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The Mount Welcomes Benjamin Firgens, Ph.D.

Michael Hershey
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

Benjamin Firgens, Ph.D., joined the Mount faculty this fall as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. He came to Mount St. Mary’s via Associate Professor Jordan Loveridge, Ph.D., also in communication, who he had crossed paths with at several conferences over the years.

firgins.pngFirgens teaches foundational writing and social media courses as well as a blogging course for students writing for the My View of MSMU blog and MSMU Travel Blog.

Firgens attended Ripon College as an undergraduate. Fascinated by communication and flight, he studied both so he could become a commercial airline pilot. Instead, he chose to continue his education at Penn State University, where he earned his advanced degrees in communication.

He changed his career plans after taking an advanced public speaking class that involved being put in front of unfamiliar crowds outside the classroom. He spoke at middle schools and even to incarcerated people (he recalled the middle schoolers being much more intimidating than the latter audience).

Firgens aims to help his students see that communication is helpful to study, regardless of their educational background or future goals. “What’s so powerful about communication as a discipline is that in this subject, a student’s limits go hand-in-hand with their sense of self,” he observed. He enjoys watching a student’s confidence bloom and seeing them write and speak with greater conviction by the end of a class.

Beyond teaching public speaking skills, Firgens is excited to share his research in social media and virality. He seeks to promote critical thinking in an age when people expect to know the whole story in a 30-second reel. “Disinformation is quick, cheap, and easy. Knowledge is slow, expensive, and tough,” he remarked.

When he isn’t chasing—or getting chased by—his two children, he enjoys mountain biking. He mountain biked competitively as an undergraduate and is excited to explore the trails around the Mount. Firgens also enjoys reading science fiction and historical fiction. Favorites include Patrick O’Brian’s “Aubrey-Maturin” series and Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice” trilogy.

Michael Hershey
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts