Full Circle

by maggie mullikin

Our sixth year in iMedia has begun. Our new blogging team met last week to collaborate and plan. As we discussed the coming year it made me so happy to hear that each student, who will be a contributing writer, had been reading our blog as part of their research as to whether they should join this year’s class. Writing about our graduates and where they have landed, following graduation, is a joy for me and one of the highlights of my job. One such student, I have previously written about, is Matthew Duncan. I spoke with Matt in 2013 and his career has taken him in new and exciting directions since then.

Matthew DuncanAfter graduating from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Graphic Design, Matt was looking for a master’s program where he could grow his skills in digital media, digital marketing, and user experience. Elon’s iMedia program allowed him to study and gain knowledge within all these disciplines.
After completing his degree at Elon, Matt immediately started working as a digital media intern for the political cable network C-SPAN. While interning he collaborated with the creative and technology departments to develop and implement strategies in the areas of online streaming and authentication.
Shortly after the internship concluded with C-SPAN, Matthew began working in the Communications Support Service Center inside NASA Headquarters, in Washington DC.
As a multimedia coordinator there he created apps, managed digital signage on kiosks, and was responsible for website updates. After a year and a half Matthew discovered working for the government was not for him.

When NBC Sports reached out to him for a web product specialist position in their product department he accepted the position and decided to chase his love and passion of sports. In the beginning of 2014 he relocated to Connecticut and started his new career.

While at NBC Sports Matthew was a coordinator between the editorial, creative, business development, marketing and technology teams to define and analyze success metrics for various web digital products and initiatives.

Matthew is a hot commodity. Not long after joining NBC, ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, reached out to him and offered him the job of associate product manager, which is where he is today.  However, on Friday October 24th he will be in the iMedia suite to speak with our current students about his opportunities and career choices. Full circle.

 

 

Congratulations, iMedia14!

Last night I had the privilege of attending the 2014 Master of Arts in Interactive Media Capstone Exhibition. The class of 2014 has been working for months to put together unique projects displaying the skills they have mastered in their 10 months in the program. I was extremely impressed and proud of the work I viewed last night. If you couldn’t make it, you can view projects on the website the class created, http://imedia365.us/.

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I have had a chance to get to know the class of 2014 very well. I remember discussing the program and possible outcomes with many of them before they had applied. A handful of students began the program without much experience with interactive media, which you wouldn’t know frobym viewing their capstones. I’m proud to say that I had a hand in the iMedia class of 2014.

The class of 2014’s time at Elon was fast and we will of course miss the class of 2014, but one of the beauties of the iMedia program is the 10 month time frame, tonight the class will graduate and make their way back into the working world, making way for a new crop of students that will be joining us in a just two short months.

To the class of 2014: You have all worked hard and I am proud of the work you have done. I know each of you will be successful in your chosen interactive media pathway. The four classes that have graduated before you look forward to welcoming you with open arms. Congratulations to the Master of Arts in Interactive Media class of 2014!

That Awkward Conversation: Talking Money.

By Marianne Brigola, Com Career Advisor

I remember when I got my first job offer after graduate school. I was days away from graduation, targeting a specific geographic location and stressed out about graduating without a job. When I got the call with the offer, they essentially said: “We’d like to hire you as a _____ and pay you $_____. What do you think?” I was so thrilled that someone was offering me a job that the first thing out of my mouth was, “Of course I’ll take it!”

Yikes.  Looking back now, I know I should have played it a bit cooler and taken the time to think about the position before accepting the offer. While the job was ideal, and definitely one I knew I wanted–I probably could have done more research to make sure my salary was comparable for the position (spoiler: it was not).

photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc

photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc

 

It’s so exciting to get that job offer, but talking salary can be awkward. You don’t want to ask for too much but you want to be compensated fairly. As the I-Media students are wrapping up their program and going on interviews, here are a few things to consider as you evaluate job offers:

 

 

Your job offer is a package. In addition to your annual salary, you want to make sure you consider other things that are included in your compensation: health benefits, vacation, flex-time, educational benefits, etc. The number on your paycheck isn’t the only thing you’ll be receiving from your employer.

Do your research. You need to reflect on whether your salary offer is fair taking into consideration the job itself as well as the cost of living for where it’s located. Your money will go much further in some cities rather than others. PayScale, CNN Money and NerdWallet all have cost of living calculators that can help you compare different cities. Some also provide info about housing costs, groceries, etc.

