All posts by Nikki O'Meara

In the Moment

Posted on: April 18, 2017

As we come to the close of this academic year, it is time to pause and reflect on this year of “new faces and new spaces.” We end the year having added 36 new faculty over a span of 18 months and a sparkling new media center that nurtures the birth of new ideas every day. It is indeed a greenhouse where ideas sprout and take a life of their own.

It is important to remember that new ideas sprout from seeds, many of which were sown by professors like Bob Albers and Darcy Greene, who will retire this year. Bob is a legendary figure among our broadcasting students. Three decades ago, he was given a difficult challenge of creating a broadcasting program with limited resources. Like the engine that chanted “I think I can,” he has mentored generations of broadcasting students. At a recent alumni event in Los Angeles, I was touched by the genuine outpouring of goodwill from those who have benefitted from his mentorship and gone on to successful careers.

Bob is also one of the architects of the Media Sandbox, a signature program in our college. Bob’s definition of the Sandbox as a curriculum and creative community has stuck with me. And the new faces and spaces in our college are a manifestation of this creative community he envisioned. Generations of undergraduate students with a yen for making movies will remember Bob through the Albie awards that were created in his honor.

Darcy Greene was one of the first professors in the college to teach interactive media. From designing websites to e-books, Darcy’s skills evolved with changes in technology, media and journalism. Although she has won numerous awards for her photography and design, she prides herself on the awards her students have won and her face lit up when we talked about her students who have gone on to stellar careers. Darcy will be recognized this year with a lifetime achievement award from the Society for Newspaper Design.

In Bob and Darcy, we find the inspiration, values, intellect and dedication required to build something new. They have served as pillars of broadcasting and visual communication in the college and their legacy has now evolved into the Media Sandbox.

Bob likes to day, "The Sandbox is both curriculum and creative community." My hope is that the Sandbox is a space that fosters creativity, community and collaboration in the media arts, where work is play.

Too often these days, we worry about results and awards. In doing so, we lose the joy of the process - the process of creating and the process of teaching. When focused obsessively on outcomes, we become oblivious to moments of “being in the zone” and finding joy in everyday experiences.

Bob and Darcy can retire with satisfaction, knowing that they have instilled in their students and colleagues the notion that the journey is as important as the destination. There is more joy in the process than in the reward. Let’s be intentional about enjoying the process because work is play.

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Sandbox Summer Classes to Provide Creative Outlet for MSU Undergraduates

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If you were that kid in high school carrying a camera around to capture the latest and greatest, designing for yearbook, sketching and drawing, even playing video games - the College of Communication Arts and Sciences has entry-level media and communication classes just for you.

Now, every Michigan State University undergraduate student with a passion for creativity will have a shot at delving deeper into their chosen craft this summer as ComArSci’s Media Sandbox unveils 13 completely online class offerings.

For the first time ever, these creative classes are available to students outside of the college. That means students studying traditionally non-creative topics will get the chance to gain a deeper knowledge of creative skills like photography, videography and design from one of the top communications colleges in the country.

















“The classes will improve your skills beyond what they are now and give you insight into a craft you’ve always loved,” said Karl Gude, director of the Media Sandbox.

Students can take the online classes individually or earn “badges” by taking specific classes together. Acting like a coat of arms for newly developed skillsets, the badges include: The Illustrator, The Gamemaker, The Animator, The Filmmaker, The Web Designer, The Graphic Designer and The Creative. Each badge completed not only provides additional skills but also personal pride points for LinkedIn profiles, resumes, personal websites and more.

About the Media Sandbox
The Media Sandbox is a “creative state of mind,” said Gude. It’s a place where play is work and where “people collect, collaborate and do creative things together.” Students in the program not only benefit from learning and exploring creativity, they also gain knowledge through workshops, field trips, experienced speakers and dedicated faculty.

“I’m excited to spread the word about Sandbox,” Gude told us. “We’re not just a curriculum, we’re a community and we’re growing. There will be lots of events coming up that will be open to all.”

Ready to Enroll in Sandbox Summer Classes?
Media Sandbox is still accepting applicants to these fully online summer classes. Visit the Sandbox Summer Classes website to learn more and apply today.

