Yesterday’s Students Today

Destiny Anderson, Reporter

Stephen Filipiak, Web Content Coordinator, discussing his time at working in both the Communications and Public Relations field.

I spoke with University alumnus Steve Filipiak, whose work you see when you log in to the university’s website.  Filipiak’s educational background began in 2005, where he pursued a double major  in communications and sports management. Following that, he earned his certificate in web design and production from the University of Scranton in 2008, then returned to earn his Master’s in Business Administration in 2015. Filipiak works as web content coordinator  in the enrollment marketing department. Some tasks that fall under his broad job umbrella include creating marketing communications strategies for a  positive impact on enrollment, maintaining the content management system for the university website, training faculty and staff to maintain their website pages via the content management system, and maintaining the university’s official social media channels.

Filipiak participated in multiple internships while completing his undergraduate degree. These internships took place both on and off campus, in various areas of communications. Off campus, he interned with 98.5 KRZ, a commercial FM radio station located in Pittston, Pa. There he was trained on sound board operations while he did overnight shifts, worked with the promotions team, and took part in event and artist performance setup and tear down, among other tasks. This experience allowed him to witness how professionals interacted, such as how the promotions team worked with artists and labels to set up studio time. This internship also tied into some of his on campus work: Filipiak also worked at the campus radio station, Cougar Radio where one of his tasks was creating audio “spots,” such as advertisements and promotional clips from artists or sponsors. He would create audio spots on campus, then take these clips to his internship and get feedback from the KRZ staff. He said the professional feedback was unique, constructive and invaluable.

Filipiak continued to explore his broad interests with second internship, this one at WBRE TV in Wilkes-Barre. At WBRE, Filipiak gained hands-on experience using newscasters’ cameras. Filipiak had already had video training in the communication department’s studio, where he learned skills, including proper positioning, zooming, and framing. Those skills  put him ahead of the game compared to many other interns. One of Filipiak’s most memorable and impressive experiences happened when the WBRE staff, who follow strict quality guidelines, asked Filipiak to operate a camera during that evening’s news.

“This was an indication that they felt confident in my abilities to do it. They saw me, they felt good with how I was working the cameras and framing the shots,” Filipiak said of the experience.

He explored another interest in the area of sports communication. On campus, Filipiak wrote for The Highlander, where he had a sports column titled “Steve’s Sports Spotlight,” in which he highlighted athletes and had a question-and-answer sessions with them. He also had an on-campus internship with the sports information office under Scott Crispell, who currently holds the title of Assistant A.D. for Media, Community Relations, and Sports Information Director. There, Filipiak gained writing experience, web design and production experience, kept in-game stats, announced games, completed season reviews, and wrote end-of-game recap stories. Lastly, Filipiak did freelance work with Wilkes-Barre newspaper The Times Leader, where he did sports reporting. This was real-world experience, and he continued to do freelance work for The Times Leader after graduation as well.

“I think what really helped that writing ability was being out in the field and having to meet that deadline,” Filipiak said.

Filipiak has much praise for what makes a Misericordia education special. He believes that the liberal arts approach to education gives students the opportunity to be knowledgeable in a number of fields, which is invaluable in today’s constantly evolving job market. He also believes his classroom experiences shaped his future and gave him tools that he needed to  adjust to meeting deadlines and develop time management skills. However, the thing that made his education truly unique and constructive was the personalized attention from faculty and staff that all students receive.

“Faculty and staff are always very welcoming, and I think that kind of environment just inspires you to want to learn, to do better, and to pick up knowledge so that someday, you can have a career in the field that you want to pursue,” Filipiak said.

As we wrapped up our interview, Filipiak concluded with praise for the internship opportunities available. However, one distinct and noteworthy point he made is how interns can help pave the way for future interns. Once an internship site has a good intern from Misericordia, they will frequently seek more interns. This is one way the university maintains a positive reputation with professionals near and far.

Filipiak offered some concluding words of wisdom to current students, with an emphasis to mass communications and design undergraduates: “Do as many internships as you can, don’t be afraid to ask questions, make sure that you put it on yourself to take the initiative to do it because you’re going to have the studios, these clubs, student media – you’re going to be able to do it, but you’ve got to have that drive to do it because no one’s going to hand you anything.”