Having a general sense of the typical salary for someone with the same position. This is a bit trickier–some titles in different companies and industries may be the called the same thing but have completely different responsibilities, seniority levels, etc. Glassdoor, PayScale, Salary.com are all great resources that you can use to start researching salary information. Some collect data from employers, others are anonymously self-reported. Some other resources for salaries within the digital and interactive industries are available here, as an infographic. The Creative Group is a staffing agency specifically for interactive, design and creative talent. They recently posted their 2014 Salary Guide, as well as a salary calculator

Know Your Worth. Be sure you understand what you’re bringing to the table in terms of knowledge and skills, and how you’ll be contributing to the organization. Do you have special experiences or skills beyond what they’re looking for that will be vital to the employer?

Salary is always a tricky topic to bring up during the job search process–but it’s so important to make sure you’re starting off with a fair salary since it serves as the jumping point for any future raises or even your future jobs. Being prepared and doing your homework will help make that conversation easier when you’re having that conversation with your future boss.

 

 

Be Connected: Day of Professional Development 2014

By Marianne Brigola, Comm Career Advisor

Kudos to the iMedia ’14 students, iMedia alumni, faculty and employers who joined us last Friday for this year’s Day of Professional Development, iMedia’s annual spring event that connects current iMedia students with employers and alumni.

Shout out to Nikki Schell (iMedia '14) for the fantastic program design!

Shout out to Nikki Schell (iMedia ’14) for the fantastic program design!

Each year the event looks a little different, and each year iMedia students benefit from some great advice from our panel participants and alumni.

This year’s panel included:

Conor Britain, iMedia ’10, Interactive Designer at RED Interactive

Angela Connor, Group Director, Senior Vice-President at Capstrat

Tracy Lathan, Account Strategist at Clairemont Communications

Amanda Sparks, Recruiter at Response Mine Interactive

Panelist gave some great advice on everything from trends in the industry, what interactive media technology their organization uses, and advice on the job search + interviewing process.

Photo by iMedia alum Juanita Wrenn @wrennworks

Panel Photo by iMedia ’13 alum Juanita Wrenn @wrennworks

 

Also, thanks to all our iMedia alums who came back to Elon to share their advice with students at the networking lunch:

Juanita Wrenn, ’13

Alan Buck ’13

Kelsey Sullivan ’13

Lindsey Huston Cook ’12

 

 

At the lunch, current iMedia students were able to mingle with the employers and alumni to ask more questions about the industry and navigating the job search.

This event wouldn’t be possible without the fabulous Maggie Mullikin planning the event–coordinating everything from panelists to alumni guests to catering! Thanks Maggie!

Hello May! (Or Capstone and Graduation Time)

By Jess Chambers, iMedia ’14

Hello May,

I was a little shocked to see your name on my calendar this morning. How are you here already? Where has the time gone? 

But all joking aside, this is it. We’re in the final countdown for iMedia 14. There were times I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it. Late nights and weekends in Powell, perilous hikes in Costa Rica, and a caffeine addiction have all brought me to this moment.

While we are applying for jobs in hopes of employment after graduation, there is still one major item on the agenda: the capstone. For some of us, it is crunch time to get everything completed. For others, it just polishing and adding those finishing touches. It’s strange how what was just an idea on paper a few months ago has become real thing.

My classmates and I are proud of what we’ve accomplished. If you’re free on May 21st, I invite you to join us for our capstone showcase. Come take a look at 38 unique projects that range from video games to interactive magazines. While the event will begin at 6 p.m., feel free to stop by whenever and stay as long as you would like. Graduation is the day after our showcase, so this is the last big event before we say goodbye to the iMedia program.

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It is exactly three weeks until graduation, and I’m thankful I had the chance to blog for iMedia program. It has allowed me to take time and reflect on the journey along the way. But now it is May so I publish my last post  and move on to (hopefully) bigger and better things. Nothing left to say but so long and thanks for the fish. And if you want to hire me, that would be cool too.

 

 

Where has the time gone?

Eons ago (also known as the beginning of August) when I first met the rest of my iMediates at the student orientation, Professor Copeland had some words that continue to stick prominently in my head: This will be the fastest and slowest ten months of your life.

I remember tilting my head to the side and thinking to myself, “well that doesn’t make much sense. Doubt both of those are true.”

