Annisa M.P. Rochadiat

Annisa M.P. Rochadiat

Annisa M.P. Rochadiat

Communication Studies, Ph.D. Candidate, Jakarta, Indonesia

What do you enjoy most about living/going to school in Detroit?

What I enjoy most about living in Detroit and going to an urban university is the diversity of the environment, particularly the student body. I am cosmopolitan at heart and truly cherish the opportunity to engage with as diverse a people and an experience as possible, which fortunately both Detroit and Wayne State University are able to provide me.

What has been your most meaningful experience or area of growth as a graduate student?

Graduate studies ain’t for the faint-hearted. It requires us to invest so much of our time, energy, and our intellect in order to truly benefit and grow as an individual, a student, and an academic. Since I started my journey at Wayne State University in Fall 2013, I’ve learned that despite the constant battle with the ever-present bouts of self-doubt and feelings of ineptitude (i.e., imposter syndrome), I’ve come to realize that persistence and hard work are among my core strengths.

What is your current field of study/research? What’s been your most interesting insight, significant accomplishment or research breakthrough?

My research lies at the intersection of the use of social computing technologies (i.e., social media and social network sites), individual difference factors (e.g., personality traits, personality), identity, and culture. I’m specifically interested in the lived experience of individuals and how broader socio-political and economic contexts impact their day-to-day reality and communication behavior. As such, every investigation I pursue ends up being thoroughly insightful. Currently, my research involves the lived experience of minority group members in societies and communities that are not wholly accepting of their presence, such as those who identify as belonging to the Islamic belief and currently residing as minorities in the Western countries, namely the U.S. The most interesting insight thus far is the extremely diverse range of experiences, including religious praxis, existing within this population, which actually runs contrary to what is often depicted of them in popular culture and public discourses, i.e., that they are monolithic.

What motivated you to pursue this field of study?

As a woman of color who also identifies as Muslim, who is currently residing in the U.S., and is also an active social media user, my research interest is important to me both personally, and is also academically and socially-relevant.

How do you envision your career after your degree?

I envision a career that combines research, teaching, and service, with equal emphasis on each. One of my main concerns right now is the ability to produce meaningful research that is not only relevant to in-class learning, but also translatable beyond academia and addresses broader societal issues.

What prompted your decision to attend WSU?

WSU’s reputation as an urban research university and the ample availability of research funding are definitely among the top deciding factors for me.

What is the difference between education in Indonesia(homecountry) and education in the US?

My [rather limited] impression of the education system in Indonesia is that students are typically trained to be generalists, which seems to be the opposite of the education system here in the U.S. There’s notable emphasis on specialization and focus early on in our learning and training here.

If I visited your hometown, where would you take/show me? Which place must I visit during my stay? Why?

This is actually the most difficult question for me to answer! There are so many interesting places to visit within Jakarta as well as across the many islands of Indonesia. There’s definitely something for everyone and it all depends on what your interests and preferences are when it comes to traveling and exploring a new place.

Something you are proud of doing/achieving while at WSU?

This is the point where I proudly give my shout-out to the good people (faculty, administrative, graduate cohorts) at WSU’s Department of Communication. No words express how content and proud I am of being able to learn and conduct research with so many distinguished, brilliant, and helpful individuals. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the many opportunities of intellectual engagement extended by faculty members and the support and awesome camaraderie of my 508 colleagues, as well as our administrative staff.

What is the one part of American culture that you are excited to experience/hope to experience?

Coming from a more collectivist socio-cultural background, I found individualism, as well as the American work and productivity ethic, to be particularly interesting. Other than that, it’s definitely the music scene!

Do you have a life tip you would suggest to an international student just coming to the US?

While the sudden change of environment may be particularly unsettling to some, I highly recommend international students to try and explore beyond their comfort zones (i.e., familiar social circles they’re used to) and engage with the diverse population, culture, and experience the U.S. has to offer.  

Do you have any tips for thriving in graduate school and making the most out of the experience?

Make friends and network! I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for us to establish and maintain a good social support system, particularly one that engages other graduate students. WSU, in particular, offers many different opportunities and student groups for us to partake in and build that meaningful friendship and connections. At the very least, having friends allows us to commiserate the graduate school experience together.

Interview by Christine Nyawaga

150 years in the heart of Detroit