Since my first year at UCI, I have been involved in mentoring undergraduates in many capacities: as thesis advisor, UTeach mentor, and internship advisor. I consistently have been so impressed with the enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity, dedication, and academic rigor of our students. I have learned a lot from the projects that I have supervised.
I have advised thesis projects for students in the departments of history and film and media studies. One project, for example, analyzed post-World War II radio dramas and argued that they were important sites where Americans navigated the return to peacetime conditions and the meanings of the social transformations that had taken place during the war for post-war life. Another interrogated how discourses of masculinity, civilization, and American exceptionalism circulate in American narratives about discovery, from the memoir of actual archaeologist Hiram Bingham to fictional archaeology Indiana Jones. A thesis from 2014, which won the Undergraduate Honors Program Thesis Prize, explored how YouTube is transforming extant assumptions about how media operate, from the distinctions between “amateur” and “professional” and “producer” and “consumer” to the mode of production that structures the creation of media texts. I am currently working with a student who has traced the evolution of depictions of violence on U.S. television, a study attentive both to the display of violence and its narrative function.