31 Jul 2014

All posts from 31 Jul 2014

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CommLeader Spotlight|Cynthia Andrews, Cohort 13

10850228_898612113512407_870513725325968372_nGraduation date or expected graduation date: Summer 2015 baby!

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general)

My current interests are in data analysis, data visualization, programming, design – and multimedia storytelling. I am especially interested in the intersection of storytelling and data.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I have a background in community/social media management but the data spirits have got me now and I’m working my way into that [the data] space.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

One of the most valuable skills I have gained during my time in this program is the ability to iterate with ease. Being able to learn from and quickly move past failure allows me to more quickly succeed. The iterative process is something I use every day and by framing it as a positive learning experience, I am able to find new, potentially unknown solutions.

If at first you don’t succeed, try over and over again until you do… and don’t worry, you will!

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Scheduling has always been easy. Since most classes are offered in the evening, making it to class on time has never been a problem. I’ve both worked while attending school part-time and spent time away from the professional world as a full-time student and I’ve found that no matter the balance, what it’s really all about is time management.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

I would have to say that Anita’s Leadership class had the most profound effect on me. By giving her students creative freedom, she allowed individuals to tailor the class to their professional paths/personal interests.  It was in her class that I figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

First Fridays have always been a favorite for me. In addition to providing awesome networking opportunities with a variety of different local companies/orgs, First Fridays also give students the chance to connect outside of class. Also, there are usually snacks… and wine.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I want to challenge the idea that data is boring and show people that it can in fact, be beautiful.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I am loving that there has been a spike in data-based/data-integrated digital storytelling. Seeing people leverage data to tell/strengthen their stories puts a big stupid smile on my face.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Crickets. I was at a restaurant that had ‘em so I ordered ‘em, it was sort of similar to eating sunflower seed shells.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Cynthia Andrews, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Paul Rees, Cohort 13

10683691_838533252853627_2040298883884968274_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: Fall 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

Digital Communications Strategy

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I have worked in various small businesses and non-profits where I was responsible for marketing and content creation. Currently, I manage marketing and digital communications for a software company in Seattle. My goal is to continue to learn how to help companies grow through organizational storytelling that connects with target audiences and meets business goals.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

I am constantly applying lectures and class discussions to my daily responsibilities at work. The final project in my very first Comm Lead class was repurposed into a blog post for my company that we now send to new customers. The content of my classes has been timely and relevant to what businesses are talking about, which has positioned me as a strong contributor to these discussions.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Taking classes part-time, while working full-time seems to be just the right balance to feel productive at work and challenged by grad school. Work happens from 9-5 and schoolwork is done on weekends and nights—sometimes late nights. It’s a lot of work, no question. But it’s the type of work you are motivated to do more of.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

I am fairly early in my course map right now, but I would say the two foundations classes in the Fall and Winter quarters had the most impact on me personally. They both emphasized areas for us to ‘up our game’ and approach challenges differently throughout the rest of the program and our careers. The supportive community that we built during those two first classes was really empowering.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Aside from the typical experiences you would expect from the program (great classes, challenging peers, intelligent professors), some of the best experiences so far have been the Comm Lead conference takeovers (like SIC or INNW). I’d show up to these events alone, but immediately find groups of familiar faces and people from the program I was excited to talk to. Being new to Seattle, this was a big deal.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I want to lead innovative digital strategy campaigns that break rules and achieve unprecedented results.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’ve been reading a lot about how businesses and startups have been finding success by rejecting traditional rules of building a business. There is definitely a place for tried and true methods and frameworks, but it’s really interesting to read how entrepreneurs are being successful using digital tools to break some of those rules.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I feel like the answer to this question needs to be octopus. But I’ve never had octopus, so I’m not sure what the answer is.

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CommLeader Spotlight|Paul Rees, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Edward Chang, Cohort 12

10662060_854458844594401_7991201488493897829_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: June 2014

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

Coming from a web programming background, all the subjects I’ve taken here were new to me. Overall I’d say I’m more interested in the vast variety of communication between humans and digital world.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

My background was a full stack web developer, who also served as the direct contact for clients. I would like to gain more industrial experience in the digital world before pursuing my professional goal in a doctorate degree. In the future, I want to pass down my experience and knowledge from the field through teaching, or lead teams in corporations.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

I started to observe and scrutinize the digital media platforms I came across and thinking about their good and bad parts: does it tells a story? Does it catch the user’s eye? Does it convey its objective? How does it fulfill our human needs? This is especially the case when using mobile devices, where I appreciate the efforts put into making good design and content.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I began as a full-time student during the first year and became a part-time student in the second year. The workload in the second year was actually heavier than the first year because I chose courses that brought a greater challenge to expand my capacity.

