The fourth class in Elon's Interactive Media program features 27 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.
Jake Amberg, 21, was born and raised in Greensboro, N.C., and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Appalachian State University in May of 2012. At Appalachian State, Jake wrote for The Appalachian and was named sports editor during his senior year. For that position, Jake wrote two articles a week and managed a desk of seven writers. Prior to working for the newspaper, Jake was an associate trainer at Panera Bread and would work there during holidays. Near the end of Jake’s undergraduate tenure at Appalachian, he found a passion for interactive media and the stories he could tell through media other than print. By learning more about film editing, graphic design and application development, Jake decided to further his education in interactive media after attending an open house at Elon University. With his degree in Interactive Media, Jake hopes to find a job in the content production area of a news organization, and he wants someday to start his own online news website. Jake's other hobbies include music, sports and cats.
Marshall Beringer graduated from Elon University in 2011 with a degree in Media Arts & Entertainment. After graduating, he traveled back home to New York and worked for two television talk shows. His work on set ended in November, when he decided to apply to the iMedia program. Marshall has joined iMedia to learn more about social media and to expand his skills in editing both film and photographs. He has always had a love for film, and he hopes to bring that high quality production to the web. His other interests include painting, drawing and watching horror films.
Rachel Brent was born in Eschenbach, Germany, and raised in Columbus, Ga. She graduated in May 2011 from the Advertising and New Media program at the University of Georgia. Rachel has perfected the position of jack-of-all-trades, working as everything from a grocery store cashier to a legal assistant to an event coordinator at the University of Georgia. Working in so many industries has taught Rachel to bloom where she’s planted. It was working with UGA’s New Media Institute that sparked her interest in social awareness gaming and project management. Rachel has an ongoing love affair with the English language and obscure punctuation. She is a strong proponent of the return of the interrobang. She is an unapologetic extrovert. She believes the devil is in the details and in her free time enjoys cooking, kayaking and keeping up with the latest Internet memes. Rachel hopes that the Elon iMedia program will focus these disparate interests and lead her to a career she will love.
Alan Buck is a native of South Carolina but currently lives in Apex, N.C., with his wife and daughter. He got his start in broadcasting in the production department at WRDW in Augusta, Ga., but quickly moved into the news department as a news videographer. He then moved on to larger markets at WHNS in Greenville, S.C./Asheville, N.C., and WLFL in Raleigh, N.C. After years in the news department, Alan moved into management and became the director of promotions for WTWB in Greensboro, N.C. Deciding he wanted to pursue his dream of obtaining an education, he enrolled full time at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where in 2010 he graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies with a concentration in Media Management. While a student, Alan was the GM of Spartan TV, the student-run closed-circuit television station. He was also named to many honor societies and was elected as the Broadcasting and Cinema Department’s Undergraduate Student of the Year. Alan enjoys doing freelance videography work for such clients as the Pittsburgh Penguins, North Carolina State University, The Bank of Oak Ridge, Clear Channel Radio and more. He won an Associated Press award for Best Feature Video while freelancing. Alan looks forward to complementing his career with the current trends in interactive media.
Rachell Carroll was born in the Philippines and raised in Goldsboro, N.C. She attended North Carolina State University and obtained a B.A. in Media Communication and minored in Africana Studies. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Rachell sparked her interest for digital media through video production projects, media writing and web design. Upon graduation, Rachell spent several years in Raleigh, N.C., working within higher education administration, where she gained hands-on experience on how the digital world is positively changing the way we learn and work. Rachell is excited about being a part of the Interactive Media M.A. program. She plans to gain experience, knowledge and networking relationships that will land her a promising career in interactive media, and she hopes eventually to pursue her own media company. In her spare time, Rachell enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, sushi connoisseur-ing, reading, working out and doing anything that sparks her creative side.
Madeline Chapin is a 2012 graduate of Elon University with a B.A. in Strategic Communications. She came to Elon from Cape Cod, Mass., where she was born and raised. During her time at Elon, Madeline was able to supplement her public relations and advertising theory classes with creative electives, including video production and design. She has held a variety of internships, but it wasn’t until her internship at Clear Channel Radio in Boston that she realized her true passion was for interactive media. Welcoming the challenge of using social media as a marketing tool, Madeline was able to plan both strategic social media campaigns for Clear Channel and use her creative talents to create content to use on both the websites and social media channels. Madeline is excited about the opportunity the iMedia program provides to strengthen her understanding of strategic digital strategy in addition to honing her creative talents.
Anna Davis was raised in Birmingham, Ala. She graduated from Elon University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. After graduating, Anna remained in the Triad area and has spent the past two years working at Greensboro College as the Community Service Coordinator. Throughout her academic and professional career, Anna has used her creative skills to promote and facilitate service projects, worship opportunities, concerts, service-learning, community events and anything else that was thrown her way. Anna hopes to continue developing her creative skills with a focus on nonprofit new media needs during her time as an Elon iMedia student. Her other passions include live music, white water canoeing and road trips.
