By Tasha Saint-Louis
The week of March 20th to March 24th was the 4th Annual Mass Communications Week at Lincoln University’s Mass Communications Department. Filled with events and networking opportunities, students were able to come together and experience the many avenues they can take with a Mass Communications degree.
The eventful week opened Monday with an inside look into the major on its first day. There was a ‘Mass Comm Minors Fair’ that allowed students interested in minoring in Mass Communications to gather intel and information about how to do so. Following the fair, there was a gathering hosted by Dr. Nicole Files-Thompson, Interim Chair of the department, held for all current and prospective Mass Communications students to discuss changes in the program and the requirements of the program. It was revealed that students could no longer take ART-102 Intro to Computer Arts and ART-220 Graphic Arts I as electives to complete the major. This was decided to make it simpler for students to complete the minimum 72 hours’ worth of credits outside of the department’s counted courses to have an accredited degree. Additionally, students will no longer be required to do an internship for credits. Rather, students will be able to choose from an internship (COM-490), working at the media center (COM-454), managing the school’s paper The Lincolnian (COM-453), or independent study (COM-495) in order to complete the ‘Practical Elective’ requirement. This was changed to accommodate the interests of students and to find alternatives for students who intern over the summer but cannot afford to transfer the credits over.
Following the gathering, the first event of the week was held: The Alumni Panel. Hosted by WBOC16 news producer, Lincoln alum and adjunct professor Nicole Webb, the event served to give graduating seniors and first semester seniors insight into life after Lincoln. The panelists each shared stories of their struggles and accomplishments while being sincerely honest about the post-undergraduate lifestyle. Some of the panelists spoke of being broke straight from college and how they were able to seize any opportunity they were given in order to start a career. All of them shared that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to end up in a field different from what you studied, the most important thing is not to abandon what you truly wish to do. For Kiara Jackson, Class of 2015, who is currently working in administration at an HBCU in the south, this is not what she saw for herself. However, she is working on her dream of running a pageant contest on the side while maintaining ‘the 9 to 5.’ Ultimately, each of the panelists urged seniors to remain open to career opportunities, prepare to build yourself up from the bottom, and to hustle for your dream.
The next day of Mass Comm Week, Tuesday, anchorman Ron Martin of WGAL came as a guest speaker to inform students about breaking into the field of journalism. As a seasoned journalist, three-time Emmy award winner and contributor to his community, Martin was able to give students some perspective on how things now are not so different from how it was then. Later that day, an event was held for students to learn how to dress professionally for the work place. The Student Business Fashion Show dubbed ‘WERK’ was put together by graduating senior Jemilah Alghali using clothing from the on-campus thrift store The HUT and featured models from the Ziana Fashion Club. Students also participated for prizes from L’Oreal, Carol’s Daughter, and The HUT.
Wednesday of Mass Comm Week began early with a refreshing visit from guest speaker Cherri Gregg, Esq., a KYW Newsradio Community Affairs Reporter. The main theme as she spoke was about taking risks when changing paths. Originally an established attorney, Gregg always hoped to work in media and took a risk when starting from the bottom in the field of radio. She shared with students that the best thing to be when starting is humble. Taking an opportunity to learn the works from all of the workers, being kind and respecting everyone in the team, and working odd hours of the day to build experience was what really helped her to propel in her field and be where she is now.
Later in the day, Victoria Neidigh, the VP of Strategic Initiatives at Comcast NBC Universal, visited as a guest speaker in an interactive session with students. Neidigh asked students about their interests, asked about their summer plans, gave out her information, and gifted students with a notebook and Mika Brzezinski’s new book Knowing Your Value. All in all, Neidigh encouraged students to practice the crafts they are interested, to stay in touch with her and hone their networking skills.
Thursday proved to be the most eventful of Mass Comm Week with visits to stations, the Student Recognition Awards, three guest speakers, and an awareness event. A group of students were afforded an opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to visit the 6ABC WPVI station and the iHeart Radio Group. They were given tours of the stations and were able to see some of the reporter and DJs in action. While these students were in Philadelphia, others attended Lincoln University’s Spring Annual Student Recognition Awards and received recognition for exemplary performance in their department. Later in the day, TV show host Quincy Harris of “The Q Show” visited campus to speak to students. An energetic TV personality, students enjoyed hearing his story of success after years of hard work and dedication. Following Harris, guest speakers Mia Jackson, Comedienne and UGA Mass Comm Grad, and Ransom Rockwood, an award-winning photographer, shared their own stories of struggles and success. Rockwood also announced the winner of a competition held for students entitled ‘Life at Lincoln,’ in which they submitted a photograph of their perspective of life at Lincoln. The winner, Alundea Nelson, was awarded an on-the-spot photoshoot with Rockwood while 2nd through 5th place winners won cash prizes. The day closed out with an awareness and benefit event for Haiti in which Rachel Augustin represented her organization Retrouvailles Entre Pelestois. Augustin shared Haiti’s history and relayed the organization’s purpose of rebuilding one city at a time.
The last day of Mass Communications Week wrapped it up with tours of the university’s Lion Media Center and an opportunity to have professional headshots taken for portfolio sites. The 4th Annual week of events was filled with success and excitement, a feat that would not have been possible without the week’s founder, Dr. Jamila Cupid, and all of the department’s faculty and staff.