Advice to students who come from different cultural backgrounds, particularly those that come from a society that emphasizes obedience: the first year could be intimidating at first, but it’s a great time to get familiarized with how the classroom system works. Speak up, talk to people, and try to express your opinion no matter right or wrong. They won’t bite you.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Multimedia Storytelling and Organizational Storytelling: The power of storytelling! If it wasn’t for these courses, I probably would have never realized that the great stories we see and hear are meticulously tailored by implementing rigorous methods and patterns. A good story first draws the audience’s attention, takes them on a journey, and leaves a piece of mind for the audience to ruminate on. In real life, we build a scenario when we propose an idea to a client, we tell real stories in professional case studies, and we glorify our stories in job interviews. People are hungry for stories, and the power of stories has been the vehicle to help us understand and remember things for generations. Therefore I’d like to try to integrate the storytelling technique when I’m explaining abstruse or obscure concepts to a layperson or a young mind in the future.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

First Friday, a monthly event organized by the Comm Lead program, usually held in a Seattle digital media related agency. It’s a great time to meet and exchange information within the Comm Lead community and the staff of that agency. It’s also an opportunity to let you explore the working environment and get a peek at what they are working on and what’s new in digital media.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

My ultimate career goal would be to lead a world-changing, digital media platform’s full life cycle, from start to deployment, and oversee its evolution. Ambitious, but not impossible.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

The Internet is already enriched with various communities that are built around existing common interests, just like in real life. We used to think these networks merely connect the channel between each individual and like-minded people. While this is true, some analysis has shown that social media platforms are serving as an extension of personal identity online, and that within the community people strive to become a “peacock” in order to stand out from the collective. The “Me” factor has become a prominent component in the digital world. In fact, Facebook and Instagram are successful platforms that act as a runway to showcase people’s feathers. Could this “Me” become the trend and key formula to build the next successful brand?

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Fried bee larvae, when I was little, touring with my parents on Taiwan’s Li-Shan (Pear Mountain).

It’s crunchy, tasty, and infused with aromatic flavor from sprinkled fried basil. While it looks like a body part from the Michelin Man, popping those orzo-shape things into your mouth was an experience I never had before and the taste and texture is so addictive. Until somebody tells you it’s actually bee larvae and makes you realize that you were eating something resembling aliens after you’ve seen too many Will Smith movies. Then you start feeling a bit queasy and wondering, is that a mouth or an eye piece on one of its ends?

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CommLeader Spotlight|Edward Chang, Cohort 12
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CommLeader Spotlight|Andrew Mitrak, Cohort 13

10658698_886471241393161_2683089286410255723_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: Spring 2015

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I’m a filmmaker. My short documentaries and narratives have screened internationally and at local film festivals. My advertising work won a Seattle ADDY award. I’m a full-time video producer and photographer at Russell Investments, where I create brand marketing videos and imagery.
My goal is to tell better stories, and to bring these stories to audiences.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

