By Lauren Irwin (Jour'22)
Photo by Kimberly Coffin (CritMed, StratComm’18)

Growing up during the emergence, and now dominance, of social media, fourth-year student Genevieve Duffy appreciated how the Department of Media Studies helped her find her niche: exploring the intersections of online media and politics.

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Duffy said her time in the College of Media, Communication and Information provided her with flexibility and freedom to study what she wanted. Her classes shaped the way she views art, from fine art to Netflix shows, and encouraged her to think more deeply about the world.

[My major and minors] broadened my horizons to new perspectives and ways to critiquing art and society."

Duffy channeled her studies into her senior thesis project, pouring hours into research after the COVID-19 pandemic forced students online. The project focuses on the use of public art to make political statements and how those statements are shared through social media.

“I think it made sense for me to kind of finish out my senior year with that [project], because I felt like that was kind of the major thing,” she said. “And it just symbolizes my entire career studying media studies.”

This month, Duffy will graduate with a degree in media studies, double minors in creative writing and cinema studies, and the distinction of being named this year’s Department of Media Studies William W. White Oustanding Senior. This award is given to students in each department based on a combination of academic merit, professional achievement and service to CMCI.

Before walking the big stage at graduation, Duffy reflected on her time at the University of Colorado Boulder and her next steps.

 Based on what you know now, what is your best piece of advice for other students?
Choose subjects that interest you. That definitely helped me enjoy my work more and put more effort into what I was doing.

 It’s clear that you took academics very seriously during your time at CMCI. Outside of classwork, what’s something you learned about yourself during college?
I learned how to connect better with people after the pandemic. It was hard at first to maintain strong relationships within a professional sphere while working online and as an out-of-state student, so it was important to learn how to keep these relationships and grow from them. 

 A huge part of college is finding a community of people to support you, work with you, mentor you and encourage you. Who was in your herd during college and how did they shape your experience?
I have a really supportive group of friends, so they always encouraged me to do my best and take on new opportunities while also reminding me to let loose a little bit. 

 How has/have the major(s) you studied shaped the way you look at the world?
They have broadened my horizons to new perspectives and ways of critiquing art and society. I was lucky to have different minors with subjects that often coincided with my other classes, they made me see the world in a new way.