Graduates Rise uses punk rock, confessional poetry, and explicit criticism in an attempt to demystify politics and systems of higher education. Many of the issues stopping system improvement are philosophical ones. Let’s get on that folks…

New Single The Ballad of Pellagra out NOW!


The Ballad of Pellagra is a punk rock murder ballad that seeks to help listeners better understand the complexity of pellagra, a nutritional deficiency that killed over 100,000 people in the Southern USA during the late 1800's. Pellagra presents with diagnostic criteria that have come to be known as the "Four D's of Famine,” diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death. The real world story of pellagra is taught in medical schools and schools of public health around the world. It is considered to be a landmark case in understanding economic epidemiology, which is the study of how disease progression in populations is connected to economic conditions. In the case of pellagra, the symptoms were originally blamed on the "filth" of sharecroppers and other poor southerners who were dying of the disease. This stigma persisted for years, and southerners continued to die. Many researchers helped to address the pellagra outbreak, with Dr. Joseph Goldberger and Dr. Edgar Sydenstricker being standout leaders in the movement to properly diagnose and treat the condition. They noticed that the condition was not transmitted to nurses and doctors, so they began to examine the diets of sharecroppers, which they found to be quite poor. They went on to identify that pellagra was specifically a deficiency in niacin and tryptophan that quickly resolved with an improved diet. Economic conditions found to have contributed to the outbreak of pellagra were ultimately systemic functions of poverty and oppression. Specifically, the cotton monoculture, which required sharecroppers to plant the cash crop of cotton rather than to grow vegetables, grain, or to raise cattle; the extremely limited access to healthy and affordable food options from local markets; and the cornmeal they used that had been milled in a way to make it shelf-stable for transport to the south on trains, but that also robbed it of all nutritional value. Researchers found that women suffered the most from pellagra, often because they provided the best food to their men and children. Ultimately, the case led to federal policies requiring processed foods to be enriched with essential nutrients. As this has played out across time, we once again find that poor southerners are suffering from population-level health epidemics fundamentally tied to their poor access to quality food. Referred to as food deserts, too many areas where southerners live in poverty provide very little access to healthy food options, while very often providing things to fill the belly with synthetic nutrients and other junk food products. Stigma persists and poor people continue to suffer and die. A music video (to be released early 2020) complements the song, which takes participants on a 3-D, virtual reality tour through the story of Eshe, a sharecropper who dies from pellagra and the central character in the song. The video features embedded learning content and student assignments and reflections for use by faculty teaching pellagra in their courses that wish to do so by providing an opportunity for their students to apply a critical race lens in understanding how pellagra was connected to systemic functions that exacerbated the condition including racism, sexism, classism, and the evolution of slavery in the USA.

Lyrics and vocals by Dr. Cyn Corrigible

Music, guitar, and piano by The Grey A

Ganjo by Sarah Eitel

Upright bass by Michael Majett

Drums by Erik Dail

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mike Purcell at County Q Productions in Nashville, Tennessee.


Graduates Rise's Single Pussygrabber


Graduates Rise's single Pussygrabber is a sex-positive song that presents consent culture the Riot Grrrl way. None shall comply with the Pussygrabber! All shall bow to the pussy power!

Lyrics & Vocals by Dr. Cyn Corrigible
Music, Drums, & Rhythm Guitar by Phantom Farmer
Lead Guitar by The Grey A
Bass by Brian Stone

Produced, Arranged, & Mixed by Phantom Farmer at The Stone Farm, Nashville, Tennessee

Video by Dr. Cyn Corrigible

Cover art by Morf



Graduates Rise's Debut album Math Is Hard!


Math is Hard! lineup

Lyrics/Vocals - Dr. Cyn Corrigible

Music/Guitar/Vocals - The Grey A

Bass - Jay Westermann

Drums - Herschel Stratego

Math is Hard! Engineered and Produced by

Russell Lacy at Virginia Moonwalker, Richmond, Virginia

Cover art by Morf

Graduates Rise's debut album Math is Hard! confronts some of the issues facing higher education and seeks to shift the focus from blaming individuals to instead recognizing how systems perpetuate aggressions. 

Specifically, the record tells the story of Dr. Cyn Corrigible and her experiences as a low income student with disabilities in a PhD program.

Counter-hegemony deals directly with the dominance of positivism and how it has led to the financialization of educationfurther discussed in Student AccountingTrash Data questions the effectiveness of laws around informed consent in today’s world of big data. Bully This tells the story of women and queers in science, attempting to work within a world dominated by white, male epistemologies. Slave Body serves as a thinking-man’s chain gang song, with perspectives coming from the id, ego, and super ego. Quit Lit sheds light on specifics of how people are degraded by education systems. Blame it on the Oligarchs draws attention to the role education systems play in maintaining wealth disparity in the world and Are You Blind? questions how this continues to happen. Whistleblower delivers a powerful message demanding change. I Can't Wait is a song about falling in love with Richmond, one of the USA's great punk rock cities.

Graduates Rise performs for the Nashville Visionaries curation by Carl Pope at Tennessee State University’s Hiram Van Gordon Gallery, March 13, 2019. Left to Right - Erik Dail, Dr. Cyn Corrigible, Michael Majett.

Graduates Rise performs for the Nashville Visionaries curation by Carl Pope at Tennessee State University’s Hiram Van Gordon Gallery, March 13, 2019. Left to Right - Erik Dail, Dr. Cyn Corrigible, Michael Majett.

Buy Math Is Hard! on bandcamp