My production partner and I are developing a marketing/production company. Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamentals course has been ridiculously useful in guiding me through this process. Rick’s course demystified business plan development, and empowered me with the tools to make this happen.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Classes and course workload force me to budget my time more wisely. The time has to come from somewhere. Sometimes, it means course readings on my bus commutes. Other times, it means I don’t sleep as much as I’d like. But I’m here because I want to be here. It’s worthwhile because it’s mentally stimulating and it’s a fun challenge. Each class is consistently a highlight of my week.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Rob Salkowitz’s Visual Narrative & Communication course had a massive impact on me, and it directly led to an amazing professional experience. I created and presented a detailed transmedia project for the course’s final deliverable. Rob responded to my project, and suggested I continue to develop it as part of an independent study over the summer. I took him up on the offer, and Rob continued to mentor me as I developed the story, characters, and universe to package it into a transmedia bible. Rob graciously offered me a ticket to San Diego Comic-Con, where he connected me with a few of his friends in the comics industry. Pretty awesome, right? Well it gets even awesomer.
One morning, I boarded a train en route to the convention. The stranger next to me noticed my Comic-Con badge, and we struck up conversation. It just so happens that this stranger is a development executive at a Hollywood studio. She told me this studio specializes in transmedia experiences. She was attending Comic-Con with her team to strike a transmedia development deal with a sci-fi author. I was thinking, “Whoa! What are the odds??”
I told her about my project, and she was intrigued. We exchanged cards and arranged a time for me to visit the studio so I could make my pitch.
I prepared a script treatment, a pitch deck, and finalized my transmedia bible. I flew down to LA last October to make my pitch. It was one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking experiences of my life.
It actually went well. No, I didn’t make a deal. But the meeting lasted over an hour. It was full of great conversation and feedback. There were moments that my pitch genuinely impressed them. I learned more about what works and what doesn’t. I made a few cool contacts. It was an insanely valuable growth experience, and I’m incredibly lucky it happened.
Now I’m more prepared for the next pitch.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Every experience with CommLeaders is a joy. The students, staff, faculty– everyone’s amazing. You’re hard-pressed to find a more talented, motivated, life-loving group.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I couldn’t tell you about my “ultimate” goal. In the words of Indiana Jones, “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go!”
My next goal is to form a production/marketing company. I’m uniquely positioned as well connected to Seattle’s amazingly talented film community, and to many Seattle-based marketers and advertisers. This company will bridge these connections to benefit all parties.
I want to create meaningful work. I want to create it with talented people that I care about.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

The democratization of everything.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I love burritos with lengua and cabeza. Stick pretty much anything in a burrito, and I’ll eat it with glee.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Andrew Mitrak, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Alex Montalvo, Cohort 13

10636408_847110091995943_1175087860255228443_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: June 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

Visual storytelling, photography, documentary production, and transmedia activism.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I’m a photographer, videographer and communications strategist. My current principal focus is in creating content for Unfinished Sentences, a UW Center for Human Rights project to support Salvadorans in their fight for justice for wartime atrocities. My professional goal is to use digital media to create positive change around important environmental and social issues. On the lighter side, I love capturing portraits of people. Creating beauty and happiness in life is my ultimate goal.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

The program has changed the way I think about the flow of information, and how people connect to that information–the technological side of communications and the emotional connection that makes storytelling successful.  This work helps foster patience, authenticity, transparency, and clarity in message and intention which have much application to daily life: patience comes in determining the timing of elements in a story or with content over a period of time; authenticity and transparency in the design of communication strategy that requires the same of business operations; and clarity and intention in our search for the most salient component of our message. I could use more of all of these in my daily life.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I’ve taken terms both as a full-time and part-time student, and I’ve found the classes to work into my schedule very well. With that said, there are pros and cons to either status: The full-time schedule is very busy, but doable, but it doesn’t leave any time to have a life outside of work and school.  The part-time schedule enables a more relaxed pace and some participation in engagements outside of school.  However, I tend to fill the remaining space up with extracurricular activities so I’m not any less busy. Then again, by participating in these more diverse activities I feel less stressed overall, so the part-time schedule provides added value. I think it all depends on how each individual prioritizes their needs for the term, and how they define their personal working style. I’ve been enjoying rotating between full-time and part-time terms. The nice thing about the program is that it provides that flexibility. Also, classes are conveniently scheduled for the evening or weekends.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

I’ve gained something from every class, but Hanson Hosein’s Networks and Narratives Anita Verna Croft’s Leadership through Story and Community, and Alex Stonehill and Sarah Stuteville’s Advanced Multimedia Storytelling have stuck with me the most.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

The display of our class final projects for Anita Verna Crofts’ Leadership through Story and Communities. I loved watching everyone’s personality and creativity come together simultaneously and physically within a shared space. As a result of our study of digital media, we often view each other’s work over some type of screen. The final project merged the physical and the digital, which resulted in a highly stimulating finale to the class.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

To create an interesting digital media campaign that results in measurable change on the ground.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

Big data, interactive documentaries, and the disruptive effects of digital media on business models.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

While leading trips as an international educator in a former professional life, a homestay mom in Thailand convinced me to eat wok-fried silk worms by repeatedly calling them “Thailand French fry.”  They actually weren’t bad. I remember thinking, “There’s no goo.”

