SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies Opens New Research Lab

The Media, Identity, and Communication (MIC) Innovation Research Lab provides students and faculty a space to conduct research focused on intersectional identity in media, entertainment, communication, and pop culture.

February 24, 2023
Dr. Rodriguez working in the MIC lab.
Dr. Rodriguez working in the Media, Identity, and Communication Innovation Research Lab.

The Media, Identity, and Communication (MIC) Innovation Research Lab is the brainchild of Nathian Shae Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Digital Media and Associate Director of the School of JMS. This novel lab was opened Jan. 23, 2023, after Rodriguez was awarded the Inaugural SDSU Presidential Research Fellowship.

Dr. Rodriguez created the MIC Lab to assist his research in critical cultural media and to help foster innovative research using creative media technology. 

“It was important for me to bring this lab to SDSU because I didn’t really see any research spaces in JMS, or even PSFA at large, for people who were doing critical cultural research in media or communication,” Rodriguez said.

This state-of-the-art research lab is open to faculty, students, and staff across JMS and PSFA who are doing research into intersectional identity in the media, entertainment, communication, and pop culture. 

“I want people to be able to come into the lab and learn how to be, not just critical researchers for media and communication, but also critically media literate,” he said. “It was important that this space be one where I could help nurture and mentor scholars and scholarship that was intersectional, intentional, and transformational.”

The lab’s physical space, located on the fourth floor of the Adams Humanities building, provides researchers with media technology that supports creative research methodologies and data analyses such as interviews, content and textual analysis, multi-screen observation, python, EnVivo, Qualtircs, and SPSS, among others. With wall monitors, Apple Airplay, podcasting equipment, in-home simulation space, and gaming consoles, the MIC Lab also provides a space for students and faculty to research and produce podcasts, children’s media, sports media, pop culture studies, and video game studies.

Since the lab is brand new, Dr. Rodriguez is looking forward to starting on new projects with faculty and students, specifically those in their undergraduate years.

“I want students to get a deeper understanding of media representation and identity, but also to have those tangible hands-on experiences that are going to make them more understanding of what research is and help them get to where they want to be in their academic or professional career,” he said.

Two students are currently working as research assistants for Rodriguez in the MIC Lab as part of the Weber Honors College Research Fellowship Program. They will have the opportunity to have their names included in a published research paper.

As the MIC Lab grows, it will not only be a space for research but for other endeavors as well. 

“I am excited as this lab really helps to push things forward and establishes us as innovators who are bringing together faculty and students from a range of disciplines and perspectives into one place to work collaboratively on projects that look at the intersection of media and identity,” Director of the School of JMS, Dr. Temple Northrup, said.

Students have recently launched a podcast focused on JMS alumni playfully called Where Ya At? (WYA), with the lab’s podcasting technologies. In Spring 2023 the MIC Lab will partner with JMS faculty to host an oral history project on San Diego Spanish-language journalists, an LGBTQ streaming guide, and a first-generation needs assessment. The Lab will also collaborate with students on a variety of projects focused on the state of Asian-American representation in television, bisexual stereotypes in film, Latinx/a/o journalism, and pop culture, among others.

“I grew up always hearing my immigrant grandfather saying: you grow and move forward in life with one hand in front of you pulling yourself up, and the other hand behind you reaching out and pulling others up with you,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “This is what this lab is for me.” 

The MIC Lab will host its official grand opening on March 1, 2023.

If you’re looking to get time in this exciting and constructive lab, contact Nathian Shae Rodriguez at [email protected].

Categorized As