Alumni stories

Roy Thaniago

Roy gives high praise to his experience of Lund as a city, and a university: ‘My Lund experience was just perfect and memorable. Both the uni and the town provided the environment that enabled me to explore my intellectual quest maximally. Coming from a busy and messy city like Jakarta, I found Lund brings tranquillity and peace, an ideal setup for being contemplative in the learning process. Moreover, the atmosphere and the facilities of the university were helpful to keep me being scholarly inspired and energized. When the programme ended in June 2017, I felt like this two-year experience was too short.’

Choosing the MSc Programme in Media and Communication
When asked why Roy chose the programme in Media and Communication studies, he says: ‘I’ve been working with media issues since 2010 and I was planning to improve my knowledge by taking a master degree in media and communication studies. I’ve read some works of Peter Dahlgren and Annette Hill before I found them teaching at Lund University. I, then, landed on the uni’s website to learn more about the programme through which my decision was made’.

Roy’s advice to future students: understand the theoretical focus of the programme

It’s important to understand the theoretical focus of the programme. According to Roy, some of his classmates were expecting more practical approaches, on things like media production. He says applicants should make sure to understand the programme profile before they apply and come to Lund, and that ‘understanding what you are going to face is the best way to enjoy, expect and benefit from your master programme’. He goes on to say: ‘Secondly, get to know your research interest as soon as possible, so you could work on it from the first semester. By having a focus, I believe, you will get more benefits, more knowledge, as the learning situation in Lund relies a lot on individual and independent processes. In the end, of course, you will be well prepared for doing the thesis.’

Roy’s thesis

Roy’s thesis focused on news media in Indonesia: ‘I wrote my thesis under the title “Disciplining Tionghoa: Critical Discourse Analysis of News Media During Indonesia’s New Order”. The thesis aimed to investigate how the identity of Chinese-Indonesia, who are also known as the Tionghoa, had been constructed during the military-dictatorship regime called the New Order. The thesis was motivated by my curiosity to grasp certain behaviours and attitudes of the Tionghoa, who reflects a specific way of life, which is characterized by the idea of a self-disciplinary body. This thesis, therefore, is an attempt to shed light on how and in what sense power produces the disciplined Tionghoa.

I analysed 134 news reports of two Indonesian news media, Kompas and Tempo, published in 1966, 1976, and 1986, to seek the discourses believed to contribute in the construction of the Tionghoa identity, aimed at disciplining. The concluded that the scheme of disciplining Tionghoa is performed by implanting the projection of the desired-self of Tionghoa through the discourse. Thus, being disciplined has become desirable for the Tionghoa themselves.’

Future career plans: in the intersection of academia and activism

Roy tells us that ‘I found myself enjoying work in the intersection of the fields of academia and activism. That’s why I plan to keep working on what I have been doing, and to get into a PhD programme within 2 years. Therefore, I see myself in the future working in academia, while at the same time being involved in organisations and movements seeking social change.’

Roy graduated from the programme in June of 2017.
He is the founder of Remotivi, a center for media and communication studies based in Jakarta,           Indonesia. His current position in Remotivi is head of the research department, and he also works as      an editor and writer for Remotivi’s online semi-journal.

The Lund University experience:
‘an ideal setup for being contemplative in the learning process’

Lauren McIntosh

Choosing media and communication studies
Lauren has a Bachelor in History, and after that, she says she ‘wanted to add more value to my qualification by situating my historical knowledge with modern issues. That was why I wanted to study media and communication, it was a way of putting history into context’.

 

The Lund University experience ‘made me feel prepared for working life’
She goes on to say that the part to years in Lund has ‘helped me with gaining a theoretical base in media and practical knowledge in my field. The programme, combined with the experience from the many student associations and the network that comes from that has made me feel prepared for working life after university’.

Advise to future students of the programme
As Lund University is a big university, there is lots to do alongside your studies. You can choose among different social clubs (‘Nations’), as well as specific associations, that focus on various kinds of activities – everything from theatre and radio to lectures and seminars of foreign affairs or sexual health – just to name a few. Lauren took advantage of this and recommends others to do the same, as well as participate actively in the class room, with the teaching staff, saying ‘my advice to new students is to be involved. The staff have a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and the university provides many different opportunities to gain practical experience’.

