Melissa R. Meade is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at Villanova University. She earned her Ph.D. in Media and Communication at the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University. Her dissertation uses data from years of offline fieldwork in Northeastern PA, authoethnography, and the collaboration w/local participants vis-a-vis multi-modal and multi-sited researcher-created digital media project to examine the cultural and lived experiences of economic abandonment in post-industrial zones. It explores how residents of a former single-industry economy, the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania, negotiate this process via communicative constructions of identity, class, and social memory.
Dr. Meade’s research sits at the intersection of memory, identity, and media with a specific focus on the experiences of marginalized people and their cultural production. Her research interests include digital media for community dialogue and community-based media; environment and media; social difference including deindustrialization, labor, and class studies; disability; gender and sexuality; immigration, race, and ethnicity; ethnography, autoethnographic writing, and discourse analysis.
Meade’s research has won multiple awards. For example, she is the author of the essay “In the Shadow of the Coal Breaker: Place and Landscape in the Anthracite Coal Mining Region,” which was winner of the Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award from the National Communication Association, 2015. This paper also was named a Top Competitive Paper in Ethnography as well as John T. Warren Top Student Paper in Ethnography, also from National Communication Association, 2015. Her research won both “Journal Article of the Year” in American Studies and “Top Journal Article” in Ethnography from the National Communication Association in 2017.
Meade’s research has been published in a number of places. “In the Shadow of the Coal Breaker: Cultural Extraction and Participatory Communication in the Anthracite Mining Region” is published in Cultural Studies. Her work has also been published in Discourse & Communication, CineJ Cinema Journal, and International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. Meade is the recipient of numerous research grants including the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and the Waterhouse Institute for Communication and Society Grant, an award that recognizes a project’s focus on communication’s significance for ethics, social justice, and social change. She has been a University Fellow at Temple University and was selected as a Graduate Associate Fellow at the Center for Humanities at Temple [CHAT]. She was a HASTAC Digital Humanities Scholar. Meade’s research also has been funded by the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission, among others. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Linguistics and Intercultural Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Postgraduate Diploma in Intercultural Studies from the University of the Basque Country located in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain where she was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar. Before coming to Villanova University, she spent several years teaching at Temple University, and at the University of the Arts. She was a Visiting Professor of International Programs at Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Querétaro, Mexico. She speaks fluent Spanish. Meade presents regularly at peer-reviewed learned association conferences including the National Communication Association, the International Communication Association, the American Anthropological Association, the Southern States Communication Association, and Global Fusion. She also frequently serves as a panel chair, organizer, respondent, and moderator. She served as the Early Career Representative of the Language and Social Interaction Division at the International Communication Association and has been a reviewer for the Global Fusion Conference, the International Communication Association Convention, and the National Communication Association. She has been quoted in the national and local media.
Prior to her life as an academic, Meade was Program Director for Women with Children, an innovative program in which children lived in accommodating university housing with their single mothers and in which childcare was made available and accessible on campus. While serving as Director, she also served as chair of an international women’s conference on the topic. Meade worked for a management consulting firm in the areas of research and communication, for the U.S. Social Security Administration as a social insurance specialist and a federal translator and interpreter, and as an ESL instructor to unionized immigrant laborers.