Archive for the ‘school news’ Category

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Cinema program continues its growth

November 18, 2010

Cinema has always been an important part of the School of Communications’  curriculum, but this year it got a major face-lift with the addition of new faculty, programs and student activities.

“It’s really grown considerably,” said Kenn Gaither, the associate dean of the School of Communications. “In the last couple of years we’ve added new faculty, we’re growing our student organizations and programs. Cinelon and Elon Docs, for example, are both getting larger.”

Included in these improvements is Elon’s hiring of screenwriter and director Paul Castro as a visiting faculty member. Castro is most well known for his screenplay for the movie “August Rush,” a major motion picture starring Keri Russell and Robin Williams.

“What I believe I can bring to the cinema program is experience and passion,” Castro said. “I certainly have the experience to teach screenwriting and filmmaking, but more importantly is the passion, the passion for my students’ success.”

The changes in the cinema program have not gone unnoticed in the professional world.  Elon was recently one of 13 colleges and universities selected to participate in the Sprite Refreshing Filmmakers Challenge.  The contest, which gives students the chance to work on a professional commercial, is only open to the selected schools and includes some of the most prestigious film programs in the country.

More than anything, Elon cinema students have the opportunity, now more than ever, to hone their skills and to one day become important members of the very competitive entertainment industry.

“I just love what I do,” said cinema student Josh Chagani. “I love being behind the camera or in front of Final Cut, and I’m really glad that the support system here is as amazing as it is.”

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Alumni Updates

April 8, 2010

Our alumni are engaged in some exciting projects and initiatives. We want to make sure we’re keeping up with all the exciting work you’re doing. So be sure to contact us at eloncommalumni@gmail.com with updates about what you’re doing. Send us any details about projects you’re working on, honors you’ve won or changes in your employment status.

  • Erin Barnett

    Erin Barnett

    ERIN BARNETT ’09 had a documentary she produced as a student broadcast in the spring on One Africa TV. Erin Barnett’s film, “My Name is Anita,” introduces viewers to Anita Isaacs, a former Periclean-in-Residence at Elon and an HIV/AIDS activist in Namibia. The “Anita” film was also screened in October 2009 at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in Canada. Barnett is now an assistant to Alex Gibney at Jigsaw Productions in New York.

  • AUDREY SEAGRAVES ’02 won one of 15 Tech Award Laureates for 2009, an award that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity. The online “Fair Wage Guide,” managed by Seagraves, is a tool to assist millions of workers in the developing world who live below the poverty level. Seagraves is Director of Programs for World of Good Development Organization, a non-profit organization focused on improving economic and social conditions for women and adolescent girls in the developing world who live on less than $2/day.
  • Alumni team that produced "Sequoia"

    Alumni team that produced "Sequoia"

    KATY BRANSTON, CONOR BRITAIN, CHRIS FORD, TIM JOHNSON, EMILY KAMISCHKE, LAUREN LIMERICK, KELLY MURTAUGH AND LIZZIE NAPIER, all 2009 alumni, produced a documentary titled “Sequoia: A Sailor and His Ship,” which won the North Carolina Filmmaker award at the Carolina Film and Video Festival in Greensboro, N.C. The students completed the all the filming and basic work in the fall semester Communications Fellows capstone course and then put finishing touches on the project in the spring with the support of elondocs. The film also will be screened at the Asheville Film Festival in November.

  • BILLY CAHILL ’09 won an award for his film “A Slice of Key Lime Pie” from The Canadian International Film Festival. The film, which Cahill made during his senior year at Elon, is about a college student’s attempt to impress a boy she likes as she prepares for her first date.
  • NATALIE FAVA AND TAYLOR JOHNSON, both 2009 alumnae, had their film “Elsewhere: 3 Stories Afterwards” selected for the 2009 Carrboro Film Festival in November. The film is about a woman named Sylvia, who collected everything and sold almost nothing from her family’s Army surplus store. What was left after she died in 1997 were three stories of American memorabilia stacked floor to ceiling in a building in downtown Greensboro, N.C.
  • SCOTT GUSTAFSON ’00, OLIVIA HUBERT-ALLEN ’09, TOM MULLEN ’00 and BETH ROBERTS ’07 spoke to a packed room of undergraduate and graduate students in February as part of a panel discussion titled “How to Win Friends and Influence Your Career.” All panelists agreed that networking was a necessary component of their job and internship searches. They acknowledged that students can’t be afraid to meet people and, most importantly, remember people.
  • RICH BLOMQUIST ’00, a writer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” who has won a number of Emmys for his work, co-wrote a book titled “Sexy Book of Sexy Sex” with “Daily Show” contributor Kristen Schaal.
  • HEATH OLDHAM ’00 on an Emmy award from The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter for marketing work he did for WTVR-TV CBS 6 news in Richmond, Va., earlier in June. Oldham, the promotions manager for the news organization, worked with two other people on the Emmy-award winning promotional spot featuring CBS 6 reporter Mark Holmberg.
  • MATT DAVIS ’09 presented a research paper in November at a scholarly conference of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Association for Asian Studies at Villanova University. Davis’s paper, “Loanwords in Lyrics: An Audience-Oriented Study of English in J-Pop Music,” examines English-language loan words in Japanese popular music.
  • COLLEEN CALLAHAN and CAROLYN KLASNICK, both 2009 alumnae, won the GLEE Photobucket Show Us Your Gold Star Potential contest administered by Photobucket. They submitted an episode of a series called titled “Transitions,” which Callahan produced in her seminar project class. (Watch the VIDEO.)
  • Bobby Hoppey

