iMedia Students Brave New World

The second class in Elon's Interactive Media program features 32 students who are preparing to lead the charge into a new multimedia world. The cohort will take classes together for the next year and graduate with a master's degree in May. Please read the brief bios they all provided so that you can get to know them better.

Alexandra Boardman is from Baltimore and has lived in Columbia, S.C., for the past four years. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in December 2009 with a bachelor of arts in Media Arts and in English. While at USC, Alexandra concentrated her English degree on creative writing and her Media Arts degree on film and video production. For her honors college senior thesis, Alexandra wrote, directed and produced “Correlating Christianity,” a documentary that searches for the common ground between different Christian denominations, specifically within the southeastern United States. Since graduation Alexandra has worked as a social media manager and account manager for Mad Monkey Inc., a production company and creative agency in Columbia. She looks forward to cultivating her technical and artistic production skills and learning as much as she can about the newly emerging world of interactive media.

Lars Bredahl grew up on Sanibel Island, Fla., and graduated from Elon in 2010 with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and minors in Business Administration and International Studies. While at Elon, Lars participated in the Elon in LA program and worked as an intern for MTV Networks. He also had the incredible opportunities to explore China for one month in 2008 and study at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for a full semester in the spring of 2009. That summer, he worked in the Media Relations department of the Singapore Sports Council and helped coordinate operations for the multi-national Olympic sporting event, the Asian Youth Games. Most recently, he worked at NOISE Inc., a nationally acclaimed and award-winning branding agency. Lars hopes to delve deeper into the realm of interactive media and apply his skills in a hands-on environment. He would like to put all the theoretical ideas into practice and learn how to use these tools to develop his own creative content.

Ashley Dischinger was born and raised in Oak Ridge, N.C. She graduated in May 2010 from Elon’s School of Communications with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in International Studies. Her classes as an undergraduate student sparked an interest in the ever-expanding world of interactive and social media. Her passion was amplified by a summer internship with the digital media department of CBS Radio in New York. She looks forward to furthering her understand of this fascinating field during her next year in the master’s program. Ashley spends her free time daydreaming of living in New York City and using her newly acquired knowledge of interactive media to positively impact the changing face of journalism.

Michael Donovan is from Fairfax, Va. He graduated from Elon University in 2010 with a B.A. in Broadcast and New Media and a minor in Business Administration. At the start of his collegiate career, he participated in FreshTV, an accelerated learning program for communications students, where he produced one of the year-end projects. He later traveled to Los Angeles as part of Elon’s inaugural Elon in L.A. program. There, he completed an internship as a talent management assistant for Holder Management. Since then, he has worked as a freelance screenplay analyst for the organization. Other adventures included traveling to London for a semester, winning the 2008 N.C. GoVote competition and producing Elon’s first (and possibly only) action film, “Final Exam.” Frequently dabbling in all forms of media, Mich is excited to combine his diverse skills and experiences in this exciting and innovative form of communication and storytelling.

Carolyn Frazier grew up in Lexington, N.C., and attended high school in Winston-Salem. She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, an area of study she chose because of its broad nature. At Appalachian, she served as chapter president of the Public Relations Student Society of America and volunteered as a public relations intern for a renewable energy and wind-power advocacy group in Boone, N.C. Carolyn also worked at “The Appalachian” student newspaper as a graphic design intern, where she discovered a love for design and layout work. Carolyn is passionate about marketing, advertising and all things communication. She is particularly intrigued by the branding process and hopes to further her design knowledge while adding a new set of web skills that will allow her to contribute to all of the aspects involved in promotional endeavors.

Meghan Gargan is a 2008 Northeastern University graduate with a B.A. in Journalism and Communication Studies. After graduation she spent the last two years working in an integrated agency setting, specializing in public relations and working with clients spanning the consumer, automotive and healthcare industries. Her work experience includes developing and executing traditional PR campaigns, SEO creation and implementation and social media strategy and promotion. She also worked as a freelance journalist for The Boston Globe, Boston Common Magazine and The News & Observer among others. After six years as an urban-dweller in Boston, Meghan is excited to return home to North Carolina and pursue her interest in interactive media. After completing the iMedia program she hopes to continue a career in an agency setting as an interactive strategist or return to her journalism roots as a web producer or multimedia reporter. In her free time Meghan enjoys being a self-proclaimed "news-junkie," cheering on her Boston sports teams and devouring unhealthy amounts of caffeine.