Fast forward to today. If you look at a calendar, you’ll notice that it is just over a month until graduation and I am left to wonder where on Earth all the time went. Copeland was a prophet in a way: these past nine months have indeed been the fastest and slowest that I can ever remember.

The opportunities iMedia has given me are incredible and numerous.

Let’s start with the speakers, where we have been able to listen to everyone from Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project, to activist and former NFL punter Chris Kluwe (a discussion I was lucky enough to lead).

Chris Kluwe speaking with iMedia

Chris Kluwe speaking with iMedia

The class projects we have worked on have been great. I have been able to create a motion typography for one of my favorite movie speeches: for the American president at the end of Independence Day. I have created websites, both for computers and for mobile devices, for one of my favorite local bars/restaurants. I am currently working with Walkers Shortbread on their social media and SEO and trying to figure out the best ways they can improve those – which is something I’ve grown to love and hope to do on a full-time basis for a career some day soon.

I owe the program for one of the best and life-changing weeks of my life. As a part of iMedia’s Fly-In projects, I was able to spend seven days in Costa Rica, five of which were spent living with the Terraba tribe and learning the ways of their people (as well as being reminded just how fortunate people like me are).

Just enjoying waterfalls in Costa Rica. No big deal.

Just enjoying waterfalls in Costa Rica. No big deal.

Heck, I even owe iMedia for 90 percent of the items on my portfolio (shameless plug of it goes here), from the aforementioned Independence Day motion typography to a white paper on how colleges and universities should be teaching their student-athletes about social media and how to use it. I have also made several new connections in various industries, from public relations to digital content and everything in between.

Do I regret anything about the program? Absolutely not. I have grown both as a student, a new age storyteller and (as cliché as it may sound) as a person.

It really is amazing to think about how much all of us in the iMedia program have changed over the past nine months. Who knows what the next nine have to offer.

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So Much More than Cookies and Camp

by maggie mullikin

I recently visited with Meghan Gargan Bredhal, a 2011 iMedia graduate. Meghan talked about her job and the role the iMedia program has played in her career.

“My current job title is Digital Marketing & Project Director for Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines. We are one of 112 councils that sit under the Girl Scouts USA umbrella. We serve 28,000 girls in central and eastern North Carolina and roughly 10,000 adult volunteers.

“In this role I’m responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s digital marketing strategy in order to achieve key business objectives such as increasing customer acquisition and retention, product revenue, and brand awareness. I lead and oversee the social media marketing program, design and distribute email marketing campaigns, oversee and update the website and blog, as well as lead the Salesforce CRM and marketing automation projects we have going on right now. It’s a big job, but very rewarding.

What is truly unique about the iMedia program is that it gives students a taste of everything, making them well-rounded candidates for the interactive industry. My versatility is something that helped me stand out from the crowd of more than 200 applicants. Additionally, having portfolio pieces to show that I not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, was what helped my current boss decide I was the best candidate for the job.  

“Whether I’m designing a visual piece of content for social media, strategizing on the best time to send an email blast, mapping out the new UX and IA for the Girl Scouts website (coming summer 2014) or developing a consumer promotion to drive customer loyalty and engagement – I rely on my iMedia education every single day.

The best part of Meghan’s job, “Girl Scout Cookies! Just kidding! Although, they are a wonderful perk. The best part of my job is knowing that I’m making a difference in the lives of girls and adults across North Carolina. Non-profits have a reputation for being behind the times when it comes to technology and I’m glad to say that Girl Scouts isn’t one of them. We are constantly innovating and improving the way we do things and finding ways to incorporate technology to make it easier and more convenient for our members.”

Meghan’s advice for potential iMedia students,
“For potential students, I really recommend coming into the program with 1-2 years of work experience or 2-3 really strong internships under your belt. Understanding the demands of the workforce helped me place my iMedia education into context. It helped me define the areas that were most in-demand for my industry as well as develop specific portfolio pieces for the jobs I wanted once I graduated. Finally, having worked for two years before joining the program, I already had a well established network of contacts who were eager to learn about and share my work – thus leading to new contacts and new opportunities.”

Advice for current students,
“Be passionate. Be hungry for knowledge. Be exhausted (you can catch up on sleep in May!). The 10 months will fly by and there will never be another time in your life where you can completely immerse yourself in your digital education. Take advantage of every opportunity, explore any and all paths that interest you, and never stop learning once you graduate.”