By Nikki W O'Meara

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AD+PR Alumna Finds Success as Producer and Development Executive

Posted on: April 11, 2017

As a freelance director, producer and development executive for unscripted television and digital series, Melanie Reardon ’99 looked out to the crowd of film students in front of her and offered sage advice on the world she works in every day. She shared knowledge gained from her experiences developing and working on shows like National Enquirer Investigates, Broke-Ass Bride and Chopped and for brands like VOGUE, Vanity Fair, Glamour and most recently, People.

Reardon just wrapped the first season of American Doers for, with Happy Marshall Productions. She is the co-creator and executive producer of the series, and came to ComArtSci to speak with students about the business of producing, including the process of developing and pitching ideas, working with production companies and networks and the importance of people skills in her line of work.

Among the many tips and tricks Reardon shared with the students on her visit, the one item she stressed the most was the art of the coffee run. Because just like the others who came before her and those following in her footsteps, Reardon started out as a production assistant.

“Getting coffee is step one because it gets you into the meetings with the executives. It builds trust. Get the coffee and lunch orders right and then people start trusting you with more,” said Reardon.

Reardon explained that menial tasks like grabbing coffee or lunch for executives shows you can follow directions, you listen and take initiative. “Once you prove to me that you can do that, you’re going to be taking field notes, you're going to be sitting in development meetings, you're going to be producing. And that’s how it starts. You gotta take the coffee order,” she said.

Reflecting back on MSU
As an undergraduate student in the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Reardon studied advertising. She wanted to make commercials, and would take any classes that would give her the skills needed to make that dream a reality. With the help of her academic adviser, Dr. Larry Red, Reardon was able to build a curriculum that prepared her for a future in production.

“He knew I was a unique student and I had a unique set of experiences, skills and interests when I came to MSU. He really dug in and made sure I was taking the right classes, I had the right tutors. I was able to pull from different parts of the ComArtSci umbrella,” recalled Reardon.

She took advertising, journalism, production and law classes that prepared her for the real world. In the beginning of her career, Reardon started as an intern working for National Parks Magazine in Washington D.C., an experience that helped her realize the power of “putting yourself out there.”


Melanie Reardon

Building a career
After a few years working in events, media relations and production, Reardon spent three seasons on the Food Network favorite, Chopped where she picked up industry knowledge from the strong women she worked with every day.

“A lot of the people I’ve worked with over the years have been very inspiring and influential to me. Certainly, Co-Executive Producer, Vivian Sorenson on Chopped and, Executive Producer, Linda Lee who created the series… Those women are fierce and incredible,” said Reardon.

After Chopped, she landed at Condé Nast working with some of the most iconic brands in the world, meeting, collaborating and spending time with magazine editors and producers.

Reardon told us, “There is a certain tingle that you get when you walk into the Condé Nast building and you go to a meeting at VOGUE or Vanity Fair and it’s a pinch-me moment. It’s like wait, how did I get here? I’m just a girl from Mason.”

Working with and Advil
In her latest project, American Doers, Reardon partnered with James Marshall of Happy Marshall Productions to tell real, honest, uplifting stories of people in America. As host of the show, Marshall completely immerses himself in the lives of the people he meets, working in their businesses and walking in their shoes.

“For me as a producer, the most rewarding work is telling the kinds of stories that matter to me and I had a fantastic opportunity to do that with James,” said Reardon. “We believed so much in this project, we knew somewhere, somehow there was somebody that was going to resonate with this message and care about it as much as we did. That happened for us when we met with People and Advil to pitch the series.”

The first season of American Doers is available on As for other projects coming up? Reardon said she always has something cooking, but there is nothing she can share quite yet.

By Nikki W. O'Meara

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ComArtSci Remembers Leo V. Deal

Posted on: March 22, 2017

Beloved professor, Leo V. Deal, Ph.D., passed away on March 11, 2017. Leo was a pioneer in the Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) program at Michigan State University and a Chairman of Audiology and Speech Sciences (ASC) for 12 years. He was a Distinguished Alumni of the department, an ASHA fellow, a Professor Emeritus and a charter member and co-founder of Sparrow Hospital’s Mid-Michigan Oral Cleft and Maxillofacial Consultation Clinic, "Cleft Palate Clinic."

Leo Deal

Leo’s greatest gift to CSD may have been his creation of the study abroad program, Communicative Disorders in the British Isles, which began in 1984 during his last year as Chairman of ASC. It remains the oldest and longest consecutively running overseas study program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders in the United States.