Gregory Green Gregory Green grew up in Jamestown, N.Y., and graduated with honors from St. Bonaventure University in 2008. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, he found himself in the world of sales. While looking for ways to advance his career, he found the iMedia program at Elon. As someone who has been interested in the Internet and media since childhood, he knew it was the direction he wanted to take. Greg hopes to use the skills he gains in the iMedia program to move into the field of sports media.

Lauren Brittany Glover was born and raised in Graham, N.C. She graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a B.A. in English and a double minor in Journalism and Leadership Studies. During her undergraduate college career, Glover was a distinguished student both academically and socially, graduating with several honors. Throughout her collegiate experience, Glover was extremely involved in newspaper and magazine writing for various on- and off-campus publications, as well as several educational programs for future college students. In the past few years, Glover has interned with BusinessWeek magazine, UNC Wilmington Office of Admissions, UNC Wilmington Marketing and Communications and BusinessWeek magazine. After graduation, Glover worked as a document design contractor for Greater Diversity News based out of Wilmington, N.C., and a project design specialist for University Directories in Chapel Hill, N.C. With a desire to refine developed skills and acquire new interactive expertise, Glover plans to continue to evolve professionally through Elon’s Interactive Media masters program.

John Hartley comes to Elon from the little village of Mogadore, Ohio. John graduated in May with his Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Electronic Media and a minor in Statistics from Ohio Northern University. While at ONU, he worked mainly in sports media, co-hosting his own sports talk show and broadcasting the play-by-play for most varsity sports. On the visual side, he spent a majority of his time creating motion openers for several shows on the campus cable channel, as well as a few award-winning short videos. Having worked on both the audio and visual side, John is looking forward to bringing his skills together in the Interactive Media program while preparing to stay ahead of the next wave of media.

Erika Nicole Holland was born and raised in Fayetteville, N.C., where she attended a private Christian school all 12 years. After graduating from Village Christian Academy in 2006, she attended Methodist University. As an undergrad, she found a passion for all Mass Communication courses, including Web Design, Photography, Audio and Video Production and Advertising. She interned with the local ESPN Radio Station, was the director of promotions for Methodist University's radio station and was the president of the Communication Club. She will now be entering Elon's iMedia program in the fall, with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. Besides being a full time student, Erika Nicole is also the music director for her home church in Fayetteville, where she plays the piano and directs the choir. She is interested in iMedia because she believes that it has the ability to bring together people from all walks of life in a way that has never before been seen.

Alison Hydrick is from Mebane, N.C. She graduated from Elon’s School of Communications in May with a B.A. in both Journalism and Broadcast & New Media. Throughout Alison’s communications career, she interned at the Mebane Enterprise and chronicled the transition to digital television in Wilmington, N.C. During her four years as an undergrad, Alison was heavily involved in religious life, and she served in a leadership role for the Baptist Student Union from 2006-2009. Also during her time as an undergrad, she developed an interest in multimedia storytelling and citizen journalism. Following graduation, Alison hopes to combine her passions for new media, citizen journalism and religion and enter the religious media industry.

Bettina Johnson is a returning Elon Phoenix. Raised in Chapel Hill, N.C., she graduated from Elon University in 2006 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in digital art. Bettina discovered her passion for interactive media as a college senior while working on the Elon University and Pew Research development team for the “Imagining the Internet” predictions database. She presented the new Webby Awards Honoree site and related research at the Spring 2006 Elon University Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF). As an undergraduate, Bettina contributed to the Elon School of Communications accreditation process and held an international internship in London at a magazine publishing company during a semester abroad. Upon graduating she became the first Online Editor for The Gaston Gazette, a Freedom Communications newspaper located outside of Charlotte, N.C. Bettina helped steer the newsroom in a new online direction by training reporters and editors on new technologies, shooting and editing video, producing audio additions for print stories, creating and redesigning sub sites, exploring new marketing and advertising strategies and more. After two years she returned to the Chapel Hill area to sharpen her web skills working with a local web development company. Bettina managed new site builds and upgrades while also troubleshooting bugs and providing insight for clients on search engine optimization and content strategy. Following completion of Elon’s iMedia program, Bettina aspires to live and work abroad and create a successful career impacting the methods people use to engage with information and each other on a global scale.

