Kristin Scott has defended her dissertation entitled "The Digital City: A Critical Examination of the Discursive Practices of Urban Digitality in Three U.S. Cities" and worked with Denise Albanese, Paul Smith, and Timothy Gibson. Here is a short interview with Kristin in which she reflects on her time here at Mason. CONGRATULATIONS KRISTIN!!!!
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?
Yes, when I first came into the program, I was interested primarily in transhumanism and posthumanism - the intersections between the body and technology. And I still engage in that work when teaching my Digital Futures class for NCC. But my primary research interests began to shift during my time here more towards digital technologies and urban studies. Teaching in New Century College then exposed me to a lot of people working within the fields of environmentalism and biodiversity. These all came together when I started researching digital, cyber, and smart cities in the United States for my dissertation project. My next step is to try to publish my work as a book, of course, and then I hope to expand my research internationally. I have received a lot of interest in my work, and I already began another research project in Copenhagen, Denmark (which claims it will be a carbon neutral smart city by 2020) last summer, but I had to put that on the back-burner while I finished my dissertation.
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've been so very fortunate in this regard, and I feel extremely well-prepared to move forward with my career in teaching and research. Over the course of my time at Mason, I've taught multiple courses at NCC, BIS, English, and Cultural Studies. I was given a lot of autonomy to create and teach new courses at NCC; and then in the fall of 2012, NCC hired me as a term assistant professor (just after I went ABD), and I've been a full-time professor ever since. I also acquired a lot of administrative experience along the way. I've spoken at 17 conferences, both nationally and internationally. And in terms of research, I received a number of grants and opportunities to expand my work. I conducted research in Copenhagen, Denmark in the summer of 2014, as I mentioned earlier, thanks to an Applied Urban Communication Research grant from the Urban Communication Foundation and a term faculty development award from GMU.
And in the summer of 2012, I was accepted into a competitive professional summer institute entitled, “Spaces of Media,” at Princeton University, in collaboration with the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, in Weimar, Germany.
Lastly, I've recently begun to publish my work. One of my case studies, “New York City’s Open Data Bill” was accepted for publication in the forthcoming 2015 book, Civic Media Reader, edited by Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis and published by MIT Press. Also, a piece entitled, “Digital Urban Health & Security: NYC’s Got An App For That,” will be published in 2016 as a chapter in Digital Futures and the City of Today: New Technologies and Physical Spaces, eds. Edward Clift, Carl Smith, and Glenda Caldwell.
What is one of your best memories from your time in the PhD program in Cultural Studies?
That's easy (and recent)... When we were all standing out in the hallway waiting for my dissertation committee to deliberate, and my chair, Denise Albanese, stuck her head out of the door and said "Dr. Scott, would you like to join us?"
I have to say that what I have cherished the most about my time in the Cultural Studies program is working with Denise over the last six years. She's been a gift to me. Denise has been both extremely challenging and consistently supportive, and I couldn't have dreamt of a better mentor. I now consider her my friend and hope we will always stay in touch.
April 20, 2015