For those who knew him, Leo will be remembered as a steadfast student advocate. He knew every student by name, and never forgot them - even over the past year, he would ask about students that he remembered.

His students and colleagues will always view Leo as a gentleman and a scholar, with unwavering integrity, compassion and a commitment to education as a bridge to human understanding.

Leo leaves behind Nola (nee Arndt), his devoted wife of 64 years; son Eric (Sherrie); daughter Nancy (John Beaver); grandsons Taylor and Mason (Whitney); granddaughter Emma; as well as loving nieces and nephews.

A private burial took place on Wednesday, March 15. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Leo V. Deal International Enrichment Fund, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, at Michigan State University.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

For more information -

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Celebrating Communication Arts and Sciences Through Water

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In recognition of World Water Day (March 22, 2017), this month’s blog focuses on water.

One of the strengths of ComArtSci is our focus on both communication arts and sciences. Long before STEAM, the integration of Arts (A) into traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas, came into vogue, our college has been a leader in the fusion of arts and sciences. Recently, I was asked to co-lead an initiative on campus to celebrate MSU’s leadership in water research. This initiative, titled Water Moves, was intended to incorporate the arts with the science of water to effect better stewardship.

ComArtSci has sponsored a number of projects to promote the arts and science of water, including The Great Lakes Echo, a publication produced by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, an event at the MSU Museum displaying photography by Camille Seaman of melting ice and shrinking habitats in the arctic and antarctic, and water games produced by Elizabeth Lapansée, Ph.D., assistant professor in both ComArtSci and the College of Arts and Letters.

Growing up in India, I experienced the scarcity of water during my childhood and teen years. Monsoons were irregular, as they still are, and insufficient rains in the catchment areas led to frequent droughts.

I remember having to get up early to stand in line for water that was delivered in a truck. The water truck would arrive before the crack of dawn and each person in line was given two pots of water. To make sure that the water did not run out before our turn, sometimes my parents and I would get in line by 4 a.m. With plastic and metal pots and buckets, we would push and shove and jockey for position in the line, which led to fights. The futility of such pettiness only reinforced the art of waiting patiently for water.

About a five-minute walk from this morning pandemonium was a serene beach, where the waves from the Bay of Bengal would rise and fall. Against the rising sun in the east, the shimmering ocean was dotted by fishermen in their small boats. The irony was not lost on us that we were a stone’s throw from an ocean of water that was utterly useless. Desalination was dismissed as an option because it was far too expensive.

Held hostage by the drought, people of the city would turn to the heavens to implore their Gods for mercy. Christians would hold fasting prayers, Hindus would hold special ceremonies and vigils and scientists would try cloud seeding. But nothing excited the heavens as the drought dragged on.

So it went every year, our fate in the hands of the capricious monsoon rains, which could be stingy one year, generous the other and downright violent sometimes. When the rains came, it was near delirium and we would play in the water until we could take it no more. It would pour in torrents and overburden the drains that were no match for the deluge. And the monsoons would whip up cyclones, which would bring days of nonstop rain and bruising winds that would knock out power.

We would huddle around a battery-operated transistor radio, listening to weather reports. Low lying areas would flood and the poor, particularly the fishermen who lived near the ocean in huts and shanties, would lose their homes to the surging waters. Joy would eventually give way to misery, as we braced for malaria and cholera.

When I moved to the United States, I was struck by the quality and abundance of water. We don’t realize that drinking water right from a faucet or taking a long shower is a luxury that is not available to a large portion of the world’s population. We take water for granted. I confess, I am as guilty as the next person for not being a good steward of water.

To make a difference, we need both the sciences and the arts. I believe the science of water is far more advanced than the human will to act upon the scientific knowledge. Water Moves MSU is an attempt to animate scientific knowledge into human behaviors of environmental stewardship. And what can move us more than music, art, dance, drama or eloquent words? Join us as we embark on this movement of water at MSU.

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How to Spot Fake News: Educating the Next Generation of Journalists

Posted on: March 21, 2017

fake news

In an effort to educate students on “fake news”, faculty from the School of Journalism in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences are working to include fake news topics in their courses, teaching students to understand the definition of fake news and its different applications.

A big part of sniffing out real news from the fake is learning how to detect misinformation and promote media literacy.

