My Mid-Semester Resolutions

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Miramar Beach, Florida

As I’m writing this post, I’m looking out the window at a big patch of green grass, sunny skies, and a clock that’s waiting to tell me in an hour that I’ve earned some beach time. Spring break introduces a challenge to prioritization. On one hand, studies show that taking a vacation (or a break in general) is good for your health. It not only clears your mind to improve your focus when you get back to work, but it also improves your heart health. On the other hand, I made a to-do list of about a million things I should really get done over the break to prevent my workload from being overwhelming next week, and getting all of them done means there won’t be much of a break at all.

As someone who likes to plan ahead, it can be hard to tune out stressors. At this point in the program, there seems to be a lot of stress about finding a job, finishing our projects, and keeping it all together. I decided I would take this break to reflect on what I want my last two months (!!) in the program to look like, and come up with some resolutions to make that happen.

  1. I will embrace everything I have learned about myself and media production in the program. For our fly-in, I served as the Project Manager of the Costa Rica team. The task was very challenging, but I came out of the experience feeling more prepared for real-world experience than I did upon entering the program. It instilled confidence in me that I can handle any challenge that comes my way. In addition to that, I have improved my video editing skills and my knowledge of using DSLRs for videography. I can code a site that doesn’t look like it was made in 1995! I’m still learning every day.
  2. I will focus on my time left in iMedia – not wish it away in favor of getting a job. One of the biggest appeals of this program is how marketable we can become to employers. Elon University provides so many networking and career-building opportunities for us to find our dream jobs. A good portion of our class is made up of students who came straight from undergrad, and that means -for most of us, anyway- that we don’t know exactly what that dream job looks like. There is so much room for trial and error in our job search and in the jobs we take as we figure out what that dream job really entails. My biggest resolution is to focus on what I can still learn over the next few months. That includes editing a short comedy film for Advanced Video Production, mastering Cinema 4D, and learning the Bootstrap framework. I want to dedicate my time to those things- even if it means putting the job hunt aside for now.
  3. That being said, I will still utilize the services offered at Elon. Amber McCraw compiled a fabulous list of tasks to prep for our job search as iMedia students. I will commit to completing most of these tasks before I graduate… after I finish my homework!
  4. I will express gratitude to everyone who has helped me get through this whirlwind of a year. We could not have gotten this far without the support of the iMedia faculty, staff, and our friends and family. I am declaring on the internet in all its permanence that I will write some thank you notes and emails to the people who have supported me on this endeavor. It’s such an easy way to spread positivity and brighten someone’s day, including your own!
  5. I will take that break! For now that means walking on a white sandy beach, but for the next two months I will rest my eyes for a few minutes after editing for hours or walk to Moseley and back between classes. I only have a couple of months left to enjoy our beautiful campus and I can’t let that time pass me by!

What are your mid-semester resolutions?

 

Dream Job

I recently traveled to San Francisco for a conference and was able to make time to visit iMedia alumnus, Nick Margherita. Nick is video producer at CBS Interactive creating video content for the gaming-focused website GameSpot.  http://www.gamespot.com

Nick, joyfully, told me all about his job, how he landed it, and its correlation to his Interactive Media Master’s degree from Elon.

“As a video producer, I primarily write and edit entertainment content for GameSpot.com and GameSpot’s multiple social media outlets. These videos include things like gameplay clips, op/ed features, and extensive reviews. Aside from writing and editing, I also host live streams and roundtable chats discussing the latest video games and television shows.

“When I was preparing to graduate from iMedia, my dream was to work at ESPN. I felt that this combination of video production and sports would fulfill both my personal interests and professional aspirations. So with the help of Elon’s vast communications network I was able to get my foot in the door at ESPN as a production assistant. But within my first month at ESPN, I realized that live television production is vastly different from the videos we were producing in iMedia. I often felt that my creativity was being limited, and although it was an extremely hard decision to make, I decided to leave the company and television production in general.