Ashley Deese was raised in the small town of Red Springs, N.C. She graduated from Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Micro/Cellular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She spent all four years at MU as a varsity cheerleader, member of various clubs, honors societies and as an avid member of Greek life. A self-taught web programmer and graphic designer, she took on the role of media producer for an online radio station. With her expanding love for all things media and science, Ashley would like to learn more about interactive media while incorporating her enthusiasm for science. Ashley hopes to combine her two passions to create educational programming for children and adults across multiple media platforms.
Ruth Eckles believes a good story inspires, transports and transforms. A seasoned freelance writer, musician and artist, Ruth has spent the last decade assisting arts non-profits, such as The Scrap Exchange, Carolina Wren Press and The Old-Time Herald. When she’s not interviewing community members for her blog Durham Profiles, she’s writing songs with her husband in a scrappy farmhouse filled with too many cats and guitars. She finds inspiration in ordinary life: mowing the lawn, staring into space, mincing garlic and rummaging through thrift store bins. She's excited to take her storytelling skills to the next level in Elon’s iMedia program and hopes to create unique projects with a pulse.
Nate Harris was born in Silver Spring, Md. He has lived and been raised in Holly Springs, N.C., for the past several years of his life. He graduated from Western Carolina University in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication with dual concentrations in Broadcasting and Public Relations. While attending WCU, he played football all four years and was a team captain during his junior year. While athletics and academics dominated most of his time, he managed to become a member of PRSSA during his senior year. Nate had the opportunity to job shadow Victoria Dunkle of the ABC affiliate in Asheville, N.C., for a day. While working with the media relations department for WCU, Nate completed 150 hours. He covered the majority of sports during the winter and spring seasons with his job description for each event varying. Labeled a sports junky by some, Nate is a passionate sports fan who one day hopes to work on the marketing side of a professional franchise. He is ecstatic about joining the Phoenix community and can’t wait to start things up.
Simone Jameson is a rising media professional from the metropolitan area of Atlanta, with vast prospects for conquering the digital, broadcast and entertainment media industries. Simone graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Mass Communication from Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga. While there, she immersed herself in various aspects of campus culture and was an active media personality for the university’s radio and television stations. Throughout her undergraduate years, she additionally served as a service leader, local philanthropist and Spanish tutor for the university’s SOAR program, Give Center and Learning Center, respectively. Post-graduation, Simone has interned for various media outlets around Atlanta, including Creative Loafing and Patch.com, and she has garnered recognition for her oratorical, leadership and digital abilities through the National Association of Black Journalists and Toastmaster’s International organizations. Originally from New York City, Simone has aspirations of becoming a multi-national broadcast reporter through Elon University’s iMedia program and is looking forward to increasing her competitive edge in the job market and creating impactful relationships with fellow students and faculty.
Fidelis Lusompa is from Charlotte, N.C., and is a May 2010 graduate of N.C. State University with a degree in Communication-Media and a minor in Journalism. College gave Fidelis a sneak peak into the world of media by writing for the student newspaper, The Technician for three and a half years, covering a wide range of sports from football to basketball to wrestling to tennis. She’s also taking a number of video production and media writing courses. During her junior year, she studied abroad, spending three weeks in France exploring the Burgundy region and Paris. In her senior year, Fidelis took on a unique internship with Palsetra.net/UWire that allowed her to be the N.C. State correspondent, covering all football, men’s basketball and a number of other unique events. She also covered the 2010 ACC men’s basketball tournament for the website. After two years working retail, Fidelis decided to attend Elon to get a better grasp of interactive media, and she hopes to use what she learns to become a sports reporter in the multimedia world.
Audra Macri is from Saint Clairsville, Ohio. She graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling West Virginia in 2012 with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Professional Communications. During her time at Wheeling Jesuit, Audra participated in several campus activities, including student government, Circle K, Campus Activities Board, computer club, theater guild and as a resident assistant. Her most rewarding experience was working in the Information Technology Department at Wheeling Jesuit for three years as a student web programmer. During this time, Audra was able to learn not only about web programming and design but how to work in a professional environment. She was also given the opportunity to develop several projects, including the school’s virtual tour and digital signage campaign. Besides being a self-proclaimed technology junky, Audra enjoys running, water skiing, being outside and spending time with family and friends. During her time at Elon University she is looking forward to developing better skills in writing and design and exploring how to design and program for mobile technologies, as well as take her first plane ride during the Winter Term fly-in.
