Taste of Europe: Sparty On

Posted on: July 19, 2017

What an amazing experience it has been. These past three weeks will be ones that I will never forget. Each city possessed unique and unforgettable qualities that differentiated them from the next.

When we first arrived in Barcelona, I was amazed how hot the city was. I couldn't believe that people could live there for a whole summer! Our apartments we stayed at for the week had a perfect set up. Each one had up to 5 bedrooms with over 10 beds that comfortably slept the whole group. Our days were spent attending class in the mornings then touring the city in the afternoons. Although there are many beautiful sights to see in Barcelona, such as the Sagrada Família and Park Güell, my favorite was about a half hour outside the city in Montserrat. This is where I stepped a little outside of my comfort zone and hiked about 4,000 feet above sea level. This mountain is also known as the peak in Spain. I highly recommend doing this while traveling to Barcelona, it's beautiful, exhilarating and adventurous. The first week of classes in Barcelona were interesting because everything was all still very new. The classes allowed for us students to connect more as a group and get to know each other. The group activities we participated in allowed us to share ideas with one another which allowed us to see the full potential of our peers. I really enjoyed collaborating with others because not only do you get to know them, but you get to experience their insight on certain topics.

Cannes, France was absolutely beautiful. Cannes is located in the southern part of France which explains its amazing beauty. During our week in Cannes, we attended the Cannes Lion Festival. Going into the week, I expected this festival to be filled with hours of talks that wouldn't really appeal to me much. It turned out to be the complete opposite. The festival consisted of talks and speeches from some of the most respected and successful individuals in the marketing and advertising industry.  There were also speeches from stars such as Nick Jonas, Karlie Kloss, Alexander Wang and many more. These stars talked about their upbringing and how they became so successful. This was very beneficial for us students because they discussed how in order to be where they are today, they had to be very determined individuals at a young age. Other talks that I attended regarded certain techniques and inventions the company was currently coming out with. For example, Chevy employees discussed their newest app to prevent teens from texting and driving. This was one of my favorite talks at the festival because Chevy gathered several brilliant teens to come up with a successful solution to their problem, and they did.

Our last week in Amsterdam was bittersweet. I didn't want the adventures to stop, but I was starting to miss home just a bit. The last week of classes in Amsterdam was my favorite. During this week, we had the chance to make two Nike commercials that would air in Amsterdam. This was my favorite challenge because I absolutely love filming and editing, especially for an advertisement. Unfortunately, my group members and myself did not win the challenge, but we had an amazing experience producing it.

These past three weeks made me learn numerous things about myself. Most importantly, it made me realize that I'm certain I want to continue my education in the advertising field. I was absolutely fascinated with every agency we visited. Every employee in each country loved what they were doing which made their environments positive and successful.  For those who are interested in attending this program next summer, I'll give you three words of advice: just do it. This has been an experience filled with amazing opportunities, friendships that will last a lifetime and a better understanding of myself. I'd advise you to approach this trip with an open mind that is ready for any type of adventure that comes your way. I'd like to thank two people that made this trip the best it could have possibly been, Juan Mundel and Viky Stabio. These two not only planned and made everything we did possible, but they also made it fun and worth our time.

Sparty Blog post
Enjoy this picture of Sparty on my window ledge overlooking the beautiful city of Amsterdam! Go Green!

By Carina Bertakis

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Come Get Your Game On at The Woz

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The Traverse City Film Festival has more to offer than just a traditional film experience. Go beyond the screen to the place where art, science and technology come together at The Woz. The game design program at Michigan State University has developed a showcase of immersive, educational and entertaining video games for you to explore.

GEL Lab 1

The Woz opens its doors on Wednesday, July 26 from 6-9 p.m. at Hotel Indigo. It will then be open from Thursday to Saturday, July 27-29, from noon-8 p.m. and Sunday, July 30, from noon-3 p.m. Visitors can play mobile games developed for smartphones and tablets, explore virtual reality experiences on the HTC Vive and play with friends in a number of multiplayer interactive experiences.

William Jeffrey and Brian Winn, both faculty in ComArtSci’s Department of Media and Information, have assembled the showcase from student-created work coming out of the MSU game design and development program and from projects in the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab.