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CommLeader Spotlight|Alex Montalvo, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Scott Wilson, Cohort 13

10620120_873603356013283_6633128998323176969_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: Fall 2016

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

I’m in the MCDM, and my interest is in the creation and distribution of digital media. Through the program, I hope to continue to grow as a storyteller and build strong networks as I champion the projects on which I work.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I tell stories from other people’s words. Sometimes, I interview someone on camera and assemble a narrative from the sound bites. Other times, I have a conversation with a subject matter expert and craft a script from the highlights. In general, my career is heavily focused on content creation, which has included not just video, but also writing and design. The common thread among all three is my interest in communicating the stories of individuals, companies and products. I enjoy seeing how all the fragments of content come together to create a solid narrative.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

Many of the concepts taught throughout the program are entrepreneurial in nature. I love working with companies to find and tell their stories, but these days, I also find myself thinking about what content I want to create for myself. The knowledge that the program imparts has spurred me to consider how my personal projects can coexist with my marketing projects throughout my career.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I won’t lie; working classes into my schedule has been a challenge. As I write this (in August 2014), I’m currently employed full time, juggling a few personal projects, and working with a few companies on the side. Students should take this program at the pace that fits their schedule. For me, that has meant taking no more than one class a quarter so I can process the learning while I juggle a number of other items. I would prefer to make this program into a marathon, not a sprint. Allowing myself a slower stride has also allowed me a bit more time to connect with the instructors and students, something I might not otherwise be able to do. My pace does have its disadvantages though – I took the Spring 2014 quarter off, and I immediately found myself missing the program. I cannot wait for the next class. 

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

I deeply appreciated Associate Director Anita Verna Croft’s “Leadership through Story and Communities” class (COM 536A), because it forced us to create our own original works of art, reflecting our professional ambitions. This was an extremely open-ended final assignment, and it was purposefully so. The students of this program have such diverse interests that each of us must take it upon ourselves to determine where we want to go and how the learning and networking will help us get there. At the end of the quarter, we had an exhibition day, in which students showcased their works. The results were amazing. My fellow students blew me away with their immense, varied creativity. Anita challenged us to step beyond our day-to-day jobs and consider seriously what we wanted to create for ourselves. 

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

I was in Portland for a video shoot in April 2014 when I opened an e-mail asking for volunteers to present at the annual Communication Leadership Screen Summit. I’ve always been timid on stage, so I closed the e-mail and tried to ignore it. But something inside kept telling me that I needed to take more risks, and so, I signed up and spent the next several weeks preparing for the Screen Summit. I was selected as one of three main-stage presenters, and on the night of the event, I stood in front of more than 100 professionals, faculty and students and delivered a presentation about the importance of authenticity in storytelling. I’ve never done anything like that before, and I was overwhelmed by the support I received before and after the event. One of the best things about the Comm Lead program is that it provides students with the means to take risks and embrace opportunities they otherwise would not. This is a highly supportive environment, and the instructors and fellow students will do whatever they can to help you on your journey. 

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I want to tell longer-form stories. The Emergence Series (www.emergence-series.com) that I started in Anita Verna Croft’s “Leadership through Story and Communities” class explores people who have found their deepest passion, and how those passions enrich and mold their lives. This has always been an area of interest for me, and I hope to craft extended films on this topic and others in the future. 

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I find the explosion of content that we’ve seen during the last decade to be both a blessing and a challenge. We’re seeing more independent content producers than ever before, which have legitimized less-traditional distribution channels like Vimeo as platforms for paid media consumption. However, because so much content exists, getting noticed still requires a good dose of hard work, talent, resilience and luck. I’m fascinated by the fact that we have more ways to appreciate content than ever before, but the obstacles to finding a mass audience are still substantial.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Back in my undergraduate days at the University of Kansas, I once decided to cook chicken tikka masala for a friend’s birthday party. I’m a vegetarian now, but in those days, I’d only given up red meat. I had purchased an Indian cookbook specifically for the occasion, and I remember spending more money on the ingredients than I could really afford to make sure there would be enough for everyone. Somewhere along the innumerable steps, I’d misread the instructions and used tablespoons instead of teaspoons for one of my spice measurements. The recipe didn’t finish cooking until just before the party, so with no time to take a taste, I rushed out the door, arrived at the party, and let the birthday girl know that I’d cooked something special. She half swallowed, half spit a fork full, sharply curled the edges of her mouth, and thanked me for my strange creation. Needless to say, the dish went uneaten, though I did manage to choke down a few awful bites. There’s a lesson in here somewhere, about the importance of details and proportions, but instead, I’m just going to own up to the truth: I’m a terrible chef. You can’t be good at everything, and it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Scott Wilson, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Kathy Matosich, Cohort 13