“When I made the decision to move to San Francisco, I did not have a job but what I did have was the confidence in my iMedia master’s education and degree.

“Still, landing a job in SF was not as easy as I’d expected. I spent about three months couch-hopping around the city freelance editing for various tech start-ups. After struggling to find consistent freelance opportunities, I decided to join a creative agency to offer my skills to a more widespread clientele. Fortunately, when the agency learned that I had earned my master’s degree in Interactive Media and was well-versed in multiple skill sets aside from just video production, my resume rose to the top of their list. Within a few weeks I’d received an offer to be a full-time video producer at CBS Interactive.

The people I work with are by far the best part of my job. It’s a group of creative individuals who are super passionate about games, television and movies both in and outside of work. I can confidently say that I am excited to get up each and every morning to work with some of the gaming industry’s most respected and brightest writers and producers. And obviously having the opportunity to create content that I am interested in is a major plus and makes work feel a little less like work.”

Nick’s advice for people considering iMedia,

“Whether you are a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, if you are unsure of what career path you are passionate about and communications and media interest you, then iMedia is the perfect solution. When my undergraduate education came to a close I was still unsure of what exactly I wanted to pursue within the realm of communications. iMedia not only guided me in my journey to discover my interest in video but it also gave me the tangible skills necessary to succeed in the professional production world. Both the program itself and its faculty and staff changed my life in an incredible way, and I owe much of my success to iMedia.”

And naturally, words of advice to our current class,

“It sounds cliché, but don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes; everything happens for a reason. When I first left ESPN, moved to San Francisco, and was jobless for three months, I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. But now, nearly a year later, I couldn’t be happier with my past decisions. I honestly feel that I am a stronger individual because of the lessons I learned from those “mistakes.” The real world can be overwhelming sometimes and not go the way you plan. But if you work hard, focus on your goals, and have a positive attitude, then you can land your dream job. Or maybe even discover your dream like I did.

“In short, cherish your time at Elon with your classmates and professors, as I miss the campus and its people everyday! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences, and best of luck to both current and future iMedia students!”

Information about CBS Interactive: CBS Interactive is made up of multiple online brands that include: CBS News, CNET, CBS Sports, GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Metacritic, Last.fm, etc. GameSpot provides news, reviews, and other information on video games, entertainment, and other fun aspects of “geek” culture. 

 

Thanks Nick….

 

 

Demand for iMedia Skills Continues to Grow

You’ve probably started to notice the shift. #iMedia17 has shared details about projects, offered insight about class assignments, and now, students are preparing for the end of their 10-month graduate school journeys. With just a little more than two months left before graduation, the job search is on and the pace for life after iMedia will be soon be set for these budding professionals.

And there’s a lot to look forward to. A quick internet search sheds light on how much digital and creative skills are in demand in a wide range of industries. Look further and you’ll learn more about the benefits of working in digital careers, key skills needed and the most sought-after job titles.

With help from CNNMoney and Payscale, let’s take a peek at a few iMedia-friendly positions and the job outlook of each. In the Best Jobs in American 2017 list, these sources highlight the “top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” Here are 10 jobs from the list that are popular among iMedia graduates.

               JOB  MEDIAN PAY 10-YEAR JOB GROWTH
#1 – Mobile Applications Developer $97,100 19%
#14 – Webmaster $61,200 27%
#26 – Community Relations Manager $63,600 10%
#30 – Brand Manager $89,800 9%
#42 – Social Media Manager  $57,400 9%
#47 – Front End Developer/Engineer $81,000 27%
#56 – Videographer $49,600 12%
#57 – User Interface Designer $73,800  27%
#68 – Content Strategist $84,400 19%
#99 – User Experience Designer $85,900 13%

Visit CNNMoney for the complete list. For more about the Elon M.A. in Interactive Media program, visit elon.edu/imedia.

 

Sunny, with a Chance of Employment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the weather.  Last week, parts of New Hampshire acquired about two feet of snow.  Temperatures hovered around eight degrees.

