMAP, I co-founded the Ouray International Film Festival, an institute that now invites dozens of filmmakers from around the world to the Colorado Rockies each year for four days of panels, film screenings, and workshops. My own short film Speak Again (co-directed with Jared LaCroix) was recently accepted as one of ten films in the Short to Feature Lab based in Malibu; Jared and I travelled there in August 2021 to expand our short film into a feature-film script with mentorship from Sundance award-winning director Jim Cummings. I recently had a book chapter proposal accepted for an essay collection on a group of Belgian filmmakers, a project which will be inspired and enriched by my CMAP coursework. In the classroom at Colgate, I integrate discussions of media studies derived from CMAP seminars, ranging from explorations of medieval manuscripts with my senior students to discussions about digital media in my intermediate language courses. In each of these projects, I constantly draw upon the concepts, texts, and skills that I gained through the CMAP program. ” 

Laura Strombergsson

Laura Strombergsson Vanderbilt UniversityPh.D. in German Studies and joint-Ph.D. in CMAP ’20
e-Learning Developer for Sephora

“Hi there, I’m Laura Strombergsson and I’m an e-Learning Developer for Sephora. I completed my Ph.D. in 2020 and have been in the corporate learning space for a few years now, first in a large, community-based healthcare system and now with a leader in the beauty industry. CMAP gave me a solid foundation for transitioning to this career path because it provided numerous opportunities to not only think about the ways that learning and technology intersect, but also to put these ideas into practice. I found that having the space to experiment intellectually and pursue internships to gain real world experience effectively prepared me for the kinds of moves I needed to make to be successful outside of academia. I’m very happy in my chosen career and am grateful that I could participate in a program that afforded me these kinds of opportunities.” 

Sarah Nelson

 Ph.D. in History and joint-Ph.D. in CMAP ’21
Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

“CMAP has proved invaluable for my scholarship. Two years of CMAP coursework broadened my intellectual horizons, providing time and a collaborative space to explore new ideas, disciplinary norms, and analytical frameworks. This allowed me to explore new dimensions for my dissertation on the history of international communications governance in the 20th century, by drawing on scholarly sub-fields in media studies, communication studies, and science and technology studies. CMAP Maymesters, which provided training in digital humanities skills, have also been crucial to my scholarship. I now use them in several ongoing projects. One is Visualizing Telecommunications Inequality, a DH project that uses 100 years of hitherto untouched historical data to visualize the growth of international telecom networks (and their attendant inequalities) from 1869 to 1969. By digitizing this data, and using it to create interactive digital maps, the project aims to illuminate how colonial communications facilitated the first wave of imperial globalization from the mid-19th century on. CMAP also provided me the opportunity to develop skills in audio production, which I now use as a producer of The Past, the Promise, the Presidency podcast—a production of SMU’s Center for Presidential History.”