Jacquelyn Kozma, a double major in International Finance & Marketing and Business Management, graduated from the University of Miami with honors in 2008. While there, she studied abroad for spring semester of her senior year at Sophia University in Tokyo. After working for a small group of financial advisers, Jackie decided to return to school to develop her marketing skills with Elon University's iMedia program. Online brand management greatly interests her, but the school year should present many new and fascinating career possibilities. Born in Plainfield, N.J., Jackie spent most of her childhood in Nazareth, Pa., before moving to South Florida right before high school. Her interests include Japan, video games, reading (yes, people still read books), sports, cosmetics and technology.

Mollie Lambert is from Burlington, N.C. She is a 2010 graduate of Furman University, where she earned a B.A. in Communication Studies, through which she had the opportunity to study at Universidad International in Cuernavaca, Mexico and Vesalius College in Brussels, Belgium. During her undergraduate career, she interned with the news program “North Carolina Now” at UNC-TV and with NBC affiliate WYFF in Greenville, S.C. Her special interests are news and broadcasting. Because journalism continues to evolve and demand the use of interactive media, she is excited to learn more about how to combine better the worlds of broadcasting and interactive media.

Tara MacDaniels was born in Newport Beach, Calif., but her days as a “Cali girl” were short-lived, as she moved to Gaithersburg, Md., just six weeks later. Tara graduated from Elon in May with a B.A. in Corporate Communications. She worked for ONCORE Construction LLC as a business development and advertising intern for the past two summers. With a passion for digital art and advertising, she is excited to take her skills to the next level this year. Tara’s other passions include live music and art.

Christopher Metzloff hails from Durham, N.C. He graduated from Warren Wilson College, a small liberal arts college outside of Asheville, N.C., in 2007 with a bachelors degree in Psychology. After a year and a half stint working at a mental health facility, he found himself in Chestertown, Md., working for an online newspaper and creating video profiles of local artists, stores and community figures. The year spent producing video profiles from start to finish fueled his interest in video production and interactive media. Chris has a strong interest in sports broadcasting and documentary work, and hopes to add to his skill set during the iMedia program.

Hayley Miller grew up in the small town of Abingdon, Va. After graduating from the local high school, she spent the next four years of her life in Blacksburg, Va., where she attended Virginia Tech. There, she finished early and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Popular Culture. In college, she was lucky enough to study abroad for a summer in Switzerland and travel to various countries throughout Europe. Throughout her college career she was an active member of Gamma Beta Phi, an honor and service fraternity, as well as Phi Beta Delta, an honor and service organization dedicated to international scholarly achievement. She has always had a strong desire to work in the entertainment industry and has produced a few of her own documentaries at Virginia Tech. She hopes to learn more about video production and web design at Elon University to further her skills in this area. Hayley is excited about expanding her knowledge of these new and interactive media of communication and applying them to her passion and career goals in the future.

Bradley Mu is from Chapel Hill, N.C., by way of The University of North Carolina, where he graduated with degrees in International Studies and Italian. He has worked for a media company, an investment bank and a small, nationally circulated literary magazine, but has also seen his fair share of shifts behind a bar and waiting tables. For the moment his interests in Interactive Media lie in graphic design and the economic demands of the shifting medium of mass communication. When not thinking about Interactive Media, Bradley enjoys various artistic outlets, the company of friends and family and would one day like to resume training for his pilot's license.

Ashley Pearson was born and raised in Bangor, Maine. She grew up enjoying all different seasons, from hot summers to the depths of winter. She graduated from the University of Maine magna cum laude with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Anthropology. Ashley has worked for an award winning magazine, Bangor Metro, and was recently nationally published in Sierra Magazine, a publication of the Sierra Club. She has two years professional experience working with a publishing company, Webster Atlantic, where she gained invaluable experience. While her main passion is writing, Ashley enjoys photography, film and traveling. She’s been to seven different countries and aspires to be a multimedia editor for a travel magazine after graduation.

Rebecca Roman was born in Kansas City, Mo., and grew up in Blue Springs, a neighboring suburb. She graduated from Missouri State University in May 2010 with a B.S. in Print Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing. She has been a published journalist through internships with The Examiner, a daily newspaper in the Kansas City area, GO Magazine in Springfield, and as a staff writer for the Missouri State campus newspaper, The Standard. During her time at Missouri State, Rebecca also worked as the student online writer/editor for the Office of Web and New Media at Missouri State and produced newsletters for the Ozarks Literacy Council. Rebecca is excited to be part of the 2011 iMedia class, which will help her to advance with the evolution of reporting. Rebecca plans to become a journalist working with both print and online media outlets.