“Our graduate-level social media class (JRN 821) has four weeks dedicated to 'fake news',” said Rachel Mourao, assistant professor in the School of Journalism. The class covers “misinformation, verification and political discussions on online networks.”

Students are taught to analyze how misinformation spreads on social networks, as well as strategies on how to detect and debunk false stories. But, that may be a tough job to accomplish.

It can be difficult to say with certainty whether something is 100% fake news right now. According to Mourao, some sites are not only in the business of fake news, but also post several real news stories with an added layer of opinion. Others are one-hit wonders, but never gain traction again.

“It is fairly common for them to just aggregate news stories from mainstream media and add a twist, like a sensational headline that actually never delivers. It is an issue that is much more complex than saying 'this is real' and 'this is fake,'" said Mourao.

Fake news is something the faculty and students at ComArtSci are working together to combat. A handful of faculty from the college, including Mourao, met for a roundtable discussion in March to discuss fake news with graduate students. Many are leading the charge on how to spot and fight fake news.

“The round table brought together so many different perspectives on this issue,” said Mourao. “It looks like we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to media effects and information processing. I look forward to the outcomes of all the research that is being conducted here.”

Though not a topic that can be fixed overnight, Mourao is working with a group of researchers to uncover the different types of fake news and their conceptual distinctions. This includes analyzing the impact of fake news on news media trust and building a taxonomy of false or misleading news articles.

By Nikki W. O'Meara

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Speaking of Water: Celebrating World Water Day

Posted on: March 17, 2017

Senior Photographer

Join us in celebrating World Water Day at ComArtSci and WKAR with leading experts Joan Rose, Xiaobo Tan and Bruno Basso. Through a short speed talk and Q&A with the audience, each will share their research on water, from its effect on your health to how drones and robofish are helping make positive changes.

Following the talks, a distinguished lecture will be held by Menachem Elimelech, Roberto Goizueta Professor of Environmental and Chemical Engineering from Yale University. 

The afternoon session is moderated by Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

When: Wednesday, March 22 from 3-5 p.m.

Where: WKAR Studio A, Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Enter at the south lobby of ComArtSci Building, 404 Wilson Rd.

Parking is available in adjacent Trowbridge Ramp #5 1149 Red Cedar Road 48824

World Water Day is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

At MSU, experts in water are tackling the biggest issues of our century: water and health, water and food, water and energy; addressing infrastructure, new technologies and data for better decision making to manage our water resources.

Can’t make the event in-person? We’ll be streaming live below and at

If the player does not connect, set your browser to allow the flash plug-in


Meet the Speakers

Joan Rose, College of Natural Resources, Fisheries & Wildlife

Joan Rose, Ph.D.
Toilet Talk
What happens to the flow when you go? Learn about the importance of water and its quality to our Earth. Rose will also discuss the lack of sanitation and the global stresses on the bio-health of our planet, as well as solutions to combat these issues.

Joan Rose is the 2016 recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize, the world's most prestigious water award. She is also the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research, Dept. of  Fisheries and Wildlife.

MSU College of Engineering. August, 20156

Xiaobo Tan, Ph.D.
Robofish: Make “Sense” of Water
MSU researchers are exploring the use of sensor-rich robofish for observing natural waters: feel the temperature, map harmful algae and even stalk invasive species. See the technology in-person, learn the challenges and hear Tan’s perspective on how robotics will shape our understanding of water in the future.

Xiaobo Tan is MSU Foundation Professor, Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering

thumbnail 3.26.37 PMBruno Basso, Ph.D.
How are the plants doing? Ask the drone
Learn how researchers are using drones to measure plant health, nutrition, and water use by plants. The detection of water or nitrogen stress by drones can help improve food production and enhance the efficiency of water in agriculture.

Bruno Basso is University Foundation Professor, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  His research focuses on integrating remote sensing technologies with crop simulation systems to enhance water and nutrient efficiency, and the sustainability of agricultural systems.

Presented by Water Moves MSU

Water Moves MSU is a campus-wide initiative to empower community action, inspire creativity, and instill a sense of urgency to respect and appreciate the most prevalent and precious resource on our planet.

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Senior obtains internship with Jackson National Life Insurance after working in student role

Posted on: March 10, 2017

After working for two and a half years at the Jackson Zone on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing, advertising senior Mitch Marier is now the corporate social responsibility intern at the Jackson National Life Insurance headquarters in Lansing.

