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Matthew Straub ’19

Class of 2019, Major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Critical Sound Design

My Interdisciplinary Studies major allowed me to explore my passion, sound design, from a number of different perspectives. From historical research of the Jazz era, to hands-on experience at internships in the city, an Interdisciplinary Studies Major pushed me to analyze everything we hear in the world, learn how to recreate it, and understand the impact it can have on people.


The Beginning
Matthew transferred to MMC in the Fall of 2016. Even though he already had three
semesters of college under his belt, he was still unsure which major to choose.

After his first semester as a Theater Major concentrating in Sound Design, he realized that he wanted to learn more about other areas of sound, and how audio has such an impact on people. At the same time, Matthew’s grandmother was suffering from dementia. “She was unable to complete sentences or say the names of people she had known for her entire life. But the minute you started playing a by Frank Sinatra, she would sing every single word. On pitch. It was incredible.” This helped inspire Matthew to learn more about why music was such a powerful tool for people suffering from dementia, and also how to create acoustic media that can have a profound effect.

After doing research on MMC’s Interdisciplinary Studies major, Matthew contacted the Coordinator, Dr. Bradley Herling, who then suggested he contact Drs. Peter Schaefer, Andrew Warshaw, and Edrex Fontanilla, to discuss whether or not a program like this was feasible.

“My professors at Marymount are undoubtedly some of the most passionate people I have ever met. My advisors have always gone out of their way to help me find internships, courses, academic material, and other resources throughout my time at Marymount. They always wanted me to succeed but were never afraid to push me outside of my comfort zone. I am happy to consider all three of them lifelong colleagues of mine. Marymount allowed me to create a multifaceted program that sets me apart from many other students when applying for jobs. The diversity of my major, paired with a strong liberal arts education, provided me with an excellent launching pad for my career and further education.”