iMedia Students Brave New World

The seventh class in Elon's Interactive Media program features 36 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.

Salma Altantawy from Cairo, Egypt, graduated from Cairo University in 2012 with a B.A. in Journalism. As an undergraduate, Salma worked as a writer and editor for online publishers in the Middle East. After graduation, she worked at Microsoft as an editor at MSN.com. Through obtaining an M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon, Salma looks forward to strengthening her knowledge about digital media and gain an international learning experience.
 

Tyler Anderson was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and raised in Elon, North Carolina. In spring of 2011, he graduated from Elon University with bachelor of science degrees in Computer Science and Computer Information Systems. During his undergraduate studies at Elon, Tyler formed a passion for developing intuitive, user-friendly applications for mobile devices. Following graduation, he went on to work as an iOS and Mac front-end programmer and quality engineer at The Iconfactory, a design firm located in Greensboro, North Carolina. While there, he wrote code and ran testing on a number of applications, from small utility apps like Take Five and Dine-o-Matic, to games like Astronut, to the company's premier twitter client, Twitterrific. While working on these projects, he became more and more interested in user experience and user interaction design. He will focus his time in the iMedia program on investigating these areas and how they're likely to evolve as new points of entry continue to emerge and existing ones change on the digital frontier.

Tim Babiasz was born and raised in Philadelphia. A 2009 graduate of Penn State University, Tim has always had a passion for storytelling, creativity, and literary analysis & criticism. In the five years following graduation, Tim worked at a nonprofit financial college in the Philadelphia area, making a difference in student counseling, marketing, communications and web development. He moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, in early 2015, where he has spent the last six months working in SEO marketing and web content development. Through the iMedia program, Tim hopes to build upon past experiences and further develop his digital communications and marketing skills. Outside of the classroom, Tim has recently become engaged, performs and records music, and will never turn down a conversation on good movies, bad movies, baseball or hockey.

Francis Badger, 23, was raised in New Bern, North Carolina. She recently graduated with a BA in Communication with a concentration in Integrated Media from William Peace University. Right after undergraduate, Francis decided to dive into further education in order to pursue her goal of becoming a professor. She is thrilled to be a new member of the iMedia program and looks forward to growing in the skills she already gained from her undergraduate career. 

 

Hunter Barnhardt was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. After graduating from Presbyterian College in 2010 with a B.A. in English and Secondary Education, he has worked both in the classroom and administration at a number of schools. For the past three years, he has worked at Chatham Hall as a creative writing teacher, cross country and soccer coach, and, most recently, director of the school’s Annual Fund. Through managing a 12-month fundraising schedule, involving printed design pieces, student and alumnae volunteers, and ghost writing for the Rector and distinguished alumnae, Hunter discovered a passion for targeted marketing and interactive storytelling. He looks forward to expanding that passion through the iMedia program, with the hope of joining the creative department of an advertising agency. He and his wife, Schay, were married in 2012 and live on the campus of Chatham Hall with their hound dog, Ranger.

Lauren Brame was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Human Biology in the summer of 2015. While at N.C. State, she was an active member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Alpha Delta Pi sorority. During her later years as an undergraduate, she realized her passion for working with technology and thinking creatively, and that is why she is so excited to join the iMedia program. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, working out, playing tennis, making jewelry, painting watercolors, spending time with friends and family and relaxing with her cat, Leo.

Parker Brown is a native of Durham, North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in Strategic Communications from Elon in 2012. As an undergraduate he served as the manager for the men's soccer team. He also enjoyed Winter Term opportunities to further his learning outside of Elon's walls through both a course at the Sundance Film Festival and studying the evolution and impact of media on society in a course called “From Gutenberg to the Web,” which took him across Europe. Parker carried his passion for soccer into the startup world with KYCK.com for a time before trying to figure out the next step. He is looking forward to continuing his Elon experience and finding his focus over the next 10 months.

