Elon University graduates first Interactive Media master's class
Thirty-six students began their journey as the first class in Elon University's Interactive Media master's program in July 2009. Just 10 months later, on May 20, those same three dozen students celebrated their commencement by crossing Whitley Auditorium's stage and receiving their graduate diplomas from Elon President Leo M. Lambert.
Lambert conferred the first set of iMedia master’s degrees, and School of Communications Dean Paul Parsons hooded the recipients, who student speaker David Hollander called “36 different clients with 36 different visions and goals.”
Both Hollander and Tony Quin, CEO of IQ Interactive and a member of the School of Communications national advisory board, expressed the thrill and intrigue of entering an industry that is still largely unmapped.
“It’s an industry immersed in constant, unrelenting change,” Quin said. “Just since you put on your cap this morning and zipped up your gown, something important has happened in the interactive world. It’s a frightening and thrilling thought.”
Students have spent the last year taking courses that covered topics, such as interactive design, interactive writing and interactive production. They’ve gained tangible skills, they said, but still, they recognize their futures are largely unknown.
“We’re entering an industry in its infancy,” Hollander said. “It’s OK to not have all the answers. We’re in the position to become pioneers among pioneers. We’ll need to be able to make things up as we go.”
Quin agreed in his address, noting that the media market has begun a sizable shift from being company driven to consumer driven, which means companies and agencies will be clamoring for students with an ability to stay ahead of technological developments.
“You need to be the master of your own destiny,” Quin said. “You have to know how to stay valuable to who you’re working with. You have to learn how to do it all. Specialization today can be a trap, so it’s important to continue to work on your breadth of skills. Never stop learning.”
Quin acknowledged that the uncertainty of what lies ahead of them both professionally and personally may seem daunting. But he assured the graduates that if they continue to challenge themselves, they’ll be successful.
“So here’s the advice: Just keep doing what you’re doing, embrace all this change and don’t be afraid of it,” Quin said. “Think like an entrepreneur. Be a jack of many trades and be a master of your own destiny.”
Before the commencement ceremony, David Copeland, the director of the iMedia program, said this charter class was the ideal gathering of students because of how quickly they grasped the concept of collaboration and lifelong learning.
“I think this was a great group to have for an inaugural class,” Copeland said. “Not only did they do the work, but it was the way they did their work, they bonded and they became friends, and they became collaborators. They were able to work under pressure situations. They were able to work in situations that took them out of their comfort zones.”
Those situations included learning many new pieces of software and technology, completing a Winter Term fly-in project for the public good and graduating from an accelerated master’s program that made tremendous demands on their time and energy. Copeland said he has no doubt that the 36 students who received their degrees May 20 will experience flourishing returns in the near future.
“They lived up to everything we wanted in the end because they were all successful,” Copeland said. “And I think that what we’ll find in the next few months is a lot of success stories coming in about them all.”
The 2010 Interactive Media graduates are:
David A. Kennedy
Laura Melissa Spencer
Kathryn V. Williams
To view some of the students’ projects, CLICK HERE: (http://blogs.elon.edu/elonimx/category/projects/).