Student Spotlight: Michele Krugh Defends Her Dissertation

Student Spotlight: Michele Krugh Defends Her Dissertation

Michele Krugh successfully defended her dissertation entitled "Etsy, Inc.: Crafting a Living in a Capitalist Economy" and worked with Dr. Mark D. Jacobs, Dr. Michael O'Malley, and Dr. Ellen Todd. Esma H. Celebioglu conducted a short exchange with Michele in which she reflects on her time at Mason.



How have your research interests changed from the time you began the PhD program to now, and in which direction do you envision your work moving upon graduating?

I have a Master of Design in Photography, so when I started the program I had intended to focus on photography and other visual culture topics. My interests shifted in my second year, when I started studying the craft-based, e-commerce site Etsy. I began looking at craft historically and in the context of contemporary ethical consumption. For my dissertation, I expanded this view to include contemporary issues with employment and financialization.  At the beginning of the program, I definitely would not have expected to be reading business journals and writing about corporate social responsibility and financial capitalism! As for future work, I do not yet know what direction that might take.


What kinds of professional development did you pursue while a student and which do you think will best position you to get the job you want: publishing, presenting, teaching, service in the department, engagement in non-university service projects, acquiring particular research skills?

I was active on the Cultural Studies Student Organizing Committee and on the conference planning committee for several years. I presented papers at multiple conferences, which provided valuable research feedback and public speaking experience. Thanks to one of the conferences, I also published an article.

My experience as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Office of Research Development was also valuable for me. I got an overview of all the kinds of research happening at Mason and I also learned the role university administration can play in supporting and promoting faculty research.


What is one of your best memories from your time in the PhD program in Cultural Studies?

My best memories are of conferences, both the graduate student-run one and the Cultural Studies Association ones. Conferences can be great opportunities to interact both academically and socially with peers.