“Shortly after I started working at thePicture1 Jackson Zone, I was assigned more responsibilities,” Marier said. “I started with entering data into their systems and the more comfortable I became, I started doing customer service calls. It was cool to get my hands on a variety of tasks and growing my skills in an area I never thought I would.”

Marier said while he worked at the Zone, he took advantage of their programs such as resume building and networking 101. They would often have leadership chats, where the executives from Jackson would come in and talk more about future career opportunities with their company.

“I definitely think Jackson’s career prep for students helped me tremendously in getting my first internship at the State of Michigan,” Marier said. “I gained experience at this first internship in writing and event planning, which I knew would translate well to the internship I have now with Jackson.”

“Jackson in Action” is Jackson’s internal volunteer team and it has its own email inbox. When people want to sign up for service projects, Marier is their point of contact. He also updates the internal website with content and writes recap stories, then shares them with the rest of the company to share all of the good work Jackson is doing.

Another part of the internship is promoting the volunteer events themselves. Marier’s last project was organizing Jackson volunteers for Impression 5 Science Center’s LEGOPalooza. Marier set up the schedule and was the main contact for Impression 5. Along with large events with local nonprofits, Marier also facilitates volunteering events such as cooking dinners at the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan or the Mother Theresa House in Lansing.

“I love going to these community events and seeing the people Jackson helps,” Marier said. “It’s amazing to actually see the tangible effects Jackson has on the Lansing community.”

Marier said seeing the financial impact that Jackson has on the community is one of his favorite parts of the internship.

“Seeing smiles on people's faces is so worth the work I do every day,” Marier said. “It’s great to be a part of a company that really cares about its community. Being from the area especially, it’s great to see how committed Jackson is to the Lansing region.”

Every two weeks Jackson also does a ‘jeans day.’ Everyone pays $5 each to wear jeans and each day it goes to a different charity. Marier always helps put together the promotional material for this and he also helps promote internal communications such as making posters of calendars with upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Currently, Marier is working on a story about the Jackson Zone. It’s about what the Zone does and how employees can work part-time and gain valuable business experience. The stories he writes go out to Jackson’s business partners, in the quarterly newsletter and Jackson’s website.

With a minor in public relations, Marier became heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) his junior year. He was also on the media relations team of MSU’s student-run PR firm, Hubbell Connections. Marier learned of the internship with Jackson through the PRSSA weekly email blast.

“I definitely wouldn’t have gotten either of my internships without PRSSA,” Marier said. “Hubbell Connections is what I talked about in my interviews. These groups at MSU introduce you to what potential employers want from you and the portfolio you should have. They have definitely prepared me for interviews, internships and given me valuable writing samples for the future.”

By Meg Dedyne

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American Dream

Posted on: February 15, 2017

Over the last few weeks, I have heard from students and faculty who have expressed concern about President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Anxiety is high among students from Muslim countries who fear that they might be deported or not allowed to return if they leave the United States. They also worry about the effects of the travel ban on family and friends who were ever so close to their American dream, but now barred from entering the United States. 

The American dream animates not just our nation, but people from many nations. It fans the flame of audacious hope among young men and women from around the world who somehow believe that they can land at JFK with a backpack and a suitcase and can become a part of the American dream even though they are foreigners. Current CEOs of Microsoft, Google, Adobe and PepsiCo are only a few examples of those who came to the U.S. as graduate students and realized their American dream.

I was one of these dreamers, roughly 30 years ago, who was fortunate enough to enter the United States and experience the welcoming hospitality and generosity of American friends, mentors and colleagues. Though an immigrant citizen, I now consider the U.S. my home and I am proud of it.

To me, the American dream is more than aspirations of upward mobility or a better economic future. It is entrenched in the ethos and ideals of democracy, openness and the egalitarian and humanistic ideal that all individuals are equal. In addition, values such as decency, compassion, hard work, due process, rule of law, unbounded optimism and an indomitable can-do spirit make us the beacon of hope and the city on a hill for people around the world. The soft power of our country lies in these immutable values that are no match for any arsenal.

I empathize with the refugees and dreamers who have waited many years to experience the American Dream. I empathize with our own disaffected citizens for whom the American Dream has been elusive. And I see the potential threat of terrorism that cannot be ignored. But we should be careful not to conflate these emotions and jump to conclusions of cause and effect.

