Category Archives: Profiles
by maggie mullikin
Whether I am visiting a former iMedia student at their office, co-hosting our most recent iMedia Dinner & Discussion, or speaking to current iMedia students about their interactions with alumni I am struck by the amount of conversation, networking, connecting, sharing, and generosity that exists. I believe this is due, partly, to the fact that so many iMedia alumni are working in the field they love and have the career they aspired to after earning their degree in interactive media. The conversations are optimistic, hopeful, encouraging, and full of ideas and guidance. They include the many reasons why people from all undergraduate backgrounds should consider Elon’s iMedia program.
Kacie Lett (’12) is an account coordinator at Response Mine and I had the pleasure of visiting her in Atlanta. This is what she had to say about the iMedia program and what it has done for her career.
“After graduating from my undergraduate university, I was overwhelmed with options– I knew where I wanted to be, but was lacking the skill set and insight on how to arrive there. By fortunate chance I learned of the Interactive Media Program at Elon University, and instantly knew it was for me. The understanding of tools, concepts, and real-life business practices that you gain during this 10-month degree is something that cannot be fully put into words nor understood in its entirety, until you land that first job post Elon.
“I ventured down to Atlanta, Georgia where I was welcomed into a digital advertising agency with open arms. My peers and bosses alike were surprised and impressed with the knowledge Elon provided me. I never would have had the skill set, nor the confidence to walk into my company and accept the job I was offered, had I not first pursued my master’s degree at Elon University. In less than six months, I was afforded the wonderful opportunity to manage the paid search advertising and search engine optimization for two prominent children’s clothing brands.
“I sing the praises of Elon University and the IMedia faculty and staff wherever I go. And while I only spent a short while there, Elon University will always be a place I am proud to call home.”
Nicole Wyche (’11) a strategist with Ignite Social Media had the following to say about her iMedia experience.
“The iMedia program was 10 months of the craziest job I’ll ever have. I hit the ground running, learned something new every single day, survived quick turnarounds, worked with clients and diverse internal teams all while keeping up with the latest tech developments and news. I left more than prepared for the rest of my career and excited to hit the ground running again.”
These two women speak to the advantage this program has given them and what it can do for others transitioning into the world of interactive.
I had the absolute pleasure of spending time with Brad Mu (’11 iMedia) at his office in Oakland CA. Brad is Project Manager @ Free Range Studios. Free Range is a creative agency that tells stories across media platforms; interactive, mobile, print, and video. Sound familiar?
So Brad and I had time to speak about his journey to Elon’s iMedia program right through to where he is today.
“After leaving the investment bank, my intention was to work as a waiter for 6-8 months and then go to work at a magazine. I saw magazines as offering interesting content but more importantly interesting content that’s well designed. I figured I could either create the content or design it. “The economy entered the recession and even though I worked at a small literary magazine I knew the market was shifting. Magazine circulation was consistently dropping. Magazines or even entire publishing houses went out of business. So I began to think about what it was that was replacing magazines. That desire we have for that kind of content wasn’t going away. The medium was just changing. Obviously, websites, in whatever shape or form, were taking the place of magazines.
“But it wasn’t just a logical choice of knowing what line of work I needed to get into to find a rewarding job, I wanted to be in a forward looking field. I wanted my work to at least, on occasion, be something that had never been done before. I wanted to be excited by my work. And I started seeing this field as the intersection of interesting, valuable content–which is always new and unique–and using technology to distribute and use that content in new and radical ways.”
So, fortunately for us, Brad found Elon’s iMedia program to be just what he needed to launch his career in the right direction. The unique aspects of our program fit perfectly with Brad’s vision.
“I wouldn’t be where I am and doing what I’m doing today without the iMedia degree. At best I would be working for some small regional magazine, living a respectable life. But it’d be dull. And I’m not satisfied with dull. The program gave me a foundation of knowledge and a level of credibility that would have taken years to amass as a freelancer or even working in a studio or agency. Of course working in a studio or agency is valuable, real world experience. But unlike those settings, the iMedia program gives you access to many different areas of specialization in the digital field. Most importantly the program allows you to explore what interests you most–a luxury that is sadly a rarity in a studio or agency.”
As usual, I ask our graduates what their advice is for our current students. This is what Brad had to say,
” Know what you want to do with this degree. It’s fine to enter the program not knowing exactly what you want to do. Take time while in the program to explore things that may interest you. Eliminate the things you know you don’t want to do. Repeat the things you think you may want to do. But always have a plan–even if it’s a rough one. Have an idea of how you’d apply this degree to a job or even an idea of your own.
“Use the time you have while in school, which will be time unlike any other in your life if you make the most of it, to explore what interests you and makes you happy. It can be the most illuminating and inspiring time of your life. But you have to embrace it. Take opportunities. Work through the night on occasion. Obsess over your work. It’s a short program, so you might as well look at it as a brief period of time that’s completely yours to explore the possibilities of where your career can go.
“You’ll never have access to the tools, people and time, ever again in your lifetime, that this program affords. Make it fun. Make it your own. And don’t limit yourself in either what you do while in the program or what you think you can do after.”
My time with Brad was wonderful. He is bright, thoughtful, focused, still the problem solver he was when in iMedia, working in a career he is passionate about, always learning and, without question, missed.
Chris Kirkham, a 2012 iMedia graduate, is one of a handful of former iMedia students who moved to the west coast to begin his post-iMedia career.
Chris is working for a small design house, Analog Creative. He is an Interactive Developer and his responsibilities include turning the designers’ work into a functional application, website, or Flash project.
Chris explained to me why he chose iMedia.
“The reason I chose the iMedia program was that Elon is one of, maybe, three schools in the US that offered a curriculum based in interactive or new media, which was the field I wanted to pursue academically and professionally. I researched the program from the first year it started and ultimately decided that Elon was truly ahead of the game. As Wayne Gretzky said, ‘You don’t want to be where the puck is, you want to be where the puck is going.’
I graduated with a degree in journalism about the time that the newspaper industry put a gun in its mouth and broadcast networks all became video tabloids. I started working in online marketing, but I my heart wasn’t in it. I could see that the direction of both journalism and the communication industry as a whole was shifting to the web, so I decided to shift my focus to that. I believe that being an effective storyteller now requires the ability to produce interactive elements with which your audience can engage and participate.”
I need to point out while Chris was a student here last year he had lots of advice to dole out to anyone who would listen. And listen we did. Chris’s energy and entertaining manor is missed but, happily, he continues to give advice.
” The advice I have for iMedia students is to pick a city and an industry- specifically where you want to live and what industry you want to be working in. Do that early. That takes care of 80% of the job hunting. All you need after that is to find a job that you’re qualified for. This seriously would’ve saved me dozens of hours I spent spinning my wheels. Another, probably more important, piece of advice is to be nice to each other and help each other out. Teach each other hat your strengths are and you’ll find that your classmates will network for you. I have my job because one of my classmates interviewed here first and decided it wasn’t for her. But she knew my interests and expertise and recommended me for the position.
“For those considering iMedia, I have this to say: It goes fast. You’ll never do more in a shorter amount of time. I’d recommend this program to anyone who knows where they’re going after this. You’ll get cutting-edge training, a massive network and contribute enough academia to pursue a Ph.D. if that’s in the works for you. If you’re not sure what you’re going to use an Interactive Media degree for, this program is going to go way too fast and you’ll be back at square one before you know it.”