    Bobby Hoppey

    ROBERT HOPPEY ’09 saw a tough job market in the year leading up to his graduation, he built a “souped-up multimedia resume” that included a video spoof of “The Office” television program to show potential employers his creative side. CBS Evening News took note, too, and Hoppey was featured in a June 8 nationwide segment on the ways college graduates are marketing themselves in an economic recession.

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Alumni Spotlight: Laith Majali produces film, gears up to deliver May Commencement address

April 7, 2010
Laith Majali

Laith Majali

Alumnus and acclaimed filmmaker Laith Majali ’05 will deliver Elon University’s 120th Commencement address scheduled May 22, Under the Oaks in front of West Residence Hall. But in the five years since his graduation, he has been a constant source of support for students, faculty and staff in the School of Communications. He returns to campus several times during the year and lends a hand in the Elon in Los Angeles summer program. He valued his education at Elon and now shares his wealth of experience as a filmmaker, editor and photographer.

“Elon is where I got my base and was allowed to develop my own projects,” Majali says. “Doing my own projects and seeking out internships are the main things that have helped me out. And having mentors like professor Ray Johnson and (staff member) J. McMerty to look at my work and help me out, that was the big thing.”

Majali came to Elon in 2001 as the university’s first King Hussein of Jordan Scholar. He quickly distinguished himself as a campus leader, becoming an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow and Elon Ambassador, and joining the Intercultural Relations Club. In the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Majali served as a unifying voice during campus gatherings, sharing his Arabic culture with fellow students.

Embracing Elon’s engaged learning philosophy, Majali was active in campus media, regularly volunteering to videotape athletics events and Elon Student Television programs in addition to working on his own film projects. Called a “true student of film and photography,” he often could be found working late into the night in the School of Communications, honing his editing skills. In 2002, he received an Aegis Award for a music video he produced about his hometown.

‘CAPTAIN ABU RAED’

As a student, Laith displayed tremendous potential and promise as a filmmaker, and early in 2008 his hard work paid off when “Captain Abu Raed,” a feature film he produced and edited, won the World Cinema Audience Award for Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. (READ MORE ABOUT LAITH’S FILM.) The honor was one of the top bestowed on filmmakers at Sundance.

“From the moment we started, we never knew how far we could go, but we always thought good about it,” he says. “It’s gratifying to see all our efforts and the collaboration of 120 people from 16 countries end up in such a beautiful film.”

Since the film’s release, it has been screened all over the world. It is now available on DVD. (READ MORE ABOUT THE DVD RELEASE.)

READ MORE ABOUT LAITH:

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School of Communications announces leadership appointments

April 7, 2010
From left: Don Grady, Kenn Gaither, Jessica Gisclair

From left: Don Grady, Kenn Gaither, Jessica Gisclair

The School of Communications on Wednesday announced the appointments of two associate deans, with associate professors Don Grady and Kenn Gaither assuming their new responsibilities on June 1. Associate professor Jessica Gisclair will succeed Grady as the school’s department chair.

Dean Paul Parsons announced the appointments based on an internal application process and substantive faculty/staff conversations following the selection earlier this year of current associate dean Connie Book as associate provost for academic affairs. The Communications faculty voted to remain a holistic school with a single department chair and to add an associate dean rather than create multiple departments.

“We work well as a holistic school, and Don Grady, Kenn Gaither and Jessica Gisclair are terrific individuals with leadership talents that complement one another,” Parsons said. “They have the spirit of innovation that makes the School of Communications special, and their appointments also ensure continuity of our learning-centered mission.”

