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Meet Paul Ocone

INDS Fall 2022 Graduate Highlight Series

B.A. INDS: Anime and Manga Studies
Music Minor 
Anthropology Minor
Honors College Certificate
Japanese Studies Certificate
Summa Cum Laude

Degree Mentors:
  • Tomoko Hoogenboom, Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication
  • Julie Oakes, Honors College
  • Nicholas Welcome, Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health
  • Carrie Sauter, Individualized Study
Why did you choose to major in INDS?
I was interested in an INDS major from even before I started my first semester: an interdisciplinary degree focused on a field of study not wholly represented by existing majors seemed ideal for the kind of idiosyncratic interests I have. (From the start, I wanted to do fan studies or anime studies as my degree, as I had been interested in understanding fandom for a while and had recently delved more into the scholarship around it.) My interest in INDS grew as I learned about the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship. I realized that an interdisciplinary approach was necessary for the research I wanted to do, and a major in anthropology or MCS or Asian studies would not encompass my whole plan of study.

What are your plans for after graduation, and how do you see using your INDS degree?
I am applying to the Fulbright Program to do research in Japan, and I am also applying to doctoral programs in anthropology. I plan to complete a PhD in anthropology and hopefully enter academia. 

My INDS degree will continue to serve me through not only the focus on multiple disciplines but also on the skills and strategies I learned for integrating different disciplinary knowledges, which is essential for venturing into interdisciplinary fields such as anime and manga studies, fan studies, etc. Additionally, the experience I gained in creating  and revising a detailed research plan and in executing the research will be invaluable for my future as a scholar.

I have been involved in the leadership of the UMBC Anime Society for many years, first as its secretary, then three years as its president, and now finally as the coordinator for Retrievercon, the convention we run every spring. My proudest achievements as president were holding our best Retrievercon yet in 2020 before everything shut down, as well as collaborating with other organizations and departments to hold a series of events in 2019 paying tribute to Kyoto Animation, an animation studio that suffered a terrible arson attack that year.

I participated in the UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab, a research internship at UMBC, where I worked with a team of other students to produce a documentary on climate change in the Arctic that was made to be projected onto a spherical display.

I have made several presentations at URCAD based on my research, and I have also presented at three academic conferences. I published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Mechademia in spring 2021.

My INDS capstone research is supported by a URA and an Honors College summer research grant. 

For more information on Paul's INDS journey please click here:

Posted: November 15, 2022, 10:43 AM