Joe Sirianni felt unfulfilled in the job he formerly held and was looking for a challenging, creative career path for himself. He had held an interest for mass media theory and effects since his years as an undergraduate and was drawn to the Communication Department at UB after learning about the diverse research interests of the faculty within the department, especially Dr. Mary Cassata.
“Meeting Dr. Cassata influenced me to pursue an academic career here and was the pivotal moment that ultimately changed and shaped my life. She continues to be an inspiration and close confidant. She believed in my capabilities as a student from the start and we are currently engaged in an exciting project regarding daytime television."
UB’s faculty has some unique strengths, according to Sirianni.
“The faculty guide us with their expertise in the research field, and they encourage us to pursue our own research interest, providing us with the liberty and creative freedom to do so,” says Sirianni.
“Dr. Vishwanath has provided me with the skills and knowledge needed to execute research in our field. He gave me the opportunity to teach mass communication within the department, which has been an extraordinary experience. He has been a monumental influence during my years at UB.”
The study Sirianni produced with Dr. Arun Vishwanath on sexually explicit user-generated content was an especially rewarding research project. The study enabled him to research a topic that has not received much scientific attention, he explains. It also allowed him to create his own research instrument for test his data and helped him better implement empirical communication research methods.
Dr. Michael Stefanone advanced his understanding of communication research by involving him in experimental studies.
His cohort of graduate students also impressed Sirianni.
“The graduate students act as mentors for each other. While we do not have the research experience that the faculty has, we spend a significant time together assisting, collaborating, and supporting one another with research projects. We learn a great deal from each other; without the camaraderie amongst ourselves, our studies would be much more laborious.”
"I have gained the confidence and proficiency to be a researcher and an effective instructor,” concludes Sirianni, “which has been an unbelievably beneficial experience.”