Mike Sales has two great creative passions: writing stories and creating art. He nurtured those passions while earning a B.S. in Television Production at Howard University in Washington, D.C. After graduation, Mike fed a hungry new Internet audience by mixing, chopping and blending multimedia content like a digital chef. Most of this time was spent with Reuters and the Charlotte Observer, working as a videographer, video editor, graphic designer, online journalist and web developer. Since leaving the Observer, Mike has provided art direction for a project targeted for a national non-profit, produced a promotional video for the National Center for Global Engagement and filmed celebrities like Diddy for the CIAA basketball tournament in Charlotte, N.C. Mike is the owner and creator of Type Illy Press, an online multimedia company that provides animated and print content for urban audiences. Mike plans to use his time at Elon to hone his digital production skills, cultivate new business relationships and broaden his business expertise in order to continue to pursue his true passions in life.

Lea Schlanger was born and raised in Port Charlotte, Fla. While in high school, she had to opportunity to take two trips to Europe with a group led by one of her high school teachers. In total, she has visited 14 different countries. After high school, she attended the University of South Florida and recently graduated as a major in anthropology with a minor in international studies. During that time, she participated in multiple minor research projects for various subjects in and out of class. These projects range from examining the reading habits of adolescents to a short ethnography on a local Dungeons & Dragons group. When not focusing on school, Lea likes to read and play videogames with her friends. Her goal is to combine her training as an anthropologist with her interest in various forms of media into a career where she can research the technology explosion on American culture and how culture affects the evolution of technology.

Caitlin Vlastakis Smith is a 2005 graduate of North Carolina State University, earning degrees in visual art and creative writing. After graduation, with internships at a local advertising agency and Raleigh’s United Arts Council under her belt, she joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program as a grant writer for a non-profit organization that distributes free school supplies to children in need. Caitlin then signed on with a financial services firm as a marketing communications specialist, where she served as ghostwriter for the leadership team, editor and project manager of the company’s quarterly magazine and web feature writer. Caitlin also developed communication plans for high-profile change-management initiatives and acted as the secondary webmaster. In 2008, she joined a global healthcare consulting firm as an editor for the sales function. She soon transitioned into a designer/technical writer role, designing templates and creating project user guides. She also led a complete revamping and updating of the company’s visual style. Caitlin joins Elon's iMedia program to learn how organizations can leverage web interactivity to drive awareness of their missions, services or products and to obtain the technical skills needed to produce persuasive multimedia.

Charlotte Southern is a photographer and journalist from South Florida. Her work has been published by The Miami Herald, Bloomberg Wire Service, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, The Prague Post, West Kendall Today, American Federation of Teachers publications, the AFL-CIO, Forum Publishing Group community newspapers, Next American City magazine, Meister Media trade publications, the University of Miami and others. Southern has also pursued a number of personal projects in conjunction with non-profits focusing on social issues, most notably the devastation in Biloxi, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina, and education in developing countries. In the fall of 2005, Southern traveled to Uganda and documented the life of 22-year-old Rwandan genocide survivor, John Kayiranga, as he resumed his education from where he left off in third grade. John’s life was shown to the public through a 2008 photography show in the Wynwood Art District of Miami. All proceeds were donated to Lead Uganda, the organization funding the education of John and other children throughout the country. Her work can be viewed at Southern earned a Bachelor of Science of Communication from the University of Miami in 2005 with a double major in photojournalism and studio art. Originally born in the United Kingdom and holding dual-citizenship, Southern is an avid traveler who enjoys learning about other cultures. Southern has joined the masters in Interactive Media program at Elon to broaden her storytelling skills so she may expand on her career as a visual journalist.

Drew Sykes is from Greensboro, N.C. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 2008 with a degree in English Creative Writing and a minor in Journalism. After college, he volunteered as a ropes instructor in Colorado for the summer and has since worked as a server at a local organic restaurant. Drew is an avid sports and music fan and hopes to work his way into writing and producing content for television and Internet media. He loves to absorb and write about everyday life, and his highest goal is to climb the ladder and work as an on-air talent. He’s looking at the iMedia program as a great opportunity to strengthen his skills and jump into the fast-paced media field.