Writing a thesis
During the last semester of the programme, students write a master’s thesis in media and communication studies. Here, Lauren explains her topic and what she believes she gained from the process: ‘My thesis was about constructions of multiculturalism, identity, and voice by news media representation in Australia. The study highlighted problems with media ownership, the national narrative and new constructions of racism in the public sphere. Undertaking a project of this size is a quick way to learn more about research. Managing a project of this size teaches you the analytical skills needed for life after university. The supervision here at Lund is designed for independent work, but gives you guidance and support throughout the course.

After graduation
Not long after graduation, Lauren got a job in Lund, ‘I have started working as the international head of marketing and communication for a tech company in Lund (GWS)’.

The Lund University experience:
‘made me feel prepared for working life’

Lauren graduated from the programme in 2016.

She now works as a Marketing and Communication Manager at GWS in Lund.

Ally McCrow-Young

In the following sections, Ally describes her way to and through the programme.

The Lund University Experience: ‘enriching and encouraging’
Ally says she had ‘a great experience at Lund University; it was a real privilege to be able to study at the postgraduate level, particularly in such a welcoming environment. The university overall was a wonderful place to study, and my time at the department was enriching and encouraging’. She goes on to say that since the programme is international, she, ‘had the privilege of making friends with students from all over the world. This experience has been so inspiring, and coming from such a small country like New Zealand, these kinds of opportunities are rare, so it was a real highlight of my experience’.

Choosing media and communication studies
‘I chose this Master’s programme because I thought it would complement my Bachelor’s education where I majored in Film, Television and Media Studies. The theoretical foundation to the programme also really appealed to me since I aimed to continue within academia, and this programme would provide a solid foundation for future studies’. She goes on to say that, ‘As a media and communications student, I’m extremely interested in the intersection between global politics, social structures and the media, and I’m committed to making real social change through research. This degree subject spoke to these interests, as we were encouraged to follow our own research paths while also developing strong theoretical skills’.

‘Broadening my worldview’ at Lund University
Ally says that her time at Lund University has ‘helped me in so many ways, from practicing the craft of academic writing and research, to broadening my worldview and meeting such a diverse group of people’. She goes on to say that ‘I can’t stress enough the privilege of being a student, being able to immerse yourself in a subject and being encouraged to develop and explore your own interests. The amount of support I experienced from teachers and classmates really helped me throughout the programme, and has continued to inspire me in my future endeavours’.

Advice to future students of the programme
‘I would advise you to make the most of your time at Lund. It’s not often you’re able to take the time to become an expert on a topic that interests you, or be around so many likeminded people. Even though it can often be stressful when deadlines are looming, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and support each other, that’s the key to having a great experience in the programme’.

Writing a thesis
During the last semester of the programme, students write a master’s thesis in media and communication studies. Here, Ally describes her topic and the process of writing: ‘I wrote my thesis on political engagement through alternative consumption, addressing the multiple online and offline spaces of commodity activism through a case study of [the company] Oatly’s consumers. I was particularly interested in how individuals navigate their own political identities within a corporate setting, and the implications of political activism that is inextricably linked with consumer culture’. She goes on to say that, ‘Through my research, I found that consumer activity negotiated top-down power from Oatly through a creative and diverse fusion of online and offline engagement, connecting micro individual participation to the macro political community. There was a strong duality to this political engagement, where individual participation and emotion operated simultaneously as brand work for Oatly and as a way to enhance personal engagement with the vegan, animal rights and environmental causes. The process of researching and writing my thesis was a unique experience, and I learnt a lot from it! Not just the knowledge I gained from conducting the research itself, but also the act of gathering data and the organisation of a large research project’.