My mom was pulling out battery operated lamps and preparing food for a power outage.  My dad was bundled in several layers of clothing with his “Nook of the North” hat nestled safely over his ears, pushing a 200-pound snow blower back and forth.  img_9984While my parents desperately tried to alleviate Mother Nature’s damage, I was hiking across a soft bed of pine needles with my foster dog, Raina, panting at the end of her leash.  Clad in only a tank top and shorts, I was enjoying the 78-degree day here in North Carolina.  The contrast of distance and weather felt like a direct correlation to the contrast of time and opportunity.  Although I joked with my parents about our vastly different agendas, it sparked a few realizations, some even deeper than the fluffy snowdrifts back home.

Last year, I was trudging through the inevitable end of my undergraduate career; I felt weighted by the pressure to succeed in the coming months.  I was scared that I had not yet reached my full potential as a student; I was terrified of being buried in debt and being left too far under to ever accomplish my dreams.

Although the thought of stuffing all of my belongings into my 16-year-old minivan was intimidating, the challenge to finish my education was one I thought was worth it, and one I was willing to accept.  Now, I recognize the stark difference that just a year can make.  When I made the move from New Hampshire to North Carolina, I not only left behind the unfriendly weather, I left behind uncertainty.  Now, my horizon is bright with more than just sun; it is bright with possibility.

Elon’s iMedia program has provided opportunities beyond belief.  I have discovered that I am stronger than I ever knew; my breaking point is now nearly impossible to reach (with a coffee in hand, of course).  img_9947
Through a few months of intense study of theory, user experience, content management, videography, web coding, graphic design, and photography, I have absorbed more knowledge than I did in four years.  I developed a passion for photography, and I met many like-minded individuals, developing friendships that I will continue to cherish many years from now.  I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to Reykjavík, Iceland, assisting Frumbjörg, a social innovation center, with the production of their first 24-Hour Innovation Day.  Two weeks later, I was able to help present the final project at Elon.

This semester, I will finish my journey by learning more about digital branding, multimedia storytelling, and media economics.  My capstone project provides me with the ability to unite my passion for canine rescue with the strengths I have developed in this program.  3w9a9920When I walk up to receive my diploma in May, I will have completed an entirely self-driven project that reflects both my technical skill and my ethical concerns.  I have grown beyond comparison, and I am still amazed that in just seven months, iMedia has provided me with such a powerful desire to immerse myself in this world.  I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me, but I think that it’s safe to say it is sunny, with a chance of employment.

A Measure of iMedia Alumni Success

Deciding whether or not to go to graduate school can be a daunting task.

Your finances, the need to relocate, discipline and academic stamina are important factors that you may be wrestling with. Just as critical is considering the post-graduate career prospects for the program you’re considering.

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Interactive Media graduate Erin Turner ’15 G’16 works as assistant social media editor at Essence Magazine. 

Lucky for you, if you’re looking to earn a M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon, you’ll have a chance to join an impressive list of alumni with exciting careers in both the public and private sectors, throughout the country and abroad.

Since the iMedia program launched in 2009, there have been 257 graduates. Of those graduates, 97 percent are currently employed for such companies as Amazon Web Services, Razorfish, ESPN, Essence Magazine, Automattic, NASCAR, CBS Interactive, Dribble, the Smithsonian, Microsoft, IBM, and the Dallas Morning News – just to name a few.

Among dozens of job titles, iMedia alumni serve as web developers, UX designers, digital strategists, multimedia producers, social media managers and many other highly-skilled roles. Furthermore, these careers most often boast competitive salaries and advancement opportunities.

But these are just a few details about the success of iMedia graduates.

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Employed at Automattic, Interactive Media graduate David Kennedy G’10 develops WordPress themes under the title “theminator.”

If you’ve been thinking about applying to Elon’s Interactive Media program, but can’t make it to a campus visit, join us for our first virtual information session at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, via WebEx.

Click here to register for the event.

