Scripps Day Explores Post-Graduation Success, Highlights College’s Initiatives

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By Seaira Christian-Daniels, Andrea Frazier and Kerry Tuttle

"It's a good day for the college."

That's how Philip Campbell, director of the J.W. McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems at Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication, described Scripps Day held Tuesday at Baker University Center.

The eighth annual event featured programs focused on students' professional skill development and post-graduate success as well as opportunities made possible through the partnership between the Scripps Howard Foundation and the college. The day included a panel discussion devoted to professional skills needed in today's communication industry; an expo spotlighting student organizations' creative activities and other college initiatives; and a closing ceremony where the second annual Scripps Innovation Challenge was launched.

'Success after Graduation' panel discussion

Visiting professionals, including Ohio University alumna Taylor Mirfendereski, shared résumé, interview and networking tips during the panel discussion titled "Developing Professional Skills — Success After Graduation." The six-person panel also tackled such topics as job search etiquette, using social media appropriately and resilience in a competitive job market.

Representatives from the E.W. Scripps Company included Karen Hite, director of talent acquisition; Tanya Minella, senior recruiter of broadcast talent; Emmy Owens, recruiter of digital professionals; and Taylor Mirfendereski, a recent Ohio University graduate who now works for WCPO Cincinnati. Also on the panel were Andy Alexander, Scripps Howard Visiting Professional in the Scripps College of Communication and former Washington Post ombudsman, and Roger Cooper, associate professor in OHIO's School of Media Arts and Studies.

After Minella detailed the key aspects of a successful résumé including links to social media sites as well as to online portfolios, Owens elaborated on the importance of "connecting socially."

It is critical that students be active on the "Big Three" social networking sites: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, Owens said. Students need to recognize that potential employers can and will look at their social networking activities.

"The main thing when it comes to social media is to be professional," Owens said. "When I go to LinkedIn or Facebook, I don't want to see a picture of you at the bar."

Mirfendereski stressed that networking is imperative. Attending local conferences in your field of study and approaching professionals from the standpoint of how they can help you learn are effective methods to building connections that could help land a student an internship or job, she said.

Alexander urged students to make looking for a job their jobs.

"The media ecosystem is so huge," he said. "There is no alternative but to jump in. Start now. Take two or three hours and start to come up with a plan. … This is not something you do extracurricularly."

Scripps Student Expo

Many students in the Scripps College of Communication spend their college years spotlighting other people and organizations. During the Scripps Student Expo, many of those same students and the college itself turned the spotlight inward.

Each school within the college put its best foot forward to demonstrate to students and the visiting representatives from the Scripps Howard Foundation all the great things the college has to offer.

The expo also allowed the college's hidden gems a chance to take the center stage.

Jason Cassarly, a graduate student in the J.W. McClure School of Information and Telecommunications Systems, and Sean Martin, a senior in the program, volunteered to work the program's table at the expo.

"This (program) is OU's best kept secret," Cassarly said, noting that the program now offers online courses which allows for greater accessibility for working students.

Martin is president of the Telecommunications Systems Management Association (TSMA), a student organization that links ITS students with alumni and equips them with real-world ITS experiences.

The TSMA organization, internships and a professional project simulation called the Accenture Challenge were the three things that ITS Program Director Philip Campbell said he really wanted to show students who attended the expo.

"This is a general visibility-raising (event)," he said.

The ITS program, which graduates about 30 students per year, is the smallest in the Scripps College of Communication, and while Campbell said he didn't know what to expect at the expo, he was happy with the final result.

Scripps Innovation Challenge kickoff

Scripps Day ended with the launch of the second annual Scripps Innovation Challenge and the announcement that this year's competition would include more prize money and more time to engage in the contest.
The Scripps Innovation Challenge is a campus-wide contest in which students create innovative solutions to actual challenges posed by the media industry. Last year, more than 90 students participated in about 20 industry challenges and a total of $20,000 was awarded to contestants. The Scripps Innovation Challenge has upped the ante this year by adding $5,000 to the prize money at stake.

"We think this is either the most lucrative or one of the most lucrative student competitions in the United States," said Alexander, who is one of the event facilitators. "The extra $5,000 is a unique student prize to the solutions that connect best with diverse audiences.

The Scripps Innovation Challenge will also be opening earlier this year to give faculty and students the chance to begin assembling a team and brainstorming ideas in early December, rather than January. Students of all majors are encouraged to get involved with the competition that is a reflection of the exciting and changing times in the media industry.

Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth provided the day's closing remarks, commending the college's students for their impressive work and thanking the Scripps Howard Foundation for another successful year of partnership.

In an e-mail to the college's faculty and staff, Titsworth commended them for their participation in the day, which included "authentic dialogue about the future of our relationship as it can be leveraged to further benefit students."

He wrote, "This Scripps Day set a new standard of excellence. I could not be more proud of our college. My day started by walking into Baker Center, turning the corner from the escalator and seeing the 'conference room' hallway lined with banners representing each of the schools, WOUB, and the college. From start to finish, we were a unified, impressive force."