After graduation
‘I’m currently working on freelance projects as a content writer and editor in Malmö, but my focus is on publishing journal articles and participating in conferences. I’m using this time since graduating to improve my writing and also being involved with helping the current programme students with study skills and alumni advice’. She goes on to describe her future plans, ‘My colleagues and I have founded the Lund University Critical Animal Studies Network which centres on education and continued networking and research in the field. With the network, I’m working to organise seminars and workshops with other organisations both within and outside of academia, such as local activist groups’. In the future, Ally says that she plans to ‘pursue PhD positions in Sweden, as I would love to continue my research and develop my teaching skills’.

The Lund University Experience:
‘enriching and encouraging’

Ally graduated from the programme in June of 2016.

She wants to pursue a career in academia.

Alfonso Méndez Forssell

In the following sections, Alfonso describes his experiences of Lund University, and the programme, as well as his plans for a future career.

He also shares his advice for future students interested in the programme.

The Lund University experience: ‘An eye-opener’
‘My experience at Lund University has been, to put in bluntly, an eye-opener. In Mexico, where I’m from, it’s not so common for people to pursue a Master’s degree right after finishing your studies, so when I got my bachelor in Communication Sciences I followed the standard communications student path and eventually landed a job at a media agency. After a few years working there I realized that the traditional corporate communication role didn’t fulfil me, so I decided to further my studies in order to widen my vision of the field’.

Alfonso goes on to say that ‘Lund University put in me in touch with fascinating and diverse people from all the world, allowing me to recognize and challenge many rooted preconceptions and beliefs that I had, while at the same time giving me the chance of building friendships and establish an international network. The University itself is an enthralling and plural symbolic and physical space that allows students to find a balance between academic and personal interests, with plenty of opportunities to engage with official and unofficial clubs and associations. Within the first semester I found myself representing a Nation’s football team (a Nation is a social club for students), going to politically-motivated meetings with students across the faculties, and cooking authentic Mexican food for people from four different continents’.

Above that, Alfonso says that ‘the university offers some great support and exemplifies perfectly the sort of person-focused, flat-organization approach of Swedish culture, so resources abound and professors and lecturers are more approachable than in other more hierarchical academic cultures; this also translates into having a bigger emphasis on the student’s self-determination in their educational process, which means individual work is favoured, as the classes are more sporadic and serve as guidance rather than the only source of learning. Personally I really enjoyed and thrived in this setting, as it provided me the chance of designing my own schedule and the freedom to determine my objects of study within the diverse field of media and communication. I found this sense of independence intimidating at first because I come from an educational background where learning happens mostly within the classroom. Looking back, I realized that in this setting I had little chance to actually study and never read one book from cover to cover, so at first I didn’t think I was equipped to face the amount of studying and writing that goes into a postgraduate program, but in the end I realized that anyone committed can rise to the challenge, as I did’.

Choosing media and communication as a major
‘Given that I have a bachelor in Communication, studying a master’s at Lund University would be a great way to make a career change, rather than just advancing it. Unfortunately, a master’s degree in itself doesn’t mean much anymore in the current labor market in my country. It’s usually a smarter choice to work two years rather than studying two years. But a master’s degree in a top university abroad is another thing. Studying a good communications programme in a top university is a great opportunity for me to make a career change with a certain edge. Sweden and Lund University were the first choices in their respective category, so I’m glad things went my way’.

A ‘broadened horizon’ at Lund University
Lund University helped Alfonso ‘open new career path and opportunities, and broaden my horizon as to what I can do within the field of communications. I now know that I want to pursue a career in academia. This time kick-started my interest in research and offered me a stimulating environment to motivate it. What at first became an itch by the end had become a calling’.

Writing a thesis
During the last semester of the programme, students write a thesis in media and communication studies. Alfonso’s thesis had to do with citizen participation in Mexico: ‘I explored a model of citizen participation through media literacy education in the Mexican context. I make the argument that Mexico has the conditions and the need to incorporate media literacy into the education system, but in order to offer the students tools and skills that are relevant to the current media scenario – one characterized by a tug-of-war between dominant media structures and new constitutional democratic guidelines brought about a major telecom reform – it has to go beyond functional models of media literacy focused on the acquisition of technical and mechanical skills and embrace more critical models that set the foundation for acts of citizen participation, such as the involvement in policymaking and further recognition and exercise of rights’.