Haley Burton was born and raised in northern Virginia. She graduated Wofford College in 2014 with a bachelors of arts in History. As an undergrad, she took advantage of many travel opportunities, including studying abroad in Tuscany, Italy, for a semester and spending a month studying ecological preservation in Australia and New Zealand. She also worked as a research assistant in the college library’s special edition archives, transcribing letters and correspondences between Civil War soldiers and their families. An avid equestrian since the age of 5, she interned for a national horse sport magazine called The Chronicle of the Horse in the summer of 2013, and returned to work full-time at the publication as a staff writer and photographer after graduating college. Now enrolling in Elon’s iMedia program, she’s excited and inspired to further develop her career and make her mark in the media industry.

Bethany Coats was born and raised in Apex, North Carolina. As a 2015 graduate of Elon University’s School of Communications with a BA in Strategic Communications and minor in Music, Bethany enjoys creativity in many forms.  Her passions for graphic design and interactive media have been reinforced by a broad array of experiences ranging from social media consulting for a local funeral home to program development for a New York-based public relations firm to creative logo design for a start-up company. Bethany is also a musician, singer and arranger, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and been featured on two EP recordings as a member of Vital Signs a cappella group. She is excited to join the iMedia program, as she continues to develop the technical skills necessary to leverage her creative talent.

Ricky Clegg is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina. He graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, minoring in English. While attending UNC-Charlotte, Ricky’s interest in media grew. He learned camera work, video editing and graphic design, as he served as media chair for his fraternity and created media for the Campus Activity Board as an intern. After graduating, he shot and edited videos for multiple organizations and artists in the Charlotte area. Ricky hopes to continue to develop his media skills while attending the iMedia program. He hopes to pursue a career in advertising or sports media.

Chiara Costanzo graduated from Elon University in Spring 2015 with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and minor in Digital Art. While at Elon, she produced various documentary shorts via the elondocs Production Program and developed promotional materials for university-sponsored cultural events as a graphic designer with Creative Resolution. Chiara was also a featured artist with production credit in the Re[gen] New Media Festival. She lived and worked in New York City as a digital marketing intern for Blue Fountain Media during her summer with Elon in New York, and furthered her work experience with another marketing internship the following summer in San Diego. Though she is still relatively new to the creative discipline, having altered her course of study multiple times during her college career, Chiara is more than excited to delve into all that iMedia has to offer in terms of broadening her skillset and portfolio. She is inspired by the capacity for creative expression and design to affect its viewers on both visceral and emotional levels, hoping to carry this inspiration into a career she can be truly passionate about. 

Carolyn Crenshaw was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her undergraduate studies at Appalachian State University in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, North Carolina, with a bachelor of science in Sociology & Social Inequalities in May of 2015. She was inspired to enter the iMedia program after witnessing the power of communications and media on non-profits and social movements. Carolyn hopes to use her degree to bring hope and change to those who need it most. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, watching movies and lazing around with her cat.

Catherine Keara Donick was born and raised in Warren, Pennsylvania. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2015 with a B.A. in Public Relations and minors in English and Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management. During her undergraduate studies at Penn State, she was actively involved in the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon and was a staff member and show host for The LION 90.7 FM, Penn State’s student run radio station. Keara is excited to expand her knowledge of digital media and discover a new outlet for her creativity through the iMedia program.

Carolyn Fonzi, raised in northern Virginia, graduated in May 2015 from Elon University with a degree in Strategic Communications and a minor in Digital Art. In the summer of 2014, Carolyn participated in the Elon in Los Angeles program, working as a digital marketing intern at Big Picture Media. Since then, she has done freelance design work for Big Picture Media, as well as other local companies. Through Elon’s iMedia program, Carolyn hopes to further develop the skills needed to pursue a career as a creative designer.
 

Kelly Foran is a Chicago native, who graduated from Elon University last spring with a bachelor's degree in Marketing and a music business focus. As an undergraduate, Kelly was the President of Iron Tree Blooming, Elon's meditation society, and the vice president of music technology for Limelight Music Group, a music promotional organization for up-and-coming student artists. During the summers, he worked as a marketing research intern at ACS Custom, a music marketing intern for Vitalic Noise, and a sales intern at Interscope Records. Kelly has always been inspired by the arts, especially the beauty that can be created through artistic collaboration, and is determined to mix this passion with his entrepreneurial spirit. Kelly is interested in learning more about web and app development through the iMedia program, in addition to the other interactive tools required to launch and sustain the innovations of today and tomorrow.