Jeffrey and Winn are most excited about one of the newest games from the GEL Lab, called Plunder Panic.

“Plunder Panic is a swashbuckling, multiplayer arcade game where two rival crews battle for supremacy on the high seas,” said Winn. “Defeat the enemy captain, scuttle their ship, plunder enough booty or end up shark bait in Davy Jones’ Locker.”

This game can support up to ten players all at once. Players can win the game by defeating the captain of the rival team, plundering enough gold to sail away or sinking their opponent’s ship.

“Plunder Panic has multiple ways to win, meaning you always have to keep an eye patch out for what the other team is doing,” said Jeffrey. “We think the game is a blast to play and hope that the visitors of The Woz love it too.”

GEL Lab 2

Another one of the many projects being showcased is called Spartio, which was created by students during the spring semester and polished in the GEL Lab during the summer in anticipation for The Woz.

“Spartio is a game that utilizes the Microsoft Kinect camera system for player input,” said Winn. “Stretch your arms, rotate your body and clap your hands to help Sparty avoid falling from platforms, navigate past laser beams and leap across giant pits.”

Virtual reality experiences were a big hit at last years’ Woz and this year there will be several new and unique immersive experiences including the Virtual Vineyard, a grant-funded project from the GEL Lab.

“In Virtual Vineyard, you can explore a vineyard in virtual reality, interact with winemaking equipment and learn all about the winemaking process,” said Winn. “We will also be showcasing a collection of entertaining VR experiences created during the spring in our new Building Virtual Worlds course.”

Over the past year, students and faculty in the game design program have developed a number of new projects across a variety of platforms. They have created mobile and desktop games, virtual reality experiences and even games controlled by a camera with Microsoft Kinect.

“There is such a wide variety of games to play, across all different styles and genres,” said Jeffrey. “We truly think there is something here for everyone to enjoy. Our students have been working hard to create games for others to enjoy, viewing The Woz as a great event to showcase their work and get it out in the world.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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Spotlight Shines on MSU at Traverse City Film Festival

Posted on: July 18, 2017

This article was originally published by the College of Arts and Letters

Michigan State University is once again taking the expertise of its filmmaking faculty and creative talents of its students on the road to the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF).

As the official Learning and Innovation Partner for TCFF, MSU will feature student-produced films and offer filmmaking workshops, an interactive hands-on gallery, and kids camps at this year’s festival, which runs July 25-30.

TCFF TopFor the third year in a row, MSU’s Theatre 2 Film project will premiere a student-created, full-length feature film at TCFF. This year’s film, Stay With Me, is a psychological thriller in which a struggling Midwest farm family descends into dysfunction when threatened with the loss of their home. The premiere is set for Wednesday, July 26, at noon at the Old Town Playhouse, 148 E. Eighth Street.

A collection of five short documentary and fiction films produced by MSU student filmmakers will be shown together on Friday, July 28, at 3 p.m. at Kirkbride at the Commons, 700 Cottageview Drive.

The films include:

Other MSU-produced shorts appearing at this year’s TCFF include:

  • Hard to Swallow, part of the “Shorts: Inside Flint” program onFriday, July 28, at 9 a.m. at the Central High School Auditorium, 1150 Milliken Drive
  • Hubert: His Storypart of the “Shorts: Fork in the Road” program on Wednesday, July 26, at noon at Bijou by the Bay, 181 E. Grandview Pkwy
  • Tenure, part of the “Shorts: All the World’s a Stage” program on Thursday, July 27, at 9 a.m. at Milliken at the Dennos Museum, 1701 E. Front Street

MSU’s Game Design and Development Program and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences is offering a hands-on interactive media and gaming showcase, also known as The Woz. Free and open to the public, The Woz offers festivalgoers an opportunity to explore and experience the latest in gaming and virtual reality technology. Located at Hotel Indigo, 263 W. Grandview Parkway, The Woz will be open daily, July 26-29, from noon to 8 p.m.; and July 30, from noon to 3 p.m. A free welcome party is scheduled for Wednesday, July 26, from 6 to 9 p.m.


Michigan State University is offering two-day camps for youth, ages 12-16, that focus on filmmaking and game design and development. These camps – Filmmaker Camp and Game Design Camp – will have participants creating their own short films and digital games from scratch. Both camps are being held July 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Central High School, 1150 Milliken Drive. The cost is $200 for each camp. There are a limited number of openings available. To secure your spot, register at tcff.msu.edu/#camps.

Leading MSU faculty will discuss mobile storytelling and how to find funding for films at these workshops:

Mobile Documentary Filmmaking

  • DATE & TIME: July 29 at 3 p.m.
  • LOCATION: NMC Scholars Hall, 1701 E. Front Street
  • TICKETS: $5 per person and can be purchased through the TCFF website

Finding Fund$ For Films

  • DATE & TIME: July 30 at Noon
  • LOCATION: NMC Scholars Hall, 1701 E. Front Street
  • TICKETS: $5 per person and can be purchased through the TCFF website

Shape the Next MSU Feature Film

  • DATE & TIME: July 27, 4-6 p.m.
  • LOCATION: NMC Scholars Hall, Room 105

The public is invited to stop by the Spartan Headquarters, located at 333 E. State Street in Traverse City, to receive free MSU swag, free film tickets for students with an MSU ID, and more information on all TCFF events associated with MSU. Spartan Headquarters will be open daily July 25-28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and July 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, visit TCFF.MSU.EDU or follow #MSUTCFF.

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Breaking the Digital Divide: Using Technology to Improve the Lives of Older Adults

Posted on: July 13, 2017

Shelia CottenAs we age, our ability to learn and retain new information diminishes. So much so, that by the time we reach our 80s and 90s, a skill picked up easily by a toddler – like tapping and swiping on a mobile phone - can seem too daunting to undertake. Frustrated and defeated, many older adults simply give up trying to learn new skills.

That’s where Shelia Cotten, Ph.D. steps in. A professor in the Department of Media and Information in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci), Cotten researches technology use across the life course. Her goal is to improve the lives of older adults by closing the digital divide and helping them learn to use technologies to improve their lives.

Training Older Adults

Elderly man using computer tabletIn a recent study, Cotten and her team spent 5-years working with 19 different assisted and independent living facilities training older adults to use computers and the internet. The training lasted for 8-weeks in each facility, with 2 training sessions per week plus an additional office hours session.

The team started with the basics – from turning on a computer, to conducting an internet search, to sending an email.

“A lot of times, older adults have had no experience with computers in their lives,” said Cotten. “So, we have to start very basic. We started early teaching them to use email because findings from our prior work showed that older adults really enjoy that one-to-one communication/interaction.”

The participants also learned how to search for health information, and to critically evaluate the information they found.

“Because a lot of older adults have more health problems than younger aged groups [the question is] ‘How do you find information on the latest prescription that you’ve been given?’ and ‘Is there a conflict with some other medicine that you’re taking?’ We try to help them to be more critical consumers of information,” said Cotten.

Improving Quality of Life

The team also observed the mental health and quality of life benefits the residents received while working with the research team, including impacts on depression, isolation and loneliness.

“A lot of times as people age into their 80s or 90s, their partners or spouses have died, their children may be living far away, their health tends to decline… the combination of those factors

leads them to be more isolated, have higher rates of loneliness, have higher depression levels as they move into older adulthood,” Cotten told us.

According to Cotten, more opportunities for interaction and exchange of social support often lead to more positive outcomes for older adults. Because of that, Cotten focused her study on training older adults in a face-to-face environment, teaching them ways to use technology to connect with their present as well as their past.

“We found the interaction is very beneficial for older adults in general,” said Cotten. “But, over and above [we found] that the training and technology usage had positive effects. Teaching older adults how to use computers and the internet had positive impacts on their quality of life.”

From finding their childhood homes using Google Street View, to watching their favorite classic television shows or listening to music from earlier generations on Hulu and YouTube, the participants were able to see that many of their memories still live on.

Findings of the Study

At the end of the 5-year study, Cotten and her team found that their work was a success.

“We saw very positive effects in terms of teaching older adults in these communities to cross the digital divide and use computers and the internet successfully,” Cotten recalled. “They had reduced loneliness, better social integration, and lower depression. And many of the positive results tended to persist over time.”