READ MORE …

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Student Accomplishments

April 1, 2010

School of Communications students have been honored and recognized by regional and national organizations this year for their work in and out of the classroom. Several others are participating in interesting research and service projects. Read about all they’re doing below.

Journalism major wins nationwide reporting competition

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith, a sophomore journalism major and features editor of The Pendulum student newspaper, was one of nine students nationwide to be selected for a Scripps Howard Foundation 10-day journalism study trip to Japan in its annual Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition.

Smith, a Communications Fellow, will begin the program June 11 and travel to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Students will meet with print, broadcast and online journalists in Japan and visit one of the largest newspapers in the world and Asian reporting bureaus for international media. They will also visit landmarks of historical and cultural importance.

READ MORE …

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The Pendulum student newspaper wins national Pacemaker award, named finalist in Online Pacemaker competition

The Pendulum won a national Pacemaker award.

The Pendulum won a national Pacemaker award.

The Pendulum, Elon University’s weekly student newspaper, received a 2009 national Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press on Oct. 31 at the organization’s joint conference with College Media Advisers in Austin, Texas. The Pacemaker is the highest honor ACP gives to its members.

The ACP Newspaper Pacemakers are judged by the staff of a Newspaper Association of America-member newspaper. They award general excellence in four-year college daily newspapers, four-year college non-daily newspapers and two-year college newspapers. Entries for the competition are judged based on their coverage and content, the quality of writing and reporting, the leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, layout and design, and photography, art and graphics.

READ MORE …

The Pendulum Online, the Web companion to The Pendulum weekly student newspaper, was named a 2010 finalist in the Associated Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker competition March 31.

The Pendulum was among 20 finalists in the small-school newspaper (less than 10,000 enrollment) category. More than 240 schools of all sizes entered the contest. Winners will be announced at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers conference in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 30.

READ MORE …

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Pendulum, Phoenix14News honored at SPJ Region 2 conference

The Pendulum, Elon’s weekly student newspaper, and Phoenix14News, Elon’s weekly student newscast were honored March 27 with Mark of Excellence Awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 2 competition in College Park, Md. The awards were highlighted by Phoenix14’s first-place win in the BEST ALL-AROUND TELEVISION NEWS CAST category. The show beat out schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Maryland.

READ MORE …

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Sophomore uses award to advocate for child victims

Megan Harrison

Meagan Harrison

They come to the center from the streets, broken homes and jails where they served time with adults. Dozens of Filipino boys, victims of sexual abuse, seek refuge each year at the Stairway Foundation south of Manila – a place where sophomore Meagan Harrison last summer spent two months volunteering through Elon University’s Ward Family Learning in Action Award.

Recipient of the 2009 honor, Harrison traveled to the Philippines to produce and develop print materials, a movie trailer, and other multimedia for children’s rights advocacy, community education, and outreach that the Stairway Foundation performs.

READ MORE …

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Live Oak wins awards for public relations campaigns

Live Oak Communications

Live Oak Communications

Live Oak Communications, Elon University’s student-run, full-service communications agency, received two awards Jan. 28 from the Tar Heel Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at the annual Spinks Awards banquet in Greensboro, N.C. The Spinks competition is a professional awards program for agencies in the Triad region of North Carolina.

Live Oak entered two categories for the Spinks Awards and won both. The agency won “Best Web Site” for its redesign of the Alamance Veterinary Hospital web site, including the creation of a social networking site called “Paw2Paw.” The agency also won the award for “Best Event,” for its Campout! Carolina campaign developed for EarthShare North Carolina.

READ MORE …

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Lumen Scholar studies media coverage of Indian terror attack

Hannah Williams (left) and Brooke Barnett

Hannah Williams (left) and Brooke Barnett

In the thick of a breaking news story such as the Mumbai bombings that killed scores of people, it can be tough for reporters to critique their own work, and that’s where Elon University senior Hannah Williams fills a need.

A journalism and English professional writing rhetoric major, the Minnesota native is working with her Lumen Mentor, associate professor of communications Brooke Barnett, to conduct a rhetorical analysis of news coverage from magazines in the United States, the United Kingdom and India following the 2008 attack.

READ MORE …

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School of Communications students honored by BEA

Students from the School of Communications were honored by the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts in several awards categories.

READ MORE …

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Embracing the digital world: Elon begins M.A. in Interactive Media

April 1, 2010
Inaugural iMedia class

Inaugural iMedia class

Elon University launched its one-year, full-time Interactive Media master’s program Aug. 3, 2009 and welcomed 35 students into the inaugural class. Another 36 decide to make the journey this summer, as the second cohort of students took the hallways of Powell to gain their master’s degrees. The iMedia program is designed to prepare students to take full advantage of the shifting and constantly expanding online media market. Students have learned to think strategically across media platforms, plan and create interactive media content consisting of text, images, sounds, video and graphics, and manage information for interactive news, entertainment and persuasive communications. They take classes on the second floor of Powell, and the program is under the direction of Professor David Copeland.

