A cheery voice fills the third floor of St. Mary’s Hall, welcoming students and excitedly chatting about upcoming projects and plans for next semester. It would come as no surprise to anyone who knows Lindsay Hogan that she was a cheerleader while growing up in Texas. Her energy is boundless and affects everyone around her. Ask anyone who has worked or studied with Hogan what they love most about her and this is the answer you will get: Her animation and enthusiasm make her an incredible colleague, teacher, and friend.
Hogan exudes energy and passion with her colleagues and students alike. Entering her fifth year at Boston College, Hogan is a professor in the communication department who studies children’s media. Her dedication to the industry is clear to anyone who speaks with her, and her knowledge continues to impress her audience in lectures and colleagues in the department.
Hogan was always interested in media—in high school she was the editor of her school’s newspaper, photographer for the yearbook, and producer of the school’s TV station. During her time at The University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate, Hogan noticed that her two younger brothers were growing up in a digital age that was vastly different from her own childhood. Although she was interested in the concept of children’s media, it wasn’t until after her undergraduate studies that Hogan considered it as a career path.
After graduating with a degree in advertising and public relations, Hogan began working at an advertising agency. She worked closely with Southern Methodist University until she was offered a full-time position on its staff to work client-side. As the associate director in the business school, Hogan was granted access to free courses, something that she took take advantage of.
As Hogan studied, she realized that she enjoyed what she was studying more than what she was being paid to do. After growing close to the professors in the department, they urged her to apply to Ph.D. programs. When she got into all three that she applied to, she made the decision to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue her interests in children’s media.
While it was a challenge at first, being a teacher, student, and researcher all at once has become one of Hogan’s favorite parts of her job. In graduate school, Hogan was pulled in many directions, from teaching class, taking classes, and writing papers to finding part-time work.
“You have to wear so many different hats,” Hogan said. “That becomes the fun part.”
Although her ease with teaching and working with students may suggest that Hogan was an academic for most of her adult life, her path to the university actually happened slowly and without fanfare. After applying to a dozen schools to teach, and a grueling interview process that required a several day long visit to campus where she interviewed with all of the professors in the department, taught a class, lectured about her research and interests, and met with the dean of students, Hogan decided that BC was the best fit for her.
Hogan’s mix of classes allows her to have repeat customers as students continue in the communication major. Many freshmen take Survey of Mass Communication with her, which is a required class for the major. In the spring semester, she’ll teach Communication Methods: Critical Culture, a 200-level class that students can choose to take, usually when they’re sophomores or juniors. Hogan gets to come full-circle with students in her Children and the Media course, an elective that usually fills up before even juniors can snag it. Her primary area of research shines through in it, melding pop culture with theory and research. The course features plenty of analysis on nostalgic shows and movies, like The Lizzie McGuire Movie and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
“Her course is always a sell-out each semester it is offered,” Christine Caswell McCarron, the director of undergraduate studies in the communication department, said in an email.
While her success can largely be attributed to her experience in the field and knowledge of her course material, it is her personality and exuberance that continues to stand out. Instead of standing and reading from her lecture slides, Hogan tends to sit on tables in the front of the room, legs crossed like an elementary schooler, so learning feels more like a conversation. The material can spur her to jump up at a moment’s notice or burst into a sing-songy shout.
“She has so much energy: when she’s teaching, when she’s talking to students in the hallway,” Rita Rosenthal, a professor in the department, said.
To Hogan, teaching is the easy part. It’s the things that don’t get penciled in on a schedule that she struggles to keep up with.
During the week, Hogan gets to campus to begin teaching at 9 a.m. and doesn’t finish until 5 p.m. Other than an hour and a half for lunch, Hogan spends the rest of her day answering emails from students, holding office hours, catching up on her research, reading the news, writing, and working on course development. During the registration period, Hogan meets with her advisees to discuss their courses for next semester and graduation requirements. To unwind after her busy week, Hogan most enjoys taking her dog to the park, reading for pleasure, and watching Stranger Things and ’90s movies. She also spends time on Twitter, where she has garnered 800 followers, and discusses topics from children’s television to the signs on College GameDay.
As a professor, Hogan not only teaches students, but also forms strong professional relationships with them. She helps students with their research and has used her own experience of academic exploration to encourage students to pursue whatever it is they’re passionate about.
“She definitely enticed me to study things that I’m genuinely interested in,” Alexa Deplas, MCAS ’18, said. Her advice was well received. Deplas has worked with Hogan as a teaching assistant and shared an incredible moment with Hogan after she found out she had been admitted to law school, with the help of Hogan’s recommendation letter. Other students remark on her warmth in class that makes her approachable and helpful when students need it.
“Her transparency makes her relatable to her students,” Grace Chung, MCAS ’18, said. “She demonstrates humility while being an amazing academic professor.”
Whether it’s dancing around to Hilary Duff’s “What Dreams Are Made Of” in class or listing her Twitter handle as part of her contact information on the top of her syllabus, Hogan has made herself accessible to students who can better identify with boy band songs than round-rimmed glasses and pressed Oxford shirts. Without sacrificing the academic part of professorship, Hogan makes learning fun.
“She loves research, she loves teaching,” Rosenthal said. “It’s just a pleasure to work with her.”
Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff