IMX, Capstone and Graduation: AHH!

Oh my god. It’s finally here.

We’re all scrambling like mad to put final touches on our capstone projects – graduation might only be a few hours away, but like this program, we have to focus on the here and now, and that’s capstone. Months of work, lots of ideas and of course, revising and refining those ideas, went into each one of these projects.

Today is IMX, our program’s exhibition of student capstone work. We finally get to show our projects — to our friends and family, but also to our professors, related faculty and each other. One of the cool things about IMX is that us students are in charge of the whole thing. We pick our groups – PR/Advocacy, Space, Event Management, Web, Reel, Social Media, Advertising, Project Management – and then we go off and work to pull it off. We curate the guest list, design the posters, mail out the invitations, code the website, film an introductory video, plan a communications strategy, and organize the layout of the projects. IMX underscores the iMedia program — multifaceted, hands-on, and wide-ranging. Our capstone projects follow this approach.

Several students designed interactive iPad magazines. Nita Wrenn plans to launch hers, Zoo Babies, this summer through Apple’s Newsstand app. Zoo Babies focuses on one zoo animal family – this time it’s monkeys – and offers videos, articles, slide shows  and other information based around the family. Beautifully designed, Nita’s project looks like it can be the prototype for many other interactive tablet stories.

Ruth Eckles created Piedmont, an interactive magazine that focuses on the things that make this region of North Carolina special, with this issue concentrating on edible wild plants. She interviewed locals in Alamance County with ties to horticulture. Cory Watson’s iPad magazine is titled Always Ready, which attempts to tell the story of North Carolina’s National Guard. Like Eckles and Wrenn, Watson visited with members of the Guard and captured photos, audio and video to tell the organization’s story.

Some students preferred to tell an organization’s story through a website. Dioni Wise used WordPress to build a website for the Greensboro chapter of Sisters Network, which is an organization for black women who are breast cancer survivors. Dioni followed a strategy recommended by many of our professors in using common themes in her work through the year. For her final storytelling project, Dioni did a microsite and a video interview with one survivor, Jill, and she did a case analysis for management on breast cancer support organizations, and two infographics – one interactive – for design class last semester.

Kelsey Sullivan’s work is similar in execution. The resident equinofile focused most of her projects all year on horses, and she was the first one in our class to know what her capstone project was going to be – an interactive website that aggregates all of the state’s horse-related nonprofits. Kelsey had a vision way back in October that she never wavered from, and she’s spent the past eight months driving all over the state to capture the passion horse lovers share.

Renee Robinson has also spent much of her time in iMedia focusing on one of her passions – music. Her capstone, Simply Vibes, is meant to capture a small fraction of the conversation on why people love music so. Simply Vibes has a strong social component, too, integrating Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (Renee’s fave). Her idea was inspired by an assignment in design class last semester, Conversations on Design, where designers spoke in short segments on what design meant to them. Renee’s passion and diligence led two major music groups of which she’s a huge fan – Portugal.The.Man and Bassnectar – to participate. We can still here Renee’s squeals when she found out.

Iris Maslow has spent the past five years living in Raleigh, and her passion for the city is reflected in her capstone project, an interactive map of the city. In her project, she aggregates social media feeds about locations in the city, so that users can really get a sense of what’s interesting about the place.

Anna Davis might have the most interesting and nontraditional capstone project. Using the open-source coding language Python and the single-board computer Raspberry Pi, she built Share Booth, a photo booth where pictures are sent automatically to Facebook. Inspired by experience-driven social media marketing, Anna’s Share Booth will be live at IMX and will likely be one of the highlights of the event.

Another anticipated capstone is Will Neff’s “Green,” an interactive film he shot partially when he was in Las Vegas over Spring Break.  Told completely through the second person, the viewer becomes the protagonist. Every decision the viewer makes affects the plot, which has anti-drug themes set against a heist.

Other capstones of note include Benjamin Robinson’s take on his alma mater’s bookstore, Audra Macri’s redesign for the Wheeling National Heritage Area website, Marshall Beringer’s database for video games, Alan Buck’s website and business plan for his own media consulting business, Southwood Media, and Ashley Deese’s The Science of Nature Presents, an interactive website featuring interviews and educational content based around her undergraduate research on melatonin, a naturally occurring compound that affects sleep.

We’re all excited to see the work that everyone has done, especially because so many followed personal passions and learned new tools in the process. IMX truly shows the diversity of the program and its inhabitants, as every year the exhibition continues to blow minds, even our own.

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