Victoria Foxwood was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and graduated summa cum laude from Hendrix College in 2010, double-majoring in Neuroscience and Leadership Studies, and minoring in Education. After graduating from college, Victoria moved all over the United States, working as an educational researcher, an instructional designer and a high school chemistry teacher with Teach for America. Victoria's natural passion for design, innovation and efficiency drew her to Elon's iMedia program, and she is excited for the opportunity to garner invaluable skills in front-end development, app development, UX/UI optimization and virtual reality engineering, among others. Victoria recently relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, from Los Angeles, and is currently in the process of renovating her new home. She spends as much time as possible hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking and gardening with her husband and two dogs.

Mike Garland is a native of Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is a 2015 graduate of Elon University with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and a minor in Exercise Science. As an undergrad, he was a member of the American Advertising Federation, as well as the Elon Transfer Student organization. As an undergraduate, Mike focused primarily on advertising, public relations and marketing. During his internship with Euro-Pro (creator of Shark and Ninja brands) he was drawn to the online marketing and design aspects of their web-based endeavors. This sparked the initial interest in the iMedia program, where he aims to strengthen his multimedia and design skills. As a career, Mike hopes to produce creative and interactive content over a variety of media to strengthen user experience and online presence.

Jacob Grady is from St. Louis and graduated from Elon University in 2014 with a degree in Strategic Communications. Jacob worked several odd jobs out of college, including customer service for Southern Season and interning for one of Madison Marquette’s malls. He is excited to go back to Elon to continue his education and better himself.
 

 

Olivia Gray was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from William Peace University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, with a concentration in Interactive Media. Through her experience at WPU and her internship as the social media & marketing intern at VAE Visual Art Exchange, she has gained the understanding of how digital media impacts society. Her central points of interest include social media strategy, graphic design and video editing. In her free time, Olivia loves to film and edit YouTube videos, paint and watch lots of Netflix. She hopes that the iMedia program will give her the experience, knowledge and skills to become a well-rounded employee for future employers.

Caranita Harrelson, 28, is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina. She is no stranger to mass communications with a bachelor of science degree in Broadcast Production and an associate's degree in Recording Engineering. Upon graduating North Carolina A&T State University in May of 2014, she launched two independent production companies, Eye Is Right Pictures and Eclectic Dynasty. Through obtaining an M.A in Interactive Media, Harrelson is expanding Eclectic Dynasty into web design media, as well as continuing her development of Eye Is Right Pictures. As she is no stranger to working for herself, Harrelson looks forward to spending more time with her young son and family, while still pursuing her passion in music as an independent artist.

Tarah Holland is a native of Virginia and a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. As an undergraduate, a strong interest in print media led her to serve in numerous roles for the student newspaper, The Register, including a two-year stint as editor. As a Landmark Scholar, Tarah began her career as a reporter for The Roanoke (Va.) Times and later worked in newsrooms at the Greensboro News & Record and The Times in Shreveport, Louisana. Several years ago, she transitioned to the travel and tourism industry and continued to broaden her communication skills as a public relations/social media manager and tourism development manager. Tarah is excited about Elon’s iMedia program and eager to delve into web and application design and development. She also hopes to enhance her photography and video production skills.

Nicole McEwan was born in Queens, New York, and since then has lived in both Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina. She began as a self-taught graphic designer at the age of 14 and discovered that she had a natural talent within that field. This encouraged her to pursue it further and study design as an undergraduate. In 2013 she graduated with a B.S. in Graphic Communications from North Carolina A&T State University, while also serving as the design editor for the university’s yearbook staff for three years. Nicole plans on becoming an unparalleled designer and intends to adopt other valuable skills while attending Elon University. She is very eager to see what the Interactive Media program will bring and believes it will aid her in reaching her goal of working as a graphic and web designer overseas.