Jordan Thorndyke hails from Laurinburg, N.C. A 2010 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Jordan majored in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in public relations. Jordan has experience working with the media, having interned with NBC 17 in Raleigh, N.C., and with nonprofits, such as Rock Against Cancer, Wesley Campus Ministry and Community Home Trust in Chapel Hill. Jordan has also been published in various local media as a freelance feature writer. Currently, Jordan is living in Chapel Hill with her dog, Ozzie, and cat, Bojangles. After completing the iMedia program, she hopes to find a job merging her experience in public relations with the skills she will develop in interactive media, perhaps working in an agency or nonprofit setting.

Jenna Wagner was born and raised in Bristol, Va. She completed her undergraduate degree in May of 2010 at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. While at JMU, she earned her B.A. by double majoring in Media Arts and Design (concentration in Interactive Media) and Technical and Scientific Communication (concentration in Online Publications), with a minor in Computer Information Systems. Along with her passion for web design, Jenna is also an aspiring racecar driver. She races locally near her hometown in Coeburn, Va., and also competes in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. Jenna also enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding and spending time with her family and friends in her spare time. Jenna wants to pursue her dream of racing and incorporate her love for Interactive Media as well.

Taylor Williams was born and raised in Chapel Hill, N.C. She received her B.S in Communication Studies with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism and a double minor in Sports Studies and Hispanic Studies from East Carolina University in May of 2010. While at ECU, Taylor served as an ECU Ambassador, holding two executive board positions and coordinating with the admissions office, alumni association and the athletic office in working with new football recruits. Taylor was also a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and became the Panhellenic president her senior year, overseeing all sorority affairs on campus and in the community. Taylor loves to travel and has been to more than 10 countries as an official ambassador for the United States Jump Rope Federation. As a member of the USA World Championship team, Taylor received a world championship gold medal in Brisbane, Australia, in 2004. In addition to competing, Taylor traveled to many countries, teaching the sport of jump rope to children of all ages. Taylor’s passion for media and sports has fueled her desire for the sports broadcasting field.

Patty Wittenburg was born and raised in Howell, N.J. She attended Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., where she took an elective in the fundamentals of Television Production, and was so intrigued by it that she decided to major in Communications. She graduated from Rider in 2009 with a B.A. in Communications with a track in Radio and Television Production. With Rider, Patty was able to produce multiple television shows, including a “Pardon the Interruption” style sports show, two documentaries and a short horror film. One of the documentaries, about Photojournalism's role during the Civil Rights Movement, led her around the country on interviews and ultimately to the Cannes Film Festival, where the film was featured in the Festival's Short Film Corner. Post graduation, Patty worked as a Production Assistant on two independent feature films and interned at Post Factory, a post house in Soho, N.Y. Her internship led her to a job at a small post-production house, where she served as the receptionist and personal assistant to the company's C.E.O. When doing research on masters programs, Patty stumbled upon Elon's Interactive Media program and thought that it sounded like a perfect fit for her. Patty aspires to work in the field she loves so much and eventually teach Communications at a university level, in order to share her experiences and acquired knowledge with students as her professors did with her.

Kimberly Wolfe is originally from Bradenton, Fla., and recently graduated from Elon University with a degree in Strategic Communications and a minor in Psychology. During her time at Elon, she obtained two internships working in both marketing and communications departments in Tampa and Greensboro, N.C. After realizing her true passion for digital design and advertising, she decided to extend her education to the iMedia masters program. She looks forward to learning to use the tools that will help her grow in her career.

Nicole Wyche was born in Baltimore, raised in Richmond, Va., and graduated from Needham B. Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and earned her degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. While at UNC, she worked on the Multimedia Desk of the Daily Tar Heel and interned for NPR's "The State of Things." In spring 2009, she studied in the Facultad de Comunicacion at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Studying abroad for six months really piqued Nicole's interest in the power of social and interactive media. She is very excited to be a part of Elon's iMedia class of 2011.

Kristin Youngblood grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn. She graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2008 with a B.S. in English with an emphasis in Professional Writing and double minors in Business Management and Communications. During and after her undergrad experience, she went to work in positions in marketing and public relations for various healthcare organizations and corporations. She currently is actively honing her design skills as a freelance graphic designer and portrait photographer. She is excited to take her education in a new direction by obtaining a master's degree in Interactive Media as she plans for her future as a web/multimedia designer in the printing and publishing industry.