Assistant Director for Career Planning
Nessim Watson uses knowledge of how advertising works to help your resume be more than a list of where you’ve been. As assistant director of the new CNS Career Center, he aims to help you craft your personal brand and create a sharply focused marketing approach to your job search process. These include:
- resumes and cover letters
- internships and research opportunities
- advice about using LinkedIn
- practice interviewing skills
Nessim earned his PhD in Communication here at UMass Amherst, and is glad to be back on campus after a dozen years living the life of a Communication professor, teaching about the mass media industries, advertising and marketing. Now he has re-focused those skills on how to attractively and effectively market each UMass CNS student to their new internship supervisor, faculty researcher, or employer.
Born in NYC, Nessim learned how to influence people first as a child actor, and then as a youth activist for social justice. At age 12, he spoke to an audience of 5000. With so many people in the city, he began observing people from an animal behavior perspective that illuminated “what people actually do” as opposed to “what they say they do.” He asked questions like “If people are truly free to be who they want, then why do most teens actually put themselves into 1 of 5 pop culture-supplied categories?”
His academic research track has focused on the ways in which people’s beliefs and behavior can be influenced by consumption of media, especially television, music and the internet. His senior thesis at Hampshire College traced the birth of MTV and how its strategic programming changes came to control both the range of popular music, and the range of teen identities during the 1980s.
At the Annenberg School for Communication at UPenn, he studied Phish.net, an early online community of Phish fans, to show how the rise of the internet in the 1990s created a new potential for fans to influence popular music by having more direct contact with musicians than was possible under the radio and MTV paradigms.
After 9/11, he wrote the first book describing the history of US images of Arabs and Muslims images in US popular culture alongside the history of US foreign policy towards the Middle East. Through this integrated analysis he demonstrated how popular culture had been steadily moving the US public towards War, especially men of fighting age, long before the 9/11 Attacks were falsely used to rationalize the 2002 invasion of Iraq.
Today, Nessim is the guy with the loud jacket who has a Rasta Pooh Bear stuffy that you can visit if you are ever feeling stressed or sad. The Notorious RPB gives great hugs. Ask around. This is true.