Please tell us a little bit about your current research interests and projects.
As always, I have a few projects in-progress: a grant-funded project with Dr. Campana at Maple Heights Public Library, and a collaborative USAID Grant with American University Nigeria, Columbia University, and Kent State colleagues. I also have a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press called The Forever Fandom of Harry Potter: Balancing Fan Agency and Corporate Control. The Harry Potter franchise lends itself exceptionally well to fan-based activities, from fan fiction, to festivals, to charitable works, and many who started as childhood fans continue into adulthood. J.K. Rowling (and related corporate entities) have not always been supportive of fan activities, but arguably, fans’ ongoing activity is closely tied to the series’ success. I believe that it is mutually beneficial for corporations and fans to figure out how to work together.
Do you have any advice for students?
Here are ten tips for students:
- Join a professional organization. Take advantage of student rates.
- Volunteer to serve on a committee—any committee—within this organization. Your openness will increase your chances of getting picked. Committee work enables you to build your professional network while gaining a broad overview of the field—and make lifelong friends. And you might just get a job out of it—I met former ALSC President and Kent State Professor Emerita Dr. Carolyn Brodie through ALSC committee work, which helped bring me to Kent State.
- Attend and present at conferences. Local, regional, and state conferences are great places to start, and are more affordable.
- Seek funding and volunteer opportunities.
- Partner with colleagues (there is a reason I assign group projects!) to present, or to organize a panel or workshop.
- Publish articles in professional publications – that will get your name out there. Co-authoring is a great idea, too.
- Post on social media, but spread positivity. Offer solutions to problems when you have them.
- Say yes to opportunities.
- Do your very best to keep your promises.
- Don’t give up.