There’s no such thing as wasted knowledge. This is a phrase that embodies Linda Gedemer. The part-time Recording Arts instructor, who has been teaching at LMU since 2004, has made a career out of combining education, on the job experience and teaching for 26 years. She will soon have earned her third degree, a PhD in Audio Engineering and Acoustics. This degree is on top of her undergraduate degree in Music Engineering and a Master of Science in Acoustics. She’s also learned on the job designing and building sophisticated audio, video, data and electronic control systems for a wide variety of commercial, educational and entertainment applications, plus she’s an award-winning sound editor.
“When I went into my undergrad, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do and once I was exposed to other areas of audio engineering, I changed my mind,” said Gedemer. “Since that happened to me, I thought that my experience would be a valuable thing for students at LMU.”
Her improvisational course in life has informed her teaching, enabling her to help students find their way in the world of audio and sound. As faculty advisor for the LMU Chapter of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), she regularly invites guest speakers to class where they offer career specific counseling. She said this often leads students to explore new fields and discover their passions at college.
Since RECA students often move from general interest in film and TV audio to game audio or live sound, Gedemer encourages them to take additional classes or outside electives that may not be directly in RECA. “Maybe a student who wants to study game audio will take an elective in computer programming, or I have students who are interested in acoustics who will take an extra class in mechanical engineering or physics,” she said. “They find out how to enhance their RECA curriculum based on the guidance of some of these guest speakers who talk to them about what opportunities and careers are out there.”
Gedemer also sets up student tours with companies such as Harmon/Kardon research facility to give them an up close and personal look at the “real world.” And she organizes networking events like the recent AES mixer that included Grammy Award-winner Andrew Scheps, and advises students to attend the annual AES conventions in San Francisco and New York. “The students will literally save up their money and carpool or travel together to attend these conventions because they realize the value of attending workshops and networking at these conventions.” Through these experiences, students find themselves seeking out new paths and directions of where they want to go in life.
The supplement to a good education is practical experience and this means internships. She actively motivates students to pursue internships as early as sophomore year in order to help them get jobs upon graduation. “The triple threat is a student with a good sound education, a strong work ethic and an internship sitting on their resume at graduation.”
Gedemer is taking her own advice: in addition to teaching and pursing her PhD, she is working as a post-graduate researcher at Harman International in the Acoustic Research department of the Corporate Technology Group, where she is the oldest known intern.