I posted on my website earlier in the year when I officially received my master's degree from San Diego State University, but I'm posting now because graduation wasn't officially until the end of the spring semester. Unfortunately I wasn't able to participate much in the way of ceremonies and festivities because of gigs with Gary Wilson and Archie Thompson over the weekend, but that's sort of the spirit of my Cultural Studies program at SDSU, MALAS, so it's ok.
MALAS, run by Dr. William Nericcio (author of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America) is really a program for people who do things outside the proverbial Ivory Tower of academe. MALAS alumna Leticia Gomez Franco, for instance, is the curator of the Front Gallery in San Ysidro. Similarly, Jennifer Carter is on a hot streak of publications both in the areas of poetry and research. I can't wait to see what fellow MALAS graduates like Allie Schulz, Richard Muir, Jonathan Valdez, Richard Whitehead, Danielle Johnson, Vicki Lindem, Brent Erickson, Holly Puccino, and Brian Mohler achieve in the coming years (and those are just the MALAS grad students with whom I was privileged to share multiple seminars).
I myself was fortunate enough to delve into many of my favorite thinkers and areas of exploration, and also be exposed to new ones. My master's thesis, Wax Without Honey: The LP as Post-WWII American Zeitgeist, allowed me to connect the dots between sound reproduction technologies, Complexity, Deleuze, Marshall McLuhan, mid-century American history, the music genre of exotica, and more. Professors Dr. Emily Hicks and Dr. Yetta Howard were huge personal and academic influences and inspirations for me, with their inexhaustible curiosity in the areas of sound studies, space, identity, Complexity, and more.
I don't really think a degree is a game-changer these days -- I think it's a part of a larger equation that works for some people. It's certainly not something that works on its own, but rather something that is a complete assemblage of people, spaces, experiences, media, communication, and more. In my case, it's introduced me to people and ideas that I hope remain with me for the rest of my life.