“This graduate program is designed to be at the vanguard of ever-changing media,” said School of Communications Dean Paul Parsons. “As citizens and consumers, we increasingly want to interact with our media content, whether it’s news, persuasion or entertainment. The graduate program will prepare Interactive Media students to be both creators and content strategists.”

In May, students finished their final, culminating projects that they put on display during an Interactive Media Showcase. During Winter Term, students traveled to London, Costa Rica or Panama and produced works for the public good:

iMedia student Paul Wagner talks about why he enrolled in the iMedia program.

iMedia student Linda Misiura talks about why she enrolled in the iMedia program.

Copeland said the second year of the program has undergone a few modifications, including shifting some electives to required classes, adding more instructors for the Digital Media Workshop and locking down the Winter Term fly-in experiences to Panama and Costa Rica more quickly.

“One of the great things about having a program that concludes in a year and has new students the next is the fact that you can immediately assess all elements of the program and make changes accordingly,” Copeland said. “Of course, because of the intense nature of the 10-month program, we’re constantly talking and seeing where changes might need to be made.”

Changes won’t be made to the kind of education the students will receive, though. They’ll continue to become quick experts in the field of multimedia and interactive storytelling, which will make them more marketable to employers when they graduate. And that has students psyched for the 10 months that lay ahead.

Bradley Mu’s excitement piqued last year, when he began sitting in on classes, as he prepared to make the shift from the magazine industry to post-graduate education.

“I felt like magazines are a slowly dying industry,” said Mu, a 2006 graduate in international studies from the University of North Carolina. “It’s all shifting online, and to go to this program would help me to write my own ticket. I feel like what I do with this degree is going to be creative and collaborative. I don’t know if I’ve ever been excited as much about anything in my life. It’s good to have a direction.”

Read more about the iMedia program:

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From the City of Angels to the City that Never Sleeps: Elon continues programs in New York, Los Angeles

April 1, 2010

The School of Communications has launched and revitalized two summer domestic internship programs the last two years. Students are able to spend nine weeks in either Los Angeles or New York, where they live, learn and intern.

Elon in LA

Marilyn McIntyre works with students in LA.

Marilyn McIntyre works with students in LA.

The Los Angeles program started in the summer of 2008 and continued last summer, with 38 students making the cross-country trek to the entertainment capital of the world. In the past, students have interned at places such as Fremantle Media, Inside Edition, Evolution Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Hollywood Life Magazine and E! Entertainment. Students are able to choose from courses that center on production, acting, business and PR.

Listen to Joanne Bateman talk about Elon and LA experiences.

Students also connect with alumni living in Los Angeles. The alums mentor undergraduate students while they’re still learning a new city and becoming invested in their internships.

Watch Kristin Hegel ’06 and Tim Johnson ’09 talk about the mentorship experience.

Lauren Kenney ’11 discusses her experience with the Elon in LA mentorship program.

To read more about the Elon in L.A. program, click the links below:

Elon in NYC

Elon in NYC

Elon in NYC

The School of Communications offered a revamped Elon in New York City program this summer that began in June with a few new twists and turns to enhance students’ internship experiences. Students completed internships in the Big Apple and took a course called The Streets of New York, which was taught by three Elon faculty and staff members.

In addition to the internships, students received affordable housing and mentoring opportunities with hundreds of Elon alumni and parents who work in businesses that focus on the arts, marketing, public relations, advertising, investments, banking, journalism and more.

Students accepted to the program were excited about the opportunities.

Jacquelyn DiNick, a senior Broadcast Journalism major, had already secured an internship with the CBS institution “60 Minutes,” so she was already planning on interning in New York in the summer. But she saw the Elon in NYC program as a fantastic way to complement her internship experience.

“I took Elon in New York as a supplement to my ‘60 Minutes’ internship,” she said. “I knew I wanted to have an internship in New York long before this program existed. But by doing this, I’m really immersing myself in the history of New York City. I’m getting a sense of the big picture.”

Former Communications Associate Dean Connie Book said the program enhanced students’ internship experiences.

“I hope this program takes a student’s internship experience and moves it from 50 percent to 100 percent. By studying the impact of New York City on life in America, in tandem with a professional internship experience, I think students will be highly engaged in a transformative experience.”

To read more about the Elon in NYC program, click the links below: