Peace, Love and Not War By: Sparty

Posted on: June 22, 2017

This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blog.

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My last day in Belfast was cool and informative. I’ve even picked up a bit of an accent. In the beginning, my friends, Troy and Myself were a we bit confused.  We didn’t know if Belfast was considered apart of Northern Ireland or just Ireland. I’ve over heard some of my friends being corrected by natives.

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Today, all of that was cleared up. There seems to be a division between Irish Catholics and Irish Proestants. The Catholics self identify as Irish and consider Belfast to be in “Ireland.” The Protestants consider themselves British and loyal to the Queen. They are the ones who consider Belfast to be in “Northern Ireland.”

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The peace wall is what separates Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods.  Things are not as bad as they were when the separation first started back in 1969. However, the war between the two are similar to the race war in America and has yet to come to a complete end. The purpose of the peace wall is to minimize violence between the two neighborhoods.

By Devinnia Marie (aka "Sparty")

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“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

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This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blog. 

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Sparty here! What a long, awesome day. When we woke up in Ballintoy, which is miniscule in comparison to Michigan State, we all packed up our bags and left our first hostel stay of the trip. We hopped back on the bus and head out for our first destination: Dunseverick Castle.

Dunseverick Castle was much different than the castle we went to on Wednesday. This castle is entirely in ruins, and the only parts of it left are two big, stone pillars. It wasn’t a long stop since there wasn’t a ton to look at, but it’s definitely interesting to see how time changes things. I mean, when you stop and think about it, back when that castle stood in all of its glory, I wouldn’t have been able to write a blog post about it.

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From there, we headed over to Derry, where we explored the wall surrounding the old city and learned its history. The wall was used to protect those in the old city from cannons being fired from enemies when the people of Derry were at war. Though they could fire over the wall, it was a smart tactic to build the wall so thick so that it was difficult to break through.

My favorite part of the day was hiking with all of the students up Slieve League, the tallest sea cliffs in Europe. It was hard to keep up since my legs are so much shorter than everyone else’s, and it was one of the warmest days Ireland has seen so far this year, but that four-mile hike was well worth it. The view was breathtaking, even for a doll who never breathed in the first place.

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If you’re interested, Shamrocker Tours posted a picture of us on their Instagram page, so go check it out! Staying at the hostel and being up in the mountains for so long these past few days have made me realize how much we rely on technology, and how we panic when we lose service or Wi-Fi. It has been an eye-opening experience to see how normal it is for people in other areas can do so easily without media and excessive technology.

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Sparty’s Adventure at Dunluce Castle & Giant Causeway

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This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blog. Min 1

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In the last two days, our trip of Northern Ireland was continued. Of course, the green spirit can’t be carried without Sparty, the mascot of Michigan State University.

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Sparty’s had an adventure at Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle, what’s more exciting? He visited a few locations where the Game of Thrones was filmed!

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Sparty has made some new friends. Many people in this region are pastoralists, raising herds of animals — mostly sheep — as a source of both income and nutrition. It’s impossible to drive 5 minutes here without coming across a flock of sheep. It’s true, there are more sheep than people in Ireland.

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By Min Wang

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Sparty Takes on the Guinness Factory

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This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blog. 

Today I had the great honor of going to the Guinness Storehouse with my friend Trevor. I was really excited to learn and taste the best beer in Dublin. I have personally never tasted a Guinness, but Trevor assured me that I would like it. When we arrived to the factory I was shocked at the size of the property. I learned that Guinness was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness with a 45 pound loan for 9,000 years. The tour was very insightful, but I felt I would’ve learned more if we had a tour guide.

Trevor1Trevor and I were happy to learn that Guinness had a whole floor dedicated to advertising. They had ads dating back to the beginning of their company. The picture below is from the first time Guinness was featured in a national paper. It was really neat to see that they have preserved Guinness artifacts, and that they are still in great shape today.

Another thing that we learned was that Guinness is important to the economy and the community. They sponsor many local events and have a great reputation as a whole organization.Trevor2

At the end of the tour we were treated to a fresh cold pint in their gravity bar. This bar is a 360 degree bar with great views of Dublin. I will say the I am not a fan of the beer, but I did learn a lot today. I can’t wait to tell my other friends about this day! I would also like to thank   Trevor for being a great guide, and for being an even better friend!

By Trevor Goslin (aka "Sparty)

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Communication Senior Scores Internship at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Posted on: June 20, 2017

When senior communication student Gabrielle Dolenga accepted an internship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, she figured her days would consist of sitting in an office, working at her desk. Little did she know, she’d be out in the city of Detroit, making new connections and gaining real-world experience. Gabi Featured Image

Dolenga works as a corporate communication intern. Though she found the internship on LinkedIn, she points to ComArtSci as being especially helpful throughout her job search. 

“ComArtSci has prepared me for this internship in many ways,” said Dolenga. “I used Career Services to improve my resume before submitting my application. The career fair also gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recruiter after I applied for the position.”

Dolenga notes that her public relations class helped prepare her for all of the writing her internship requires.

“A huge part of my internship is writing for BCBSM's two blogs: A Healthier Michigan and MI Blues Perspectives,” said Dolenga. “ADV 225 definitely prepared me for this writing. In this course, I had to create my own PR campaign based on a topic I was given at the beginning of the semester. Writing and developing a campaign from start to finish prepared me for the many different writing assignments I would have at this internship.

Dolenga also believes that her communication research class has allowed her to succeed in this position.

“Another substantial part of my internship is analyzing BCBSM's social media each week,” said Dolenga. “COM 300 has given me the tools to understand this data on a deeper level and draw better conclusions from the numbers in my weekly report.”

As a communication major and public relations minor, Dolenga loves that she’s been able to gain relevant experience from this internship. She’s been working on multiple projects that have already improved her skills in these fields.

“My favorite thing about this internship has been the opportunity to become more involved in my community while improving my public relations skills,” said Dolenga. “Last week, I took a class at Area45 Fitness in Troy and helped create media surrounding it. This weekend, I wrote talking points and assisted with interviews for the Detroit Riverfront Conservatory's Riverfront Run. Next week, I'll be in Grand Rapids blogging and shooting nutrition segments with WZZM. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has so many different partnerships that I'm excited to work with throughout the summer.”

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If you’re looking for an esteemed internship, Dolenga would advise you to not sell yourself short.

“Apply, apply, apply. I applied to almost 25 internships this winter,” said Dolenga. “Set yourself up for success by giving yourself plenty of opportunities to choose from.”

Dolenga firmly believes that you should look for opportunities everywhere, no matter where you see yourself ending up. Applying to as many internships as possible will give you insight into different workplaces.

“Remember to apply to a variety of different places,” said Dolenga. “Big or small, corporate or agency; you will learn something from everywhere you apply and every place you interview.”

Regardless of what career path you take, if you utilize ComArtSci’s resources, apply yourself in class and look for a handful of internships, you’re sure to find something you love.

By Katie Kochanny

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Sparty Goes to the Titanic Museum

Posted on: June 8, 2017

This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blogTitanic Sparty

The past few days have been rough for me. I traveled to the U.K. with some friends in the Mass Media in the U.K. program. Unfortunately, they didn’t even buy me a plane ticket, so I had to travel all the way across the pond in a suitcase. Today, they finally decided to take me out for some fun. Our first stop was the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While visiting the museum we learned about the history of Belfast, which is where the Titanic was built. I saw tons of pictures and artifacts. We got to read about passengers aboard the ship who survived and who had passed. There was even one little 9 year old boy, Frank J. Goldsmith who was on the Titanic emigrating to Detroit, Michigan! Sadly, he did not survive, but still cool to read about because Detroit isn’t too far from my home at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan!

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After the museum we left and went to a delicious lunch at a pub called McHugh’s. My friends didn’t buy me any lunch (which made me kind of sad), but their food sure did lookTitanic Museum yummy! Some kids got fish & chips and others got bangers & mash. We sat around and chatted for a while before we had to figure out how to pay the bill. The money system in the U.K. is definitely different from America, but were catching on quickly! I’m having so much fun here in Belfast, I don’t know if I ever want to come home!

To learn more about the study abroad trip, follow the students' Mass Media blog.

By Alli Stark (aka "Sparty") 

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Communications Student Overcomes Obstacles to Become Banner Carrier at Convocation

Posted on: May 17, 2017

Amidst the excitement of graduation, communication major Ciara Jackson, a third generation MSU graduate, proudly carried the banner of the College of Communications Arts and Sciences this May - an annual honor given to one outstanding graduating senior. Daune Rensing, her academic adviser, recommended her for the position after witnessing her determination to overcome every hardship and earn her degree.

ciarajackson“I have almost 20 years of experience working with undergraduates and Ciara has been through more adversity than anyone I have ever worked with,” said Rensing. “I am so proud of how she has persevered and made it to graduation.”

Jackson hasn’t always lived in the spotlight throughout her career at MSU. During her freshman year, Jackson’s family moved to Kissimmee, FL, an 18-hour drive away. She was left with only the support of her grandparents.

“Throughout the years I have been homeless during breaks and summers,” said Jackson. “I have slept in my car and bounced from house to house. My grandparents would have allowed me to stay with them, but I wanted to be an adult and didn’t want to impose.”

Jackson never let these obstacles keep her from earning her bachelor’s degree in communication. Through the support of the family she created at MSU, she was able to persist on her road to success and create what she described as a phenomenal experience with ComArtSci.

Along the way, Jackson found helpful resources through the college and MSU. Jackson noted that Daune Rensing was an especially helpful adviser, who would refer her to various people and resources on campus. In addition to her advisers, Jackson also received assistance from Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence (FAME). The resource center provided Jackson with dental and health insurance and helped her to find housing during academic breaks.

“I managed to keep pushing forward because I know where I could end up without an education. I refuse to become a statistic,” said Jackson. “I’ve met wonderful and caring advisers along with making lifelong friends.”

Following graduation, Jackson is looking forward to a career in law enforcement. She felt the fast-paced job would best suit her active lifestyle.

“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was 12 years old,” said Jackson. “I’ve already taken all necessary tests and interviewed twice with a local agency.”

Jackson advises other students struggling to get their degree to take the journey one step at a time.

“Never be afraid to fail because everything right now is temporary,” said Jackson. “If you fail, don’t be afraid to try again.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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Amir Butler: Pursuing Her Dreams

Posted on: May 11, 2017

MSU Media and Information sophomore Amir Butler started her first business, Soreem, when she was a freshman and has continued to grow her clothing brand with the help of resources at Michigan State University.

Soreem is defined as “carefree,” which is something she wanted her company to represent.

“I wanted it to be carefree, whether it was about your dreams or fashion sense,” says Butler. “To not really worry about what other people think of you.”

Butler always knew she wanted to start a clothing line, but she just didn’t know where to start. Not long after she got Soreem under her belt, she found out about the Hatch, which she learned about through her minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“I’ve had Soreem since March 2016, so it was already running, but, there was little stuff that I needed help with, like financials and things like that,” says Butler. “Overall the Hatch has been really helpful.”

The Hatch at MSU is a space that provides resources for student entrepreneurs and assists them with developing their business ideas.

amir-and-her-clothing-soreem“With all the events they have, I try to take advantage of everything,” says Butler. “With the Hatch they helped me get stickers, they gave me resources for different things that I needed, different events with speakers I could talk to related to what I’m doing.”

Butler encourages her peers who aspire to start a business to do their research and find resources, and to look at competition and see if there’s something they can do better.

She thinks young people get discouraged because they don’t know where resources are.

“Just always do your research and never take ‘no’ for an answer,” says Butler. “A lot of people will say you can’t do something because they never brought their vision to life. Always keep people around who support what you’re doing."

Butler hopes to give back as much as she can to upcoming entrepreneurs and to those who supported her.

“I would love to have a little business seminar, with people starting up to give them little keys to start,” says Butler.

While, encouraging young people to follow their dreams, Butler also wants them to know that it isn’t easy, and that you have to work hard.

“The road is not easy, don’t ever believe that it will be easy. You will hit walls, but you will get over that,” says Butler. “It’s fun, because you get to work for yourself.”

With the help of her family and friends and MSU resources, Butler has been successful with Soreem, and has a lot more in the works for her company.

“I just don’t want anybody to regret not following their dreams, as cliché as it sounds, you should always follow your dreams,” says Butler. “Always, no matter how big or small, always. That’s what I’m doing, that’s what I love to do.”

Story by Brandi Scarber

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Junior Gains Presentation Skills and Confidence Through Internship With The Big Ten Network

Posted on: April 27, 2017

After a successful internship reporting on live TV for a local news station in Nantucket, advertising junior Kayla Wright set her sights on the Big Ten Network. She applied for MSU BTN, even though she knew there were an overwhelming number of applicants. She got the interview, was offered the internship and was thrilled to accept it.

Wright was the marketing intern for MSU BTN this past year and helped set up the Big Ten tailgate, assisted with advertising, set up home basketball games and, with the help of another intern, facilitated the Instagram contest at each home basketball game.

“It was all about getting the fans that were coming to the games interested in doing the Instagram contest,” Wright said. “We even got to present our ideas for the contest to the BTN marketing team in Chicago. This required knowing a lot about Big Ten, having confidence and being prepared. It was a great challenge.”

Some of Wright’s ideas included using props for the contest with the hashtag visible on them, so people would remember and use it. She also suggested that the interns go to the games after they run the contest to be more educated on what BTN was covering that day.

Interning for a large company like BTN taught Wright the importance of being professional, being on time and how to be a good employee.

“My presentation skills increased, as well as my social presence,” Wright said. “The internship really helped with my confidence, too, as I was always engaging with a really diverse range of people.”

Wright said the interns would have to be prepared to talk to fans, as well as Fox representatives that would come in. They would have to explain what they were working on. One of the representatives posted a photo of Wright and the other marketing intern doing the Instagram contest on LinkedIn, which was great publicity for the MSU Big Ten Network.

“The internship was a lot of talking to families, fans, alumni and just really trying to learn more about people,” Wright said. “I tried to make everything more personable.”

Wright is also getting a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“I have always been interested in the media industry, but I have many interests,” Wright said. “I have even thought about starting my own business. If I have an idea, I just go for it. I love coming up with new ideas and being innovative, which will hopefully help me in all aspects of this industry.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Junior Strengthens Audio Interest Through Student Organizations, New York Field Experience and Music

Posted on: April 21, 2017


Over spring break on the New York Field Experience trip through the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Arthur Jones, media and information junior, was not only able to observe audio, video and music industries individually, but he was also able to see his interests work together in the media industry as a whole.

His interest in audio started his senior year of high school, when he took a class with someone who owned a local recording studio.

“I knew I liked to play music and thought the class looked neat at first, but I happened to really like the recording aspect of the class,” Jones said.

The one visit that Jones found particularly interesting during the New York City Field Experience was the group’s stop at MTV.

“We learned how important their social media teams are,” Jones said. “Because their demographic is early to late teens, they constantly have to stay up-to-date with new app trends. Whenever something new comes out, they have to learn how to best apply it to their audience.”

The biggest thing he learned from alumni on the trip was the fact that, in college, you never truly know what city you will end up in.

He also learned a lot about careers in the audio industry.

“I knew New York was a big media market, but I really learned so many valuable pieces of information related to all things audio,” said Jones. “Whether it’s in TV or radio, doing something in audio would be my dream job.”

The market in New York City made Jones aware of potential job opportunities.

“I definitely am more open now and saw the possibilities of different careers in the media industry,” Jones said. “The New York trip really broadened the potential I saw in the different jobs I could do.”

A change in tune

Jones first came to MSU as a student in the James Madison College. When he discovered that he wasn’t passionate about what he was studying, he left MSU to study at a community college in his hometown. He pursued a music degree and learned how to play an instrument – the double bass. When he returned to MSU, he decided to major in media and information with a minor in music.

“Even though there aren’t a ton of audio classes, MSU has so many students making student-films and other projects as well,” Jones said. “I was pulled into the fiction film class and Theatre 2 Film. I also work at Recording Services in the music building.”

In addition to all of those commitments to expanding his craft, Jones also plays in the concert orchestra at MSU.

Valuable skills learned

Jones doesn’t regret taking the time away from MSU to learn what he wanted to do. He said the experience was “valuable.”

“I thought I wanted to do international relations, but I realized the reason why was to be on NPR,” he said. “It’s still a dream job of mine to work on an NPR special, but I feel like I can accomplish that with what I am doing. By leaving and coming back, it made me very secure in what I want to do.”

His advice?

Jones suggests if students don’t know what they want to do, to think about an interest and pursue it more.

“You have to think, ‘Could I do this for years?’” Jones said. “College is the time to figure out your interests and experiment with those interests. At MSU, there are so many clubs, which makes it fun and easy to try out anything and everything.”

By Meg Dedyne


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