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: March 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM program or in general):

I’m interested in brand communications and overall communication/content strategies.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I spent a decade in television commercial production before coming to the MCDM program.  With a background in traditional advertising, I was interested in having a more holistic approach to communications and have been able to step out of the silo of television.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

The knowledge that I gain not only from the professors, but my cohort, has allowed me to grow as an individual and to explore disciplines that always seemed daunting or that I didn’t have enough confidence to jump into on my own.  What we learn in the classroom has often had a direct correlation to the work I’ve done as an intern in different companies.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Anita Verna Crofts’ Leadership Through Story and Communities has had a profound impact on who I am both in my digital spaces and in my communities at large.  Seeing my cohort’s amazing work that came out of that class has me in awe of my peers.

Andrea Zeller’s Multi-Platform Content Strategy course also had a huge impact on my professional career and really was my formal introduction to the subject.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

The wearables craze is fascinating to me.  I wonder if in 2 years we’ll look back and think of watches and rings that notify you when you have messages will be viewed in the same way that I view slap bracelets now…

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

My ultimate goal has always been to have a positive impact on the people around me.  I believe that it is easier to reach a broad audience through digital media, but also harder to be your authentic self and have a meaningful impact.  My goal is to figure out the best way to merge these together.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Classes have fit wonderfully in my schedule.  I am a full-time student while working part-time handling communications for a research center at UW.  It is a perfect fit for me since it allows me time during the day to work on my coursework and group projects with classes a few nights a week.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

There have been many “a-ha” moments for me in my classes, but my favorite experience has been my internship at Facebook in their Content Strategy department.  I didn’t know what content strategy was as a discipline before starting Comm Lead and the knowledge that I gained from Andrea Zeller’s class allowed me to have an amazing summer in Silicon Valley.  I appreciate the program’s focus on having real-world experiences and networking opportunities to make that possible.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I’m not really an adventurous eater, but I do come from Montana where Rocky Mountain oysters are treated as an honest-to-goodness delicacy (which I cannot bring myself to try).

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CommLeader Spotlight|Kathy Matosich, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Tanner Taylor, Cohort 11

10608521_882599008447051_3770748721425012632_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: June 2014.

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general): Video production, digital media, storytelling, marketing

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I work on corporate video production and communications projects at Expeditors, a global logistics provider.  We create videos, podcasts, and other communications deliverables to support company initiatives.  Our goal is to communicate to the right people at the right time with the right message.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

Every day I find myself referencing something I learned or heard or saw from the MCDM program.  This can range from deciding what to show on a presentation slide to picking the shot composition for a video interview.  I really tried to learn as many fundamentals as I could in the program so that I could build from them when in my daily life.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I work downtown Seattle from roughly 8 to 5pm, so the evening class schedule worked well for me.  I’d take the bus from downtown to UW and make it to class without any issues.  The first year I took one class per quarter, which was a good balance with everything considered.  Then my second year I took two classes per quarter, which was definitely more of a challenge.  Balancing all the school work with professional work and family life got to be pretty difficult for me.  It was doable, but not terribly enjoyable.  Having a pregnant wife and birth of our first child thrown in towards the end of my time at MCDM was probably a contributor to some stress.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

I really enjoyed the first class with Hanson and Mac, COM 546 Narratives and Networks.  It was a great experience creating my own blog and getting to know the other students and their interests.  The production studio class with Scott Macklin was a great experience too.  The class was smaller and everyone worked together really well towards our goals.  Scott’s ideas and energy were great to be around, and getting to experience the UW studio taping of Four Peaks was very valuable.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

One of my favorite Comm Lead experiences is of our video shoot at Julep Nail Salon downtown Seattle for an episode of Four Peaks.  Hanson was interviewing Jane Park, the owner, and I was able to shoot some supporting footage as well as some behind the scenes footage with Ashley Rose Omara and Jordan Slaymaker.  We planned ahead, worked well together, stayed organized, and got the job done all within the time restrictions.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

Ultimately I want to have a solid understanding of the digital media space as it continues to change over time so I can create the best messages and deliverables for my company.  What works well now for certain communications probably won’t be the same in 5 years.  So it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part to stay involved and informed of the latest digital media trends.  Never stop learning, right!?

