COM Expands Dept. For Day

Daniella DeVivo, Reporter

The Department of Communications is hosting Media Immersion, a conference for high school students interested in pursuing careers in media and getting a hands-on experience.

Senior communications major Ellen Hoffman has been planning this event since March with the help of Communications Department Media Manager David Thackara.

The day-long event is scheduled for Oct. 10 in Insalaco Hall. Stu- dents are able to choose sessions

that focus on writing, graphic design or video. Communications Department professors Melissa Sgroi, Dan Kimbrough and Doug Martin will conduct the hands-on sessions. The goal is for the students in attendance to leave with products that they made, according to Hoffman.

This communications department is different from others in that it allows underclassmen to be a part of student media programs. The department encourages students to use equipment and publish their work within the first year of classes. This is one thing organizers want to get across to the high school students.

Hoffman attended a similar conference at Wilkes University when she was in high school and loved the experience. She was able to choose which sessions interested her and get a feel of what life is like on a college campus. She wanted MU to offer some- thing similar – but with a focus on authentic experiences.

”The goal is for them [students] to take something away, like, ‘This is really cool! I want to go back there and do it all the time.”

Thackara said the conference may become an annual event.

“In a nutshell, we want to bring high school students to campus, have them use our equipment and they really get a feel for not only what we do here at Misericordia but what you would be doing as a practicing media professional,” said Thackara.

Hoffman said the experiential learning will draw students to attend.

“Our goal is to have every work- shop be a hands-on workshop because no one wants to sit there during a boring lecture. They are not going to pay attention. So the goal is to teach them something quick, or at least to advance their knowledge in something and then have them make something out of it,” said Hoffman.

Regardless of student interests, there is something they can learn through Media Immersion, ac- cording to Hoffman. They have the option to choose their workshops.

“Basically everything that we do here at Misericordia, they are going to be able to do in one day through Media Immersion,” said Thackara.

Current communications majors will work the conference and assist the high school students throughout the day.

Hoffman said a panel of alumni who work in the media field will offer a question-and-answer session at the end of the day. They will explain how Misericordia helped prepare for them for real world media work.

Hoffman added that sometimes students in the Wyoming Valley may have the impression that if they want to make it big they have to go to a big school. She said she hopes to show local students why Misericordia could be the school for them.

“A lot of people think if you want to be in the media, then you have to go to New York or LA, which is great if you want to go there, but you don’t have to, and I don’t think people know that.”

After over 80 students signed up to attend the conference, radio and photography sessions were added to give more students the chance to get hands-on experiences in a number of different types of media outlets.

Students who attend the Media Immersion conference are eligible to win an iPad mini.

Funds for the event were raised by Hoffman and other communications students through bake sales and 50/50 drawings.

Local high schools that plan to attend include Hazelton Area, Hanover Area, Tunkhannok Area, Dunmore and Wyoming Valley West.

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