Mike Alvarez, a Ph.D. candidate in communication and recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, served as visiting scholar in August at the fall 2017 residency of Goddard Graduate Institute at Goddard College.
Alvarez, who is author of the forthcoming book “The Paradox of Suicide and Creativity,” delivered a 90-minute keynote presentation: “Life and Death, Technology and Self: Suicidal Individuals’ Search for Meaning Online.”
He also offered a workshop, “Cyberspace as Research Frontier: Making Sense of Digital Data,” for master’s students in Goddard’s Individualized Studies, Health Arts & Sciences, and Social Innovation & Sustainability programs.
In addition, he was the featured guest on “Ethereal,” a two-hour radio program on WGDR, a Pacifica-affiliated community radio station in Vermont. He was also featured on “Lessons from a Radical Model,” a WGDR podcast.
As visiting scholar, Alvarez addressed his past struggle with so-called mental illness, suicidality and psychiatric hospitalization, and how these in turn shaped the work he is doing at UMass Amherst and beyond. He shared findings from his ongoing research on the internet and suicidality, read excerpts from his memoir, and discussed the process of making connections between lived experience, scholarship and outreach.
Alvarez, a graduate of Goddard College, is one of nine architects of the college’s Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies program, which will be Goddard’s first Ph.D. program, as well as chair of its steering committee on diversity.