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m always interested in hearing about the latest in consumers cutting out cable, or cord cutting.  It’s always changing, especially when you hear about news like with HBO announcing they will provide their service for customers without a cable subscription starting in 2015.  My worry is that eventually, people will be paying a-la-cart for so many monthly individual services like Amazon instant videos, Hulu, HBO, Vudu, etc, that their monthly combined spending will be the same or more than it was when they had the big bundled package from a cable provider.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Rocky mountain oysters – in Idaho.  They weren’t oysters.  They were bull testicles. Not sure what the hell compelled me to do that…must have been pressure from my family.

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CommLeader Spotlight|Tanner Taylor, Cohort 11
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CommLeader Highlights|Fritz Kessler, Cohort 13

10580659_823711297669156_8503784814354561828_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: Spring Quarter 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM program or in general):

I love learning how to create compelling, long-form content for the web, and leveraging the best tools in digital/social media to promote that content.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

Currently, I’m in Product Marketing for a local tech company, and my long term goal is to be creatively independent as a transmedia storyteller, and work with as many different people and organizations (especially non-profits) as I can.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Anita’s class, Leadership through Story and Community, did the best job at making me think “oh yeah, in our digitally enabled and revolutionized world, there’s no reason not to try and bring as many of your creative passions to life as possible.” And Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamentals class crammed more information into my brain about what it takes to create a digital business venture than I thought possible in a mere 9 weeks.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I love how publications are keeping long-form storytelling alive by adapting to modern trends in web design and content strategy.  I think a site like Pitchfork does a great job with these trends, creating a vital mix of content that’s ready for immediate consumption and content that’s so well written and designed that it really justifies spending more time with.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

What I really want is fluency with digital media tools in a way that can best support my overall goals as a content creator, whether the content is digital or analogue in nature.  If I’m doing another story on homelessness in Seattle, what tools can I use that give people a greater window into that experience?  What can they see in my story, what can they hear, what can they interact with? What’s the best way to engage people using modern tools, in a way that supports, and doesn’t overwhelm, the story I’m telling?

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I work full-time and attend classes part-time in the evenings.  It’s a challenging balance, but overall I like the feeling of maximizing my productivity, and having the opportunity to apply my learnings from class the very next day at work.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

My project in winter quarter was an exploration of homelessness in Seattle, and having the chance to interview so many resilient people who have fallen on hard times, and then hopefully share their stories in an impactful way for my project, was quite meaningful for me.  Second place goes to cramming 10 classmates in my car for a drive around the block to get out of the cold on a freezing night in December.  Not a school sanctioned activity.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Well, it might not be the strangest, but one of the Cohort 13 students from China who has become a good friend recently tricked me into eating pig intestine for the first time.  It was surprisingly tasty, albeit awfully chewy.  Think of it as spicy meat gum.

 

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CommLeader Highlights|Fritz Kessler, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Vera Lu, Cohort 13

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Graduation date or expected graduation date:  Winter 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

Multimedia production, digital storytelling and content strategy

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

My goal is to become a video editor and web content producer who can convert her visual thinking into the narrative and to engage audience through editing the story.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

The MCDM has given me a variety of opportunities to engage myself with people in and out of this program, an open mind to work creatively on my class projects, and a strong support from the faculty and our cohort whenever I need help. Gaining the technical skills like shooting and editing is important, but I benefit a lot from two principles emphasized throughout this program: the action idea and the audience, which enable me to have a clear guide for making decision on content.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Being a full-time student allows me to manage my graduate life flexibly, it also means that the program will go very fast! I am satisfied with our class schedule, but the 8-hour core course is really intense.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

The Multimedia Story by Drew Keller was the perfect course for me to enter the world of visual narrative, and to try my hand on shooting, editing and video branding.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

My cohort is the most united cohort I have ever had in my education experience, we like meeting everyone in and out of class. I really appreciate the relationship I have built with my classmates and this program; this is definitely my favorite experience.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I want to keep enriching my knowledge in digital media and storytelling, and build my career path around video production and content creation.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

The experience I had on Scott’s Immersive Storytelling has stimulated my interest in bringing more interaction between story and audience. The way that audiences experience content is changing, and I want to learn how this change and storytelling will affect each other.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Ant soup. I was under 10, on a dinner party with my parents. The light soup had a lot of black spots in it, looked like black sesames when it was not under my face, but they were ants, I don’t know if they were cooked or just dead ants… It was said that ant soup was good for body, but I have never seen that recipe again from then on.

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CommLeader Spotlight|Vera Lu, Cohort 13