We’ll be sharing details about this innovative and accelerated, 10-month master’s degree program, including courses, admissions requirements, alumni success and more. We’ll also introduce you one of our professors, who will offer insight into students’ hands-on experiences in classes, work with real-world clients and the program’s state-of-the-art facilities.

For those who attend this virtual information session, we’ll waive the $50 application fee when you apply.

For more information about the iMedia program or admissions questions, please call me, Tarah Holland, at 336-278-7683 or email tholland@elon.edu.

Time To Brag About It

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

At this point, our iMedia students are several months into a 10-month intensive program.  And, while it feels like they just started, it is already time to start thinking about life after iMedia – I know, hard to believe right?

You’ve been reading posts about all of the great things the students are learning, the skills they are gaining, and the experiences they have been and will be privy to. A couple weeks ago, there was a post about the draft for Fly-ins.  Along with all of the other experiences the students are gaining, this is an incredible and unique opportunity for students to participate in and expand on their skills.

While our students are gaining these experiences, it is important for them to remember that now is the time to start bragging about them.  What I mean is this: these are the experiences and skills that they should be promoting on a resume, their LinkedIn, and their website/ePortfolio. I want to focus on the ePortfolio because this is the most time-consuming piece. Often times, I will recommend a student use a platform such as Weebly, Wix, or WordPress to create their ePortfolio, but our iMedia students are learning to code, so they have the skills to create their own, which is a little more time-consuming. Below are some tips to keep in mind when creating an ePortfolio.

  • Choose a website name
  • Each section should be its own page (Resume, Contact, About Me) and I recommend labeling pages based on skill (i.e. Writing, Design, Photography, etc)
  • Build a site map to organize your content
  • Get prior approval for client work
  • Provide context for the work you include
  • Make sure your ePortfolio promotes your career goals and matches your profession
  • Choose your best work that aligns with the skills you want to promote
  • Keep it simple and easy to navigate
  • Embed videos to keep visitors from having to navigate away from your page
  • Let your personality shine through

In today’s market, employers expect candidates to have ePortfolios.  While a resume can tell an employer what you can do, an ePortfolio shows them what you can do.  For our students, who are creating so many visual pieces, this is pertinent for their job search.  It also provides a way for people to contact them for freelance or contract work as well.

If you haven’t started creating your ePortfolio, no worries! You’ve got plenty of time.  Start thinking about the things you want to include, such as your Capstone project and work from your Fly-ins.  Then, make an appointment with me to get feedback and advice as you start creating your tool kit (ePortfolio, Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn).

Happy Learning & Creating!

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

by maggie mullikin

Jenna Wagner, a 2011 Interactive Media graduate returned to Elon to speak with the new class – the class of 2017. Jenna was a wealth of information regarding her personal experiences as an iMedia student, the career path she has been on since graduating, and her detailed explanation of specific roles she has taken on with her new job. Jenna is currently the Public Relations & Marketing Director for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

Upon graduation from JMU, Jenna attended Elon University’s Interactive Media Master’s program in Elon, NC. Focusing on further honing her skills and determining her career path. With guidance from her mentors, she landed in Charlotte, NC pursuing a career in motorsports, one of her greatest passions. After working in the industry as a graphic designer, project manager and digital marketer, Jenna returned home to Virginia to learn more about non-profit, government and ultimately develop her home region of Southwest Virginia. https://www.myswva.org/

Jenna spends her days on relationship marketing and promoting Southwest Virginia as a tourism destination. This includes graphic design, social media marketing, website development and event management.

After Jenna spoke about her present title she then listed, “what else I do.”

Marketing strategy | Social media strategy & execution | Focus groups | Relationship building and marketing | Website development | Content generation (photos, videos, etc.) | Graphic design | Budgeting | Grant writing | Storytelling | Asset Management | Event management & promotion | Merchandise | Database management |

Jenna’s enthusiasm was contagious. Her advice and reflections could not have been more clear. The hard work today will pay off tomorrow.