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Faculty Spotlight: Emma Muccioli

By: Ben Magder

Photo Credit: Emma Muccioli

This blog post is about Adjunct Instructor Emma Muccioli. The post contains content from a past interview on Monday 9/26, and some parts are edited for clarity and brevity.

Professor Muccioli is an adjunct instructor in the MCS department: she teaches MCS 101 Lab. She is also the Assistant Director of Creative Services for Campus Life. She has years of experience at commonvision, and enjoys working with print and design media.

Professor Muccioli’s parents were originally from Maryland, but she was a military child. Before she came to UMBC, she graduated high school in Japan. She then started her path to UMBC at the beginning of the 2010s. She enrolled in her first university: a college in the midwest. She called the experience a “culture shock,” and she transferred to UMBC after one year. The difference between the two universities was night and day. She said that UMBC was already “incredibly diverse,” and that she felt comfortable in an environment that was centered around valuing diversity.

When she first came to UMBC, she told me that she was “still searching for her passion”. She was interested in social media, but still needed to find her fit. That fit ended up being MCS: a program that was unique and flexible enough to align with her interests. She was actually in the very first MCS 101 class during her time as a student! One of the things that she made note of about MCS is the uniqueness in its applications.
She graduated from UMBC in 2014 with a major in Media and Communication Studies, and a minor in American Studies. She noted key learning points from her time at UMBC: including the importance of media literacy, as well as the necessity of understanding the concepts of audience and background.

Post-graduation, she credits a part of her work at commonvision as a source of her teaching passion. She said that she originally became interested in the idea of teaching through the training she did on the job. She was also invited back to the university by Dr. Donald Snyder to give guest lectures about special topics, such as magazine design. In addition to this, she was also asked to make suggestions for the department based on her MCS background and unique perspective. Eventually, she transitioned to a part time teaching position as an adjunct professor. To that end, she said that she “enjoys teaching for this department,” to this day.

In the present, most of her days are spent teaching; and at the core of it, she enjoys working with students and also aiding their work.

In March 2020, Professor Muccioli began a “Zine” (pronounced “zeen”) series titled, “Pandemic Punk”. Zines are self-published magazines that are homemade or produced in a similar authentic style. This form of media preceded the internet as a form of fan-made art.

The first volume of this series documents her life from March 14th, 2020 to March 21st, 2020. Her project is not only for visual expression: it also served as her thesis project. The motivation for this project was devising a way to integrate punk elements - one of her passions - into her MFA thesis. She grew up listening to punk music, and was introduced to the genre by her brother: a designer and artist - similar to herself. Her project is heavily influenced by these elements, including punk design and DIY culture.

She also noted that MCS influenced her project a lot, saying that media and punk design were two of the largest influences for her topic. This volume was integral for earning her MFA in Integrated Design from the University of Baltimore, in 2021.

Although she doesn’t currently have plans to move into a larger teaching role in the near future, she stated that she “would love to come up with her own class,” - for example, a class about Zines. Her biggest piece of advice for MCS students and others is to “go see your professors speak about things they’re excited about,” outside of classes. She also made sure to mention the symbiotic idea of opportunity in MCS: professors are receptive to students’ interests, and it is imperative to take advantage of the resourcefulness provided by the department. As a professor, she is open to what she calls “fostering excitement” and letting students’ creativity loose. Her MCS 101L classes are designed to be creative outlets viewed through the lens of a question: why are we doing things through this specific action or activity in the program? The realm of MCS expands far beyond MCS 101, but having the creative skills from the class will help students flourish and achieve their goals within the department.

I would like to thank Professor Muccioli for being so gracious in providing her time and answers for the interview. You can learn more about her thesis project at pandemicpunk.com, and find more about Professor Muccioli at emmamuccioli.com.

Posted: November 29, 2022, 3:31 PM