I don’t have an answer. But I know it is important to resist the reflex to batten down the hatches because it will snuff out the flame of freedom in the hearts and minds of the citizens of the world.

I assure you that we remain committed to an environment of inclusion, mutual understanding, cultural openness and free expression. If you know of a member of our community who has been affected by these developments, I am available to listen and help. Further, we have developed a ComArtSci resource page on this topic that I encourage you to check from time to time.

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New Learning Spaces Up Experience and Professional Skills for ComArtSci Students

Posted on: February 13, 2017

JRn top photo
Immersive experiences within new spaces at the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences are empowering students with the acumen they'll need to excel in competitive, tech-driven media careers.

The college's new Spartan Newsroom and Immersive Media Studio invite students to collaborate, gain real-life experiences and build professional skills. The newsroom welcomed its first students in fall 2016 and went "live" during the General Election, while the immersive studio opened for classes in January 2017. The innovative, cross-functional spaces equip students for 21st century jobs by engaging them in the development and delivery of news, animation, game design and immersive interactive media content involving motion capture, augmented and virtual realities.

"Having the experience to work within a professional pipeline facility will make a student's transition into a real-world situation smoother and more successful," says Stacey Fox, professor of animation, mixed realities and immersive journalism in the MSU School of Journalism. "It also teaches students the importance of respecting a production space."

JRN_Motioncapturre_5The expansive learning spaces sit in the middle of the first floor of the ComArtSci building. Students and faculty are free to move seamlessly from one area to the next when producing or creating content, or when working on collaborative media projects. Many high-activity areas and broadcasting studios are viewable through glass walls, giving passers-by a Today Show experience.

Fox says students often remark on how lucky they feel to have such a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility in which to produce new works. She adds that the new space and studio places ComArtSci on the forefront alongside major universities like Arizona State University, California Institute of the Arts and New York University in offering curriculum and training in global media production.

"Our space is unique in that it has the latest in motion capture and learning technologies for classroom collaboration, production and immersion," says Fox. "Spartans and the general public are able to see the whole process in real time when they walk by and look through the floor to ceiling glass windows."

Learning by doing, learning with others
Julie Dunmire was in the initial group of students to experience the power of the new spaces. The broadcast journalism student worked in the newsroom on Election Day 2016, and was the first person to read a live report from the news anchor desk. Dunmire currently takes a class in the newsroom and sometimes interacts with students from other ComArtSci disciplines who are learning and working within the immersive spaces.

"News is not in 'silos' anymore," says Dunmire. "We have to stop thinking about ourselves as 'photojournalists' or 'writers' or 'anchors' because we will all have similar tasks and roles in a digital age."

Like Dunmire, other students believe that what you learn in a traditional classroom is far different than what you can learn in an immersive or real-world environment.

Media and Information undergraduate Michael Grassi focuses on 3D animation studies and is applying his craft through the immersive studio. His big take-away, he says, is learning to operate advanced motion capture systems and apply motion capture files to 3D animation.

"The new systems we have access to are professional grade equipment, and the products professionals use to make a living," says Grassi. "Knowing how to operate them and having access to their benefits as a college student preparing for the professional workplace gives us invaluable experience. It shortens the learning curve potential employers would face if they were to hire us."

JRN_Motion_CaptureCreative Advertising undergraduate Michael Cagney echoes the sentiment. Cagney is continuing to learn the ins and outs of the studio's motion capture system, and has begun to integrate motion capture skills into his other animation abilities. Those experiences, he says, have strengthened his confidence, and are shaping the direction he will take when he graduates in May.

"I've learned how to operate the motion capture system for myself and for others in a professional setting," he says. "I would like to pursue a job in animation and possibly mocap."

In addition to applying their skills in news, animation and motion capture arenas, students and faculty can design and produce virtual reality broadcasts and 360 animation renderings for immersive storytelling. The center opens up possibilities for cross-campus collaborations in almost any area, including those underway in athletics, health and medicine and theatre.

"Along with offering our courses in the space, we will also be utilizing the immersive media studio to host events such as game design jams, animation festivals and this February the Cultural Digi Summit in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center. We will have industry leaders in technology and culture in residence for two days utilizing the new spaces," says Fox. "It's a very exciting time to be at the MSU School of Journalism and ComArtSci."

By Ann Kammerer

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