By Jon Cabiria, PhD (Media Psychology ’08)
My professional life encompasses four domains: consulting, research, public speaking, and teaching. My focus is on identity redevelopment using various mediated environments. I utilize online social networks to help individuals and corporations reinvent themselves. My research is considered groundbreaking because it shows how positive virtual experiences can transfer to the real world. Thanks to my experience at Fielding, I also speak internationally and have taught at UCLA, Baker College, Walden University, and Pennsylvania Institute of Technology.
While at Fielding, I focused my doctoral research on the online world of Second Life. This virtual world is an online meeting place where members create representations of their idealized selves and socialize, conduct business, engage in research, and hold classes, all in real time. One of my studies focused on marginalized people as they found communities of similar others in virtual environments. The resulting positive effects carried over into their real lives, suggesting that the virtual world can be useful in redevelopmental processes.
I decided to pursue a doctoral degree because I had come to realize that the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I was accepted into three programs but chose Fielding because it was flexible, had a great reputation, was accredited by the American Psychological Association, and the media psychology program allowed me to make my mark on an emerging field. Fielding provided the space and support for exploration and discovery.
FIELDING’S IMPACT ON MY LIFE
Fielding was one giant “aha” experience spread out over time. Learning should be a transformative process. I can say, unequivocally, that I was transformed. I came to Fielding seeking to fill gaps in knowledge, and came out with more knowledge, more skills, and more opportunities than I ever imagined before entering the program. Since graduating, the opportunities to achieve my goals have only increased, and the timeline to achieve them has been remarkably shorter. I now face the enviable dilemma of how to choose from so many excellent opportunities.