Iris Maslow was born and raised right below the Mason-Dixon line in Baltimore. Suffering from north/south identity crisis, she spent four years exploring the south in Raleigh, N.C., while attending North Carolina State University. On campus, she was involved with WKNC 88.1 FM, the student-run radio station, along with the Greek organization, Pi Beta Phi. After graduating with honors in 2011, Iris applied her communication (media) degree to an internship with Kimley-Horn and Associates, a national engineering firm. She soon became a communication analyst with Kimley-Horn and went on to edit videos, write articles, update the internal website and coordinate the professional photography program. With the accumulation of her experiences, Iris discovered a passion for creating digital media and hopes to inspire and provoke with her new skills.
William Neff was born in Long Island, N.Y., and spent the majority of his adolescence in Princeton, N.J. He attended college at Elon University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts & Entertainment in 2012. Knowing that he would most likely never continue the pursuit of higher education if he took a break, William has elected to dive directly into his master’s degree. Will hopes his experience in the iMedia program will fund his ambitions of becoming a professional comic and allow him to live in his own personal mecca—California. His other interests include weight lifting, cartoons, zombie films and Ayn Rand.
Katie Nolan was born and raised on Cape Cod, Mass. She graduated May 2012 from Elon University with a B.S.B.A in Marketing and a minor in Communications. Last summer, she interned as the manager of Nauti Jane’s Boat Rentals, located on Cape Cod’s premier Wequassett Resort & Golf Club. Katie’s interest in interactive media began with a communications course on digital media convergence, which inspired her to actively seek out a graduate program that would help her reach her ultimate goal: to work in the creative department of a well-respected advertising agency. Katie is ecstatic to be a member of Elon’s Interactive Media graduate program.
Alexandra Porter grew up in Concord, N.C. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009 earning a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Photojournalism. While at UNC, Alexandra was an active member of several student organizations and worked for UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. She also interned at Charlotte Magazine under the staff photographer. Alexandra participated in three group projects with the School of Journalism, including Living Galápagos, a comprehensive website that examines the delicate balance between the Galápagos Islands and the people who live there. Alexandra's work from another one of these projects was featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Endeavors Magazine at UNC, and all three won awards from College Photographer of the Year in 2009. Since graduating, Alexandra has continued to pursue her passions through freelance work. Her photography of the historic Barber-Scotia College has been on continuous display at various locations since 2010, including the Concord Museum. Alexandra is looking forward to building on her knowledge and skills of digital media and visual communication through the Elon iMedia program.
Alex Register was born and raised in Burlington, N.C., right down the road from the beautiful Elon University campus. Ready to explore past her hometown, she enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she graduated cum laude in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Art History. As an art enthusiast, Alex always possessed a passion for aesthetics. In 2011, she began working in freelance web design for small start-up companies in the North Carolina area, as well as taking on public relations and social media projects in her four years at UNCW. During her time in Elon’s Interactive Media program, Alex hopes to further explore visual aesthetics in web development and design. She is also excited to further her skills in photo editing. Alex’s other interests include photography, studio art, non-fiction reading and community involvement.
Benjamin Robinson was born and raised in Raleigh, N.C. He graduated in 2009 from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Production. Shortly after graduation, Benjamin and his friends created their own production company (NT Productions), where they decided to take responsibility for documenting culture through film. Benjamin is excited to be a part of the 2013 iMedia class, and he hopes to gain information to create a larger platform for his community using social networks and other tools. He describes himself as a kid from North Carolina who wears glasses and owns a camera.
Renee Robinson grew up in Lewisburg, Pa., and graduated magna cum laude from Elon University in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and minor in Spanish. As an undergrad, Renee dedicated her time to club field hockey, being an orientation leader, studying abroad in Seville, Spain, serving as vice president of Communication for her sorority and conducting psychological research to investigate how college students’ time perception, prospective memory and self-concept are affected by attention problems. She was also inducted into the university’s chapters of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Throughout her summers, she interned for an economic and community development organization (SEDA-COG) in her hometown designing marketing materials and creating educational packets to encourage energy conservation, as well as organized and operated booths at local events to promote the organization’s services. Upon graduation, Renee returned to SEDA-COG to put her psychology research skills to use and explored the effects of the Marcellus shale natural gas industry on the region and created informational manuals for employee use when writing grants. The positions she held within the organization inspired her to seek a degree that would teach her how to help other companies and non-profits promote their core missions, services and products through the use of captivating media. Renee is excited to begin this new journey and looks forward to the opportunities iMedia has to offer.