Supervised thesis work
Alfonso describes his experience of the supervision during his thesis work, saying ‘I received excellent supervision, which happened within a framework of affluent academic guidance and dialogue. The supervision was a source of stability and validation when the task became too overwhelming. I found it to be a really useful process in which I was able to filter out redundancies or unrelated matters and compact and format ideas into cohesive and structured ways’.

Advice to future students
‘Just go into the program with an open mind and the willingness to learn in a highly stimulating setting made out of intelligent students from all over the world who want to make a difference, thought-provoking, engagement-stirring course literature and top-of-the-line professors and lecturers’.

After graduation
‘I’m currently looking to publish an article or two on academic journals based on the research I did for my thesis’. He goes on to say, ‘tied to my ambition to publish, I want to use that as a building block to land a PhD within a communications program in which I will be able to continue my research on the link between media literacy and civic engagement in difficult democratic contexts. In the long run I want to become a media researcher and policy advisor’.

The Lund University experience:
‘An eye-opener’

Alfonso graduated from the programme in 2016.
He is currently planning to become a researcher and policy advisor on media affairs. 

Lisa Jalakas

Lisa says that Lund University is an impressive university, encapsulating a whole lot of brilliance.

I enjoyed my time at the university a lot. I made many new friends (from all around the world!) and learnt more than I could have imagined’.

Choosing media and communication
Lisa explains how she chose media and communication studies as her major: I enjoyed writing my Bachelor thesis and wanted to gain more academic experience, with the thought of maybe pursuing a PhD in the future. Also, I am very interested in everything media-related, and I was curious about attending an international programme.

Looking back, I’m glad I chose it’.

‘Writing the thesis was almost life-changing’
Lisa explains how her time in Lund helped her: I got a job through my internship so right now my time at LU helps pay my bills – which is great! And I certainly learnt a lot throughout the whole masters, and writing the thesis was almost life-changing in terms of how much it changed my way of viewing the world. And not to forget – I made some really good friends!’

During the last semester of the programme, students write a thesis in media and communication studies. Lisa’s thesis was about feminist advertising, so-called femvertising: ‘It is a growing marketing trend utilized by large brands such as Dove, Always and Barbie, who use feminist values and female empowerment to encourage brand activism. My thesis explored the relationship between feminism and advertising from the individual woman's perspective. I conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with fourteen Swedish women and had them watch feminist advertising videos’. She says that ‘I felt like my mind widened, and I learnt to see nuances of media phenomena. It was incredibly enriching, and it has fundamentally changed my way of thinking and analysing.

The supervision is a vital part, as you don’t get to talk about your work with so many others (partners and friends quickly get sick of the topic!). It can easily get lonely. Without my supervisor I would have gone mad, for sure’.

After graduation
Lisa describes her current job, where she is, ‘working as a project leader and editor for an NPO’, which includes ‘writing a column about the results from my thesis for a feminist magazine, and thinking about how to restructure the thesis for a publication in an academic journal’. She is not yet exactly sure about what do next, saying ‘I guess I’ll see where I end up, but my plan for the coming years is to try to have as much fun as possible, and learn, learn, learn. I don’t intend to ever stop learning’.

The Lund University experience:
‘a whole lot of brilliance’

Lisa graduated from the program in 2016.
She is currently working as a project leader and editor at an NPO (a non-profit organisation) in Lund.

Agga Soediono

Why did you choose this course and research topic?
Coming from a strong academic and professional background in communication, as a master student in the Global Studies Program it was my intention to learn on how communication and media as a discipline fits in international relations/political science.

My research interest has always been about policy-making and communication and my research topic on public diplomacy really fit into this category. Particularly, I was enthusiastic to learn how communication is applicable in foreign policy and how it affects individuals and the world. The Communication and Media Department turned out to be an excellent institution as the faculty members taught me at a deeper level.

