Seven Questions with... Avery Anapol
11 December 2020
This week we meet UCL alumna Avery Anapol, who is originally from Wisconsin, and had lived in Washington, D.C before moving to London. Here, Avery chats to us about her experience at UCL, including her interesting research on political COVID-19 memes...
What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?
I recently completed my MA in Applied Linguistics at the Institute of Education. I have always been interested in language, communication, discourse and media, and worked as a journalist before coming to UCL.
The programme introduced me to different subfields of linguistics and research perspectives, and allowed me flexibility in my dissertation topic. I ultimately combined my love of digital media with the current events of 2020, and conducted my research on the rhetoric and semiotics of political COVID-19 memes. You can read a bit about my research on the blog of the PanMeMic collective, which collates academic perspectives on communication in the COVID era.
Learning about the field of multimodality and social semiotics, and working with my supervisor Sophia Diamantopoulou, solidified my interest in the intersection of meaning and design. My dream career would involve taking this perspective to a research or communications role at a museum or other cultural institute.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?
In February I started as an intern with the UCL European Institute, and have been honoured to continue my work there throughout the year. The institute hosts fascinating events and conducts impressive research that has a clear impact on policy. It has been so rewarding to see our work continue to make waves, even after moving all our events online.
In this role, I’ve learned a lot about European politics and culture, the higher education and research landscape, the key issues and histories of European affairs, and have developed my skills in digital strategy and communications.
Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?
Not quite hidden, but my favourite place for a cappuccino and quiet chat is Bloomsbury Coffee House.
Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:
- Cycling around the Royal Parks
- Checking out bookshops, especially Stanfords, Daunt Books, and Foyles on Charing Cross Road
- Exploring my local area of SE London – As a tourist, I’d never discover hidden gems like Nunhead Cemetery or the view of central London from Telegraph Hill
If you were Provost for the day what is one thing would you do?
I’d create a system that paired students with faculty members for lunch dates and chats. As a postgraduate, I loved connecting with academics on a casual level and learned so much about their research and career that was really inspiring. I did not have this confidence in my undergraduate career, and would have appreciated an organised way of making those connections.
Who inspires you and why?
US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – and not only for her amazing political accomplishments at a young age.
I admire AOC’s use of social media to educate and inform voters of all generations about what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ of the political process. Her Instagram Q&As and livestreaming video games with constituents show not only that she is an incredibly smart communicator, but that social media and viral content should be taken seriously as a part of politics.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
There is nothing I love more than recommending books to people – if you tell me the last thing you enjoyed, I can come up with a list of books I know you’ll love. I track and review my favourites on Instagram – follow me @ave_reviews!