Tag Archives: Kent State Ph.D.

Research, Jazz and a Doctorate Degree: Q&A with a Ph.D. Student

OmerMeet Omer Farooq, a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). Farooq completed the master’s program in SLIS in 2012 and remained a Golden Flash to pursue his doctoral degree. In our Q&A, Farooq talked about his research, his experience teaching and his favorite local Kent restaurants.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I went to Ohio State University for my undergrad in psychology. Go Bucks! I finished my Master in Library and Information Science from Kent State while in Columbus.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree?
A: Throughout my master’s program I had a wonderful advisor, Dr. Miriam Matteson, and she involved me in a few research projects that organically developed. She was very encouraging in that aspect. Then I decided to apply for a Ph.D. program, and I got accepted with the teaching assistantship.

Q: What are your research interests, and what projects are you working on currently?
A: In a nutshell it’s how students acquire information literacy skills and how they learn to be proficient in academic research. My dissertation topic is looking at the intersection of information literacy instruction and effective learning and instructional techniques that draw from cognitive science and educational psychology. Undergraduate freshman are my research participants.

Q: How has your experience teaching been?
A: This is my second year of teaching Information Fluency in the Workplace and Beyond. I helped revise this class with a faculty member, an adjunct instructor and a couple instructional designers over the course of the summer. We’ve had this course offered to undergraduates for a while, but it was time to revise it. The information in the course was outdated. The social media spectrum has evolved, and there are new tools and platforms.

The Association of College and Research Libraries had a new guiding document for academic libraries titled Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. We looked at the course in light of what are the knowledge practices undergrads should be able to do in terms of information seeking behavior, information needs and information use. It was an interesting and rewarding experience at the same time.

Q: When you find free time, what sorts of things do you like to do?
A: I like listening to music. I play the guitar, but I haven’t really had time to play like I used to. I’ve been listening to a lot of early jazz like Soft Machine and Indian saxophonist Vijay Iyer. Also, my wife and I like to explore new places to eat. Some of our favorite places are Wild Goats, because they have great discounts, and Ray’s Place.

Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I like to see myself in a lot of different positions. For me, an important thing is the institutional culture of people. Good culture and good colleagues that help support what you do. That really is how it started for me. The important thing in a dream job is that nurturing cultivating factor where you have good support on top and good support laterally.

by Elline Concepcion

Golf, Media and a Doctorate Degree: Q&A with a Ph.D. Student


Meet Zach Humphries, a 26-year-old mass communication in media doctoral student. In our Q&A, he talks about what it’s like to balance research and a graduate assistantship and still have a little free time to do what he loves.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I went to Youngstown State University for my undergrad in communication and media studies and my master’s in interdisciplinary communication.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree?
A: I have a couple of different passions. One is sports broadcasting and another is teaching. In order to teach at a college level, you need a Ph.D., so teaching brought me here first, and now I am beginning to value research as well.

Q: What is it like balancing a graduate assistantship with coursework (and having a few minutes to breathe)?
A: At first, it was hard to balance, because when you begin the program, you worry about your classes a lot. It gets better. The first year is difficult, but I was a graduate assistant for my master’s, and that helped.

Q: Are you involved in anything else on campus?
A: I’m the president of the Communication Graduate Student Association (CGSA). We try to bring everyone together. We’re very diverse, and we try to bring all types of people together.

Q: What are you researching this semester?
A: I’m traveling to London over spring break to look at sports communication media, which has been a theme for this semester. We’re looking at how fans interact with athletes. I also have been looking at a lot of political media; one of my projects currently is researching how cable news networks are framing illegal immigration.

Q: When you find free time, what sorts of things do you like to do?
A: I love to golf; I’m a huge golfer. Anything outdoors, I enjoy. I also really like watching sports. I’m a huge Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I would love to teach back at Youngstown State University. I want to give back to people who helped pave the way for me. I’m passionate about Youngstown, and unfortunately, it gets a bad reputation.

by Charleah Trombitas