Student Spotlight: Megan E. Fariello Defends her Dissertation

Megan Fariello defended her dissertation entitled "The Techno-Historical Acoustic: The Reappearance of Older Sound Technologies in the Contemporary Media Landscape" and worked with Dr. Alison Landsberg, Dr. Jessica Scarlata, and Dr. Denise Albanese. Here is a brief interview with Megan conducted by Severin Mueller 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 always knew I wanted to do a project focused on sound in media – my project evolved since I began the program, moving away from a focus on music to sound technologies. I was not yet aware of sound studies as its own distinct discipline, so having the freedom to explore that work in my proposal and dissertation stages shaped my project into what it became. My goal is to continue to expand my work and move beyond the texts I examined in the dissertation in order to identify wider social and/or political implications of the techno-historical acoustic.


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?

My first few years as a Graduate Teaching Assistant were certainly vital to my professional development and I am grateful for that opportunity; being able to teach in a variety of departments – team teaching as well as designing my own syllabi – has made me confident in translating that experience to other schools and positions.

Presenting at conferences throughout my time in the program was also helpful, as it allowed me to share my own work and receive feedback from a wider audience, and also to learn about the work of others in similar disciplines.

Finally, as challenging and time-consuming as publishing an article was as a grad student, it was immensely useful; it forced me to refine my arguments, and the feedback I received from peer reviewers provided additional theoretical frameworks and insight into what key questions are currently being asked in my field.


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

I will always appreciate the time I spent with my cohort, beginning with our initial experience in CULT 802 with Dr. Alison Landsberg. As a group, we were always encouraging, understanding, and willing to help each other succeed as we navigated the first years of the program together. They are an inspiring group of colleagues and continue to be wonderful friends – I would not have made it to this stage without them.