Jordynn McKnight grew up in Woodbridge, Virginia, and graduated from Elon University in 2015 with a B.A. in Strategic Communication and a minor in Sport and Event Management. She always had a strong interest in the arts, stemming from artists’ influences within her family. During her undergraduate experience, Jordynn immediately got involved with various organizations as a public relations coordinator and graphic designer. She worked with Elon’s student-run public relations agency, Live Oak Communications, as an account executive and then later as a creative coordinator. She also interned at local creative wedding firms and an event firm in New York. As an iMedia student, she’s hoping to gain more training in graphic design among other media skills in order to explore and thrive in the advertising industry. 

Stephen Moffitt grew up in Burlington, North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.A in Marketing in May 2015. While at UNCG, Stephen played on the men’s soccer team. He also served as the men’s soccer team representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Counsel and served as the chairman of the UNCG Athletics Adopt-A-School committee. Stephen spent his summers playing PDL soccer for the Carolina Dynamo, coaching UNCG Soccer Camps and working as an intern for Piedmont Pharmaceuticals. Stephen is honored to be apart of the Elon iMedia program and looks forward to using this experience to explore a career in digital marketing.

Jake Moser was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from N.C. State with a degree in Communication in December 2014. Originally, he wanted to pursue journalism, but, after a series of internships, decided the professional news world was not for him. But he still enjoyed using words (and occasionally graphics) to tell a story that he hoped would inform and entertain his audience. Jake worked for the Wolfpack's daily student newspaper, the Technician, and eventually became the editor of the news section his junior year. It was at the newspaper that he first became interested in the way that different communication media could be used together to form a cohesive product or message. Though he's not exactly sure what he wants to do after graduating from the iMedia program, he's fascinated by digital media and wants to combine that with the skills he'll be learning this year at Elon.

Michelle Murphy, 25, is from North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2012 with a B.S.B.A. in Management and International Business with a minor in Spanish. She spent the summer of 2012 in Ronda, Spain, learning about the language and culture before entering the workforce. Michelle worked as a community manager on the Walmart account at Pace Communications until November 2014. She then worked at Merz North America as a channel marketing coordinator specializing in email before she began the iMedia program. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys helping small businesses, like her mother’s (Authentic NC Goods), develop their digital strategies and online presences. After enhancing her interactive media skills at Elon, she would like to continue her career in marketing for both small and large businesses.

Tira Murray is a native of Los Angeles. She graduated from Bethune-Cookman University in spring 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Television and Radio production and a minor in Spanish. Tira’s highlights from her undergraduate career include being a radio personality and producing her own show for her undergrad’s radio station, Daytona’s Urban Jukebox. She studied abroad tino Salamanca, Spain, and interned at KIIS FM in Los Angeles. She aspires to continue her passion for media and pursue a career in production for television and radio through the iMedia program.

Tereza Novotna, 23, grew up in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, and left to come to the United States to start college at Elon University. She graduated in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in International Business. While taking business classes, she realized she needed skills to convert creative ideas into real visual representation. During her senior year, she added a Digital Art minor, and later decided iMedia is a great fit to further develop in digital communication. She’s enjoyed being a student-athlete in cross country and track & field, and will use her last year of eligibility in track this spring competing as a Phoenix.

Tyler Parrott graduated from Elon in 2015 with a major in Strategic Communications and a minor in Philosophy. For the duration of his time at Elon, he worked at Campus Recreation as a facility manager. Additionally, Tyler interned for Alamance Arts Council his senior year. During the summer of 2014, he took a road trip across the country, spending time in Colorado and Utah and ultimately working for a solar company outside of San Francisco. In his free time he enjoys longboarding, travelling, watching movies and exploring. He is a native North Carolinian and grew up in the Lake Norman area. Tyler is entering the iMedia program with a passion for photography, videography and social change. He looks forward to all that this opportunity and next year will bring.

Courtney Penezic from Raleigh, North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2015. Courtney was a double major and received B.A. degrees in International Studies and Public and International Affairs. As an undergraduate at UNCW, Courtney was able to take advantage of many study abroad opportunities and traveled on four separate occasions, including spending a semester in London. It was through these experiences that she realized the importance of social media and technology. Courtney has limited experience in the field but hopes to use the skills and knowledge she gains from the iMedia program to pursue a career at an international marketing firm.