I took "Cosmopolitanism and Communication" course as part of my elective course semester as I felt I was still missing critical theoretical framework for my thesis. Whereas the Global Studies Program taught me about political science concepts such as nation-state order, conflict and securitization, non-state actors and the civil society, and globalization, this course filled in many of the knowledge gaps and at a deeper, philosophical level. At the master’s level, not only was this course challenging in making me think about communication and media using different perspectives, but the material also exhilarated me to research and read further, a thrilling experience which helped me tremendously in fully learning many of the concepts. As a result, the bulk of theoretical framework I used in my thesis came from this learning experience. This course should be compulsory for communication scholars who are interested in not only international relations, but also any other social science disciplines.

What did you find useful about thesis supervision and research?

Knowledgeable, approachable and resourceful--in a nutshell.
Whereas members of the faculty were some of the smartest and most insightful group of individuals I've ever encountered with their most up-to-date research, the faculty itself provided me with resources critical for any research studies. My thesis supervisor was Prof. Annette Hill and not only did she provide great advice to make sure that my research was on the right track and help put many of my ideas into perspectives, but she also pushed the envelope to make sure that my research interest was being pushed above and beyond my expectations. She motivated me by asking critical and sometimes difficult questions, resulting in research findings that were not only of the highest academic standards but also very rich and in-depth with information critical for the research.

Entitled, "Inducing Cosmopolitan Dialogue in the 21st Century: The Role of Web 2.0, Ideals and Practices of the New Public Diplomacy in the Case of the U.S. Mission to Denmark", in the process of my master thesis research I wanted to analyze and write about theoretical framework and practices, policy-making and governance and impacts felt at the individual level and, of course, how civic participation could be maximized at the cosmopolitan level. All of which was based on the U.S. foreign policy that I had the opportunity to work for during my internship. The Communication and Media Department equipped me with excellent resources. I often times sat through the "Communication and Participation" course lectures to listen and get more material for my thesis. I attended and participated the Department's weekly seminars for researchers and professionals to present and share their dissertations and findings. I also engaged and asked other professors, lecturers and doctoral students with similar interests, who were not only helpful in providing advice but also were very approachable.

At the end of the thesis writing process, as an independent researcher I had already sharpened my research skills, developed skills in determining how to best design research methodology based on research questions asked and quintessential writing skills for research and dissertations. This experience enabled me to instill my sense of confidence in conducting social scientific research studies, both at the academic and professional settings. This kind of academic environment is conducive to the learning process that is continuous.

What are you doing now?
Based on my academic background and passion, what I'm pursuing right now is working for diplomacy and development. I strongly believe in putting theory into practice and the U.S. Foreign Service provides that opportunity as they are seeking the most up-to-date academic perspectives that could be turn into pragmatic solutions. Since the diplomatic corps hiring process has been very competitive and arduous, I have also put an alternate plan to get my PhD in international relations/political science, focusing on civic participation, public diplomacy and global cosmopolitanism.

The Lund University Experience:
‘This kind of academic environment is conducive to the learning process that is continuous’

Agga graduated 2013.
Working with diplomacy and development is his career plan.

Christos Kostopoulos

Why did you chose this course and thesis topic?
I took my thesis course and the Media and Cosmopolitanism course from the Media and Communications department.

The Media and Cosmopolitanism course was one of the most demanding courses I have taken on the master's level, challenging you as a student and as a thinker. One of the best qualities of this course was the freedom that was allowed to the students to participate with the lecturers in the shaping of the lectures. Each and every student was required to present one of the books of the course syllabus and participate in all the other presentations. In that way the student's, alongside the guidance of the lecturers, were responsible for maintaining discussions and deciding how the material was relevant to their interests. Furthermore, the lecturers were always there to guide and encourage us to participate. The many different seminars and discussions sparked during that course helped me develop critical thinking and gain confidence in my knowledge.

What did you find useful about the thesis supervision and research?
Writing my thesis in the Media and Communication department has definitely been the best academic experience for me so far, because I was able to develop my skills and talents in a level I could not have imagined before.

The thesis that I produced was under the title “Making democracy work in Greece: The Indignant Citizens Movement, Media and Political Engagement” and its subject was the Indignant Citizens Movement of Greece, the way it was framed by mainstream Greek and English media and the role of the media in a vibrant democracy. I chose this research topic because of my participation in the movement and because of my interest in a functioning national democracy within a European and global context.

