MCS, and Beyond: Anjali DasSarma
MCS profile of Humanities Scholars alum
Former Humanities Scholar, Anjali DasSarma graduated from UMBC in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism and is now pursuing her Master's in American Studies at Brown University. She will be graduating from Brown University in May 2022 and will be attending the University of Pennsylvania to pursue her PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication in the Fall of 2022. She eventually wants to teach in higher education and has a passion for teaching and loves to talk with people.
Kristen Anchor, a lecturer with the MCS department, had the opportunity to talk with her about her experience at UMBC and the MCS program. Her experience was a positive one, and she highlighted the course content and the professors especially. She says that one of the best parts of UMBC for her were the MCS professors.
"They're amazing. I think they were the best part of my time at UMBC as a whole."
She found the faculty to be extremely helpful as they taught her in classes as well as with finding internship opportunities. Anjali was able to find an on-campus internship with the help of Dr. Snyder. This internship was with the Division of Professional Studies where she was able to gain experience in digital marketing. She was the Editor-in-Chief for the Retriever and interned at the Baltimore Sun, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Newseum, UMBC Magazine, and Atwater's. She mentioned that she appreciated the flexibility of MCS and that she was able to earn credit through her internships. Additionally, the MCS coursework and material gave her a good foundation as she approached these different internships. Anjali says, "MCS helped me think critically about the work that I was doing which led me to want to do that on a professional level."
In addition to the hands-on experience and practice she obtained through her internship and media classes, she also learned a lot about the theory and history of communication.
"MCS really helped me develop this really strong theoretical understanding of media, which helped me a lot especially given that I'm now doing academia, and having that theoretical basis is really fundamental. And also just learning good pedagogy from these professors; the way that they teach, the way they engage with students, it is really student focused, and I appreciated that a lot when I was there."
The research she is conducting now at Brown University is on the topic "examining self-emancipatory advertisements related to Indigenous peoples and colonial era newspapers." According to Anjali, "I wanted to spend a lot of time understanding historic violences and historic silences and erasures and obstruction of journalism disturbing communities. I do that because I do believe that journalism is really valuable, but I think that historically and in contemporary America it's really failing marginalized communities. It was really those internship experiences that made me want to research. So I did my capstone project with Professor Yang, and I did that on connecting slavery studies and self-emancipatory advertisements in newspapers to contemporary challenges. And then when I got to Brown, now I work with a history professor looking at indigenous enslavement and how the newspaper industry contributed to the brokering of the slave trade. So it's really intense stuff, but I feel as though it's really important for communication historians... to be understanding history in order to move forward in repertory spaces."
She feels that although institutional injustices were being recognized and acknowledged, there still wasn't anymore that was being done and it "wasn't really going anywhere, [and] that a lot of people were doing very surface level work, and I wanted to kind of dig deeper."
Since graduating, Anjali has had many opportunities to grow and deepen her knowledge and go deeper into her research. She's been able to work on different research projects such as the one mentioned previously as well as another where she is exploring the topic of historical, institutional apologies in Baltimore specifically. She is also a teaching assistant and had the opportunity to teach a class for the first time which was a new and exciting experience that she was able to have recently.
"I've grown a lot as a researcher and as a thinker and as an academic. I've struggled with the questions of being an ethical academic, like looking at relationships between an institution that I'm at and the community that surrounds it... I do think I've grown quite a lot... I keep thinking 'how has it only been a year?' But I feel very grateful to UMBC for giving me a platform to grow and to succeed, and again, that flexibility to have been able to have all those experiences."
Posted: May 11, 2022, 10:02 AM