Stephanie Schwartz has always said, “Everyone loves the Internet, but some people love it more.” She is firmly in the latter category and has come to Elon to study the Internet in all its forms, which includes learning the many technologies that power it. A Ramapo College graduate who double majored in American Studies and Communication Arts with a concentration in Media/Cinema studies, Schwartz felt that her technological prowess was severely lacking. And after a stint in healthcare PR and as a community journalist, she finds herself at Elon. She has spent her entire life in the New York metropolitan area, and, after finding that she could name all 70 towns in Bergen County, N.J., (in addition to going to every one of the libraries in the BCCLS system), she felt she desperately needed to find out what it's like to live in a market that has a country radio station. She finds herself most interested in anything involving the Internet and Internet culture, including analytics. The Internet, to her, means the future, and she is very excited about its potential.
Kelsey Sullivan grew up in Westfield, N.J., and after attending The Lawrenceville School, she continued on to Elon University. She graduated in the spring of 2012 with a B.A. in Human Service Studies and a minor in Spanish. Throughout her undergraduate career, she took advantage of Elon's many opportunities to study abroad and studied in Honduras twice, London and Spain. Kelsey combined her passion for service work with art in the fall of 2011 when she implemented a photovoice project in Honduras. She spent several months teaching 18 former street children to tell their own stories through photography, empowering them to spark discussion about the world they live in. Kelsey's love of photography developed early, and after high school she began her own equine photography business. Kelsey is excited about the opportunity to combine her humanitarian interests with the Interactive Media skills she will gain in the next year.
Cory Watson was raised in Mebane, N.C. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s in Communication and concentrations in Journalism and Broadcasting. While in school, Cory managed the sports section of his university newspaper and worked as on-air talent for his campus radio station. He also worked as a contributing writer for Rivals.com, covering Duke and Appalachian State University athletics. After graduating, Cory shifted his focus to Triangle area media. He created media for Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, worked as a content developer for Raleigh's VisionPoint Marketing and is currently working as a broadcast technician for the University of North Carolina Center for Public Television in Research Triangle Park. While part of the Elon iMedia program, Cory hopes to explore web design and networking, as well as build on his experience as a videographer.
Dioni L. Wise was born and raised in Kinston, N.C. After being a lifelong Duke fan, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism and a second major in Spanish. During her collegiate career, Dioni wrote articles, shot and edited videos, and programmed interactive graphics for The Daily Tar Heel and its website. She also wrote sports articles as a freelancer for the News & Record in Greensboro, where she completed summer internships in 2007 and 2008 as the last Landmark Scholar. If Dioni could travel to every corner of the world, she would. She participated in three study abroad programs in Sevilla, Spain (Fall 2007), Mexico City, Mexico (Spring 2009) and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (Summer 2009). Dioni researched information in English and Spanish to design and program Flash-based, interactive graphics for http://livinggalapagos.org/2009/, which is the award-winning, student-produced website about the human impact on the Galapagos Islands. After graduation, she became the public safety reporter at the News & Record. She covered crime and breaking news, maintained The Crime Scene blog and Twitter account, and updated the newspaper's website daily. She has been heavily involved in the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) since 2005, serving as an officer in the Carolina Association of Black Journalists at UNC and a founding officer/member of the Triad Association of Black Journalists in North Carolina's Piedmont region. Dioni is excited to combine her experience in traditional journalism with new multimedia skills to create innovative forms of storytelling.
Juanita Wrenn is a graphic designer with more than 25 years experience in the design field. Her business, Wrenn Works, specializes in merging art, design and illustration. Juanita has a keen interest in color theory and infographics. In addition to her creative work, Juanita tutored students in the local elementary school. While working with students and teachers, she realized the potential of interactive teaching materials. This interest in interactive education, along with the desire to offer interactive marketing media to her design clients, lead Juanita to the Elon iMedia graduate program. While there, she hopes to merge her love of education with her design experience. Juanita’s dream job is to develop interactive teaching/informational materials for museums. Juanita was born and raised in Carrboro, N.C. She graduated from high school at the N.C. School of the Arts and attended the Corcoran School of Art & Design. She received a BFA in Studio Art from UNC Chapel Hill. She calls both N.C. and Alaska “home.”
Bayan Yousif was born and raised in Bahrain, a small island in the Middle East. Her first venture toward the field of communications began during an internship with Hill and Knowlton, an international PR agency. After graduating from the University of Bangor-Wales with a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance, she started working for Hill and Knowlton for two years, focusing on event management and press office and social media management, eventually finding herself solely managing clients. Working for a PR agency, although a drastic change from the banking sector, allowed Bayan to acquire new knowledge and experience a newfound passion for the media and PR worlds. Bayan has recently been awarded the Fulbright Grant to attend Elon University as a cultural exchange between the United States and Bahrain. Through this, she hopes to learn more about the media field in addition to getting more involved in media content production. Bayan would love to learn more about the importance of social media, specifically its effect during crises. She also wants to gain knowledge about the industry to develop her career and improve the media industry back in Bahrain. Bayan also enjoys volleyball, capoeira and painting.