A Moment of Reflection: What I Have Gained From iMedia

For the 2018 iMedia class, graduation is less than two months away (crazy, I know). This past school year has come with a lot of excitement and adventure, to say the least. As the iMedia class takes a breather from our studies with a week-long spring break, we finally have a chance to step back and marvel at the work we have accomplished over the past eight months. After learning new things and taking on big projects, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel…but before we move on to the next chapter of our lives, it is important that we relish our accomplishments from the past year.

This past year has opened doors and planted seeds of new beginnings for many iMedia students. What we have learned and accomplished here should be noted and celebrated. I have witnessed the substantial growth of my classmates as they work tirelessly in and out of the classroom. There is nothing in our work that should be taken for granted. Every small win has built the confident and thriving class we are today.

I have compiled a list of my own accomplishments and gains from this past year, and have found it to be extremely helpful in my own self-revelation. Looking at this list, I know for sure that my time here at Elon was well spent. The long nights in the editing bays, the hours spent sketching and wireframing, and even the small frustrations and hang-ups – they were all worth it in comparison to the growth I have gained as a professional, and as an individual. Below are what I believe to be the top six skills that I acquired through my time in the iMedia program:

  1. Strong Technical Skills in Adobe Editing Software

Every day in class we worked with editing software that varied from video work, audio and even app-development. Our skills to edit and create digital content has grown substantially over the past year. For example, I blossomed from having intermediate skills with Microsoft PowerPoint to having professional knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud software.

  1. Real World Experience

One of the most exciting moments of the iMedia Program was our fly-in experience in January where we complete a project for a real client in a foreign country. For one week, we were all knee-deep in a culture that was different from our own while servicing a non-profit organization. We all got a taste of what it means to work professionally with a team on a real project – and that’s awesome.

  1. The Ability to Adapt – Quickly

Being fully immersed in different editing software and programming languages for 10 months requires that one be flexible and ready to learn – quickly. The fear of trying something new has broken away from us. Now, we are no strangers to jumping in head-first.

  1. Theories to Inform Content Creation Strategy

Not only can we create beautiful designs and layouts, WE CAN EXPLAIN WHY THEY WORK. The ability to articulate why our work matters and how it impacts the final product is crucial. Our creativity has been paired with a soundboard of knowledge to help us make informed decisions in our design process.  

  1. A Strong Network of Professionals and Resources

As a university, Elon is known for its valuable network of alumni and career services. But the iMedia family runs deep. Many of my classmates, myself included, have already made several connections with iMedia alumni this year. Some alumni have visited our classes and given us a wealth of knowledge on how to improve our work. Being a part of the iMedia family is like a badge of honor – we are supplied with tools and connections that have helped us substantially in our projects and job search.

  1. Memories and Friendships

This is a big one for me. I have had the time of my life while working with my classmates. We have shared so many laughs and memories. Some I hope to never forget. This year was a time of growth for all of us and we did so with humility and respect for each other. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some phenomenal people.

I believe many of my classmates would agree with the things I have listed here. As a testament to their hard work and dedication – all of my classmates have gained a plethora new skills and abilities through the iMedia program. We each have collected a wealth of knowledge and materials that are sure to be beneficial for our next steps of life. Let’s carry this reflection with us and use it to fuel our final push to graduation!

Reflection

“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”  — John Dewey

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An Ode to the Second Floor of Powell

As the end of the semester approaches, there is a lot of talk of plans for after graduation. For the students, this includes potential jobs, where we will be relocating, and other stressful yet exciting topics. In addition to all of this future planning, it has also come to my attention that our professors will also be relocating to a new building and a new floor that will be the home of the iMedia program. There is talk of what will be left, what will be taken, and when the move will happen. Throughout all of this, I haven’t been thinking much about it, but lately I have been reminiscing on my time in Powell. Maybe it’s the stress or maybe it’s the looming thought of leaving in less than two months. Whatever the reason, I’d like to give some insight on what next year’s students will be missing, as well as what I will miss about Powell. I’d also like a little help from The Office, because The Office was an amazing show and the way we feel about our floor is the way they felt about their office space.

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The second floor of Powell has become a home for all iMedia students. We spend countless hours here, both during classes as well as into the wee hours of the night and morning. We have almost become too comfortable here; often lying on the floor, running around, and just being silly without feeling out of place. We hang out in the lounge, take over the editing bays, and make the entire hallway our own.

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The lounge has been a meeting place for everyone, where we often eat lunch and hang out. We get to spend a lot of time here between classes and it’s almost like a home base of the hallway. We have also made sure to fully caffeinate ourselves with three different coffee machines and a tea kettle taking up most of the free counter space in the lounge.

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The view from Powell is also an incredible thing I will miss. We have a perfect view of the fountain and the space in front of Alamance Building. A lot of action happens here, which can give us a fun break from our work. The Christmas lighting was a great tradition that we got to watch first hand, which brought us into the culture of Elon. I am very happy we got to have such a relaxing view right outside of our building. It’s like we got the golden ticket of views.

 

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We also had a few parties in the hallway, which made it feel even more like a home and gave us some down time to have fun. From Pumpkin Painting to Secret Santa, we had our share of good times that I won’t soon forget.

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We have claimed the hallway as our own, as I’m sure every class does, and I hope every class after us will do. While the iMedia program will be moving next year, the excitement and passion that the students bring will remain as will the encouragement and guidance of the professors. I will miss my time spent in Powell, and can’t wait to come visit the next classes and see what they have down with their new hallway.

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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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Meet Our #iMedia17 Bloggers

It’s nearly a month into the fall semester and students in Elon’s eighth Interactive Media class are well on their way to discovering all the program has to offer. And just as in previous years, they want to share their details about their journey with you here on the Eye on iMedia blog.

As you can imagine, the 10 months in iMedia go fast and a lot can (and does) happens. From alumni visits and class projects to winter flyins and career exploration, the year will be full of amazing experiences and we look forward to bringing conversations about those things to the blog. In case you’re wondering which students you’ll be hearing from, check out the bios below – but don’t be surprised if a few other post from time to time.

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Ashley Anderson

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Marquita Brown

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Katie Carpenter

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Ginny Merrill

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Beth Pandone

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Kristen Rivera

 

 

 

For more information about this year’s bloggers and the entire #iMedia17 class, visit the “Meet the Class” page.

Along with the students’ reflections, you’ll read posts from staff. Maggie Mullikin, Coordinator of Graduate Outreach & Special Programs, will discuss happenings and careers with iMedia alumni; Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, Communications, will discuss career development; and Tarah Holland, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions (that’s me), will discuss a variety of topics related to iMedia admissions. We may also have a few guests posts additional staff throughout the year.

Please subscribe to the Eye on iMedia blog to stay up to date on #iMedia17 this year.

For more about the iMedia program, visit elon.edu/imedia.