Working with Annette Hill was an absolute delight and helped me produce the best outcome possible, because of her interest in guiding and helping her students. During the period of the thesis writing I was able to find out the areas that I was strong and develop the ones that I was lacking in, due to a series of brainstorming sessions with my supervisor. Annette Hill, alongside the other members of the Media and Communication department showed their interest in their students by taking extra time out of their schedules and being available and approachable in communicating with us.

By the end of the thesis course I was more confident than ever in my ability as a researcher and I dramatically improved my academic writing skills. The success of my master thesis course was validated by the invitation I received by the Polish European Institute “Pro Futuro Europae” to present my work in a conference for young European Entrepreneurs held in Warsaw, Poland.

What are you doing now?
In September 2014 I will begin my PhD studies in the Media and Democracy research group of the University of Leicester as a PhD student. I will be receiving a full scholarship for my research and I feel that my work in the Media department in the University of Lund is what opened the door for this opportunity for me, since it prepared me for more competitive work as a PhD student.

The Lund University experience:
‘By the end of the thesis course I was more confident than ever in my ability as a researcher’

Christos graduated in 2013.
In September 2014 he began his PhD studies in the Media and Democracy research group of the University of Leicester as a PhD student. He received a full scholarship for his research and he felt that his work in the Media department in the University of Lund opened the door for that opportunity.

Gustav Persson

Why I chose this MSc?
As an undergraduate student in the department I already knew that I liked the atmosphere. I found the curriculum of the theoretical courses highly interesting and engaging.

What did I find useful?
The courses Media and Cosmopolitanism and Media and Participation were a real intellectual endeavor, both collectively and individually. As a student you are given the combination of clarity of ideas and high expectations. This makes room for failed attempts, stimulating discussions, but most importantly, intellectual growth. When I wrote my thesis I experienced great support from my supervisor, but also interest from other students and teachers in the department. As a Masters student you are invited to the research seminars at the department which gives you great insight into what other researchers, from all over the world, are working on. The international conferences that are organized at the department further makes you feel that you are part of an international research environment.

What am I doing now?
Since September 2013 I am a PhD student at University of Gothenburg. It is my strong opinion that the Master program at the Department of Communication and Media at Lund University equipped me very well for further studies.

The Lund University experience:
‘As an undergraduate student in the department I already knew that I liked the atmosphere.’

Gustav graduated in 2013.
In September 2013, he became a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.

David Pedroza

David Pedroza

Why I chose this thesis topic?
I decided to write my thesis on how citizen participation is being re-shaped in the digital age, using the practice of crowdsourcing as a model. Recent technological developments have brought changes in the way people around the world communicate and aim to spark change in their environment. I wanted to combine this backdrop with my academic and work experiences to study these changes in a more in-depth manner.

What did I find useful about the research and supervision?
Counting on the supervision of my advisor Annette Hill, as well as the support of the Communications Department at Lund University as a whole, provided me with a breadth of experience and knowledge that helped me frame the objectives of my thesis and tailor my research. Throughout the thesis-writing process, I received constant feedback and recommendations from my thesis advisor, as well as other academics and classmates.

What am I doing now?
I currently work at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., where I focus on developing and implementing strategies which leverage digital communications tools to bring the organization closer to a global audience. Prior to this, I worked at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. My thesis work was very helpful to prepare for both experiences, as it helped me obtain a deeper understanding of how new communication processes can be used to enhance this engagement between citizens and institutions.

The Lund University experience:
‘the Communications Department at Lund University as a whole, provided me with a breadth of experience and knowledge’

David graduated in 2012.
He got a job at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., where he focus was on developing and implementing strategies which leverage digital communications tools to bring the organization closer to a global audience.

Roy Thaniago

Roy Thaniago

Lauren McIntosh

Lauren McIntosh

Ally McCrow-Young

Ally McCrow-Young

Alfonso Méndez Forssell

Alfonso Méndez Forssell

Lisa Jalakas

Lisa Jalakas

Agga Soediono

Agga Soediono

Christos Kostopoulos

Christos Kostopoulos

David Pedroza

David Pedroza