Artaeza Poole-Gwynn is a native of Burlington, North Carolina. She graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in the spring of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Communicators Systems. During her undergraduate studies at A&T, Artaeza worked as a peer mentor, served as a web design intern with the Conservation Trust of NC and worked as enrichment camp instructor on campus during the summer. She also took time to create designs for various events and organizations on campus. After graduating with honors, she was given the opportunity to travel abroad to Italy and Greece with other students from A&T. Outside of pursuing her education, Artaeza enjoys spending time with her friends and family and traveling. Artaeza is exited to learn more about video production and web design in hopes of pursing a career upon completing the iMedia program.

Sayantan Purkayastha, 25, was born and raised in Kolkata, India—the alleged art and culture capital of the country—and despite having a formal bachelor’s degree in science with a major in bio-chemistry, the arts were always his true calling. He has always been fascinated by the world of advertising, which seemed to breathe life into inane products or services to make them desirable to the masses. So he attended a brief foundation course in advertising from Calcutta Media Institute, where he had the chance to interact with industry professionals and the proverbial stalwarts of the Indian advertisement circuit at a personal level. He is a thorough believer in the power of start-ups and joined as a copywriter for one such agency. In a brief 6-month stint, Sayantan ideated and executed campaign strategies, and designed for several local restaurants, bars, e-commerce portals and the sports team Atletico de Kolkata (that won the inaugural Indian Soccer League). He’s a creative writing freelancer, who has penned articles, reviews, press releases and website content for print and electronic media alike. Sayantan is super excited to start class at Elon iMedia and sharpen his skill set (especially design and editing), which might open new avenues for him in the future.

Taylor Smith graduated from Elon in 2015,with a degree in Business Marketing. While at Elon, he was a teacher’s assistant for the Entrepreneurship Leadership Program, head of Greek Life community service and a tour guide for potential students. During his junior year at Elon, Taylor studied abroad in Australia for a semester and has previously lived in Canada, France and Singapore. His previous work experience includes digital marketing internships at Osborn&Barr, AGDATA and Pedal the Cause. He hopes to use the skills learned in the program to pursue a career in digital marketing within the technology industry.

Kaitlyn Stahl is a creatively curious individual who was born and raised in Michigan and Canada. She studied Professional Writing and Rhetoric and Creative Writing at Elon University and graduated in 2015. While studying abroad in London, she interned at a media company that introduced her to the digital side of publishing. This experience fostered a passion for different media and expanded her professional goals. Throughout the rest of her studies at Elon, she enjoyed learning about visual design and the theories behind it. She is looking forward to the iMedia program, so that she may pursue these passions further while developing a strong skillset in various media. She hopes to take these skills into a career in publishing, especially one related to children and education, and she ultimately wants to get back to London one day. In general, Kaitlyn loves learning about everything, having late night discussions and reading until she falls asleep.

Erin Turner grew up in Maryland and graduated in May 2015 from Elon University, where she majored in Strategic Communications and minored in Sport and Event Management. While studying at Elon, she worked for various student media organizations, such as The Edge (The Pendulum’s magazine), Live Oak Communications, WSOE and “E-Talk,” where she would eventually find her love for entertainment and production. During Erin's senior year, she was one of 50 students in the country to be awarded the 2015 American Advertising Federation Most Promising Multicultural Student Award. After graduating, she interned at Leo Burnett as a celebrity services intern in Chicago, where she focused on production and worked directly under the vice president of celebrity services. Erin is excited to return to Elon University and is looking forward to broadening her knowledge and gaining new experiences and insights in digital media from the Interactive Media program.

Lexi Veara, a Cape Cod Massachusetts native, graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2015 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Communications. As a Coastal Carolina undergraduate, Lexi had the opportunity to serve as the Greek Life Student Coordinator and participate in a study abroad to London and Paris. During her travels, Lexi found her passion through blogging about her experience. With very little experience in this field, Lexi was attracted to Elon’s iMedia program, where she hopes to gain more knowledge about the digital arts. In her spare time she enjoys running, yoga, reading and traveling. Lexi hopes the program will open doors to opportunities that combine the digital arts and her wanderlust.