Brandon is currently pursuing a Masters in Interactive Media at Elon University. He graduated in 2010 from NC State University with a B.S. in Technology Education. During his time at N.C. State, Brandon took multiple graphic communications classes that led to a passion for design. Since graduation, Brandon has been teaching at Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill. His classes have focused on introducing 6th-8th grade students to both engineering and design principles. In addition, Brandon has also taught 3D game design at Youth Digital Studios, a summer camp for students between the ages of 8-14. He is looking forward to expanding his skill set in web design, graphic design and multimedia storytelling.
There is a constant buzz going around the second floor of the Powell building. Plans for Winter Fly-ins are starting to get underway. No one is really sure about any actual details or what to expect. Where will we go? Who will we go with? What project will we be working on? These are just a few of the plethora of questions that are going through the minds of students. For those of you that are not familiar with this amazing opportunity for iMedia students, let me explain.
iMedia students Winter term consists of flying to an international destination to work on a project for the common good. Students are placed into teams that are sent to work with an organization or group that can benefit from our digital skills. We work with these groups to provide them with digital media such as audio, video, and web content. The majority of these projects focus on building community recognition, increasing volunteer efforts and boosting fundraising. Previous trips, just to name a few, have ventured to Costa Rica, Cuba, Iceland, and the Dominican Republic. If you look at past projects, like last years Finca La Esperanza or Restore Old Havana Initiative, you can see the power that interactive media can give to these causes.
Last week, we had to fill out a rating sheet for our iMedia skills. These skills will determine the groups that we are placed in to provide the best range of talents for each trip. This will also allow students to focus on their talents while also building new ones. Later this week, we will find out our group mates and where we will be going.
This years trips explore the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. One of these groups will be going to the DR. The intent will be to help a group of women who use natural resources and recycled materials to produce products. These products are culturally based and include things such as handbags. The main outcome for this group will be to build an online presence to sell their merchandise and teach the women basic computer skills to maintain and update the site.
I find this as a great way to help progress our talents in a real world scenario that benefits all that are involved. Wherever we are placed, I know that we will all be excited when January rolls around so we can get started on our assignments. The opportunity to use our skills in a beneficial way is something that that really made this program stand out to me. I’m glad that I will now get to be a part of it.
In all of this chaos, I am slowly starting to realize how far we have come since we all met each other a few weeks ago. Coming from many different backgrounds, we are now on our way to becoming competent in many different areas of multimedia. Many of us have already started thinking about our future after the program. We all wonder what jobs will come our way this time next year. None of us are sure what our future holds, except for all of the late nights spent working on projects.
The variety of different jobs that iMedia alumni currently have is staggering. This list is not just limited to a few job titles, but a wide range of titles from UX designer, multimedia coordinator to project manager. It seems as though we are being prepared to enter an exciting industry where every student will be able to find a job doing something we are passionate about. The iMedia program is teaching us how to become extremely marketable once we graduate. The extremely high rate of employment (92% within four months of graduation) from previous classes is a testament to this.
I decided to reach out to a few alumni to see how the iMedia program helped them market themselves to prospective employers. Carolyn Frazier, a Senior Project Manager at Smashing Boxes and an iMedia ’11 alum explained, “The [iMedia] program taught me enough to get started and then let me learn on my own in a structured way. I got to build a website for an actual client from the ground up – design, content planning, development, and even some video production.” These are many of the skills that our future employers will be looking for us to possess.
Carolyn also added, “That experience really prepared me for working in an agency setting after graduation.” This is a great testament to how the iMedia program can jumpstart an amazing career in the creative industry. I am extremely excited to see our skill set continue to grow over the next few months. Each of these skills we learn continue to lead us towards something great. We are setting ourselves up for multiple employment opportunities after graduation, and I cannot wait to see what future jobs we will hold.