The group even wrote a book on designing technology training programs for older adults in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). The book is intended to help additional facilities work with their residents in the future, continuing to improve their quality of life.

Cotten said the team wrote the book “To provide the latest research- and design-based recommendations for how to design and implement technology training programs for older adults in CCRCs. Our approach concentrates on providing useful best practices for CCRC owners, CEOs and activity directors, as well as practitioners and system designers working with older adults to enhance their quality of life and educators studying older adults. Although the guidelines are couched in the context of CCRCs, they will have broader-based implications for training older adults to use computers, tablets and other technologies.”

More to Come

Cotten has dedicated her career to exploring innovative ways to use technology to improve people’s lives and just finished her fourth year at MSU. This summer, she is conducting a large-scale survey of older adults across the U.S. about different aspects of technology, including digital assistance and even autonomous vehicles.

“You know Alexa? And Siri? We want to get their perspectives on these technologies. There isn’t a lot known about these new technologies coming out and older adults’ perceptions of them and how they might use them to improve their quality of life,” said Cotten. “Autonomous vehicles have such a huge potential for older adults who have mobility problems and can’t drive anymore… Using autonomous vehicles has the potential to significantly impact their independence and have positive impacts on their quality of life.”

In addition to research, Cotten also teaches classes in ComArtSci, is the Director for the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research, the Director of Trifecta and was recently promoted to MSU Foundation Professor.

“I love being in the Department of Media and Information and being at MSU; my whole department is focused on how can we use media and technology to improve people’s lives and the larger world. It’s a great opportunity to be in a very interdisciplinary department and have great collaborators who are all interested in different aspects of technology, media, or information. I love it here,” said Cotten.

View more of Cotten's work >> 

By Nikki W. O’Meara

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Executive Education

Posted on: June 28, 2017

Almost every survey of executives rehashes the finding that vision and communication are among the most crucial skills for C-suite executives. Yet, with a few exceptions, most colleges of communication have not embraced the opportunity to offer sophisticated and rigorous communication training to corporate executives.

Although ComArtSci at MSU is guilty, as well, for not being active in this area, a newly launched Executive Education program will address this growing need.

The exec ed program dovetails with our Strategic Communication master’s that was launched in January 2017. Both programs demonstrate our commitment to knowledge transfer and enhancing career opportunities for working professionals.

Many colleges of business across the country offer exec ed and communication training as an integral part of their programs. So, what is unique about our exec ed program and why is it necessary?

When developing the program, the project team wrestled with the question of identity and unique selling proposition. After evaluating the expertise that our faculty have to offer, substantiated by research on exec ed offerings that are currently available, we arrived at the conclusion that our brand of training will be based on a framework titled Catalyst.

Catalysts are change agents who require C-suite skills, such as communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and community building, to complement domain expertise. Our catalyst training focuses on bringing about change with an anchoring in these C-suite skills.

Corporate leadership is more than vision and communication. It is about a deep understanding of context and culture and it is against this headwind that these C-suite skills have to be put to good use to bring about change.

In keeping with the innovation mantra “Think Big, Start Small and Move Fast,” we have come up with a set of offerings for Fall 2017. These courses are just the kernel for a conversation with our alumni and stakeholders. We want to hear from you on opportunities and needs for exec ed, and we’d like to hear about your ideas and experiences.

When the exec ed team asked me how I would define success, I took some time to think about it. Success to me would be the evolution of a Catalyst framework that is homegrown at MSU, embodying Midwestern values of humility, industriousness, proficiency and excellence that can create innovation and effect change in complex organizations, which is every bit as exciting as design thinking offered by the Stanford school.

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Don’t Miss It: MSU at TCFF

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Heads up Spartans! The Traverse City Film Festival is happening from July 25-30 and Michigan State has a lot of great things in store. From student films and shorts, to virtual reality and videogames, there’s enough to keep you busy throughout the entire festival.

Spartan Headquarters

Interested in attending? Alumni, students and friends can learn more about MSU at TCFF and grab some free gear at Spartan Headquarters at 333 E. State Street in downtown Traverse City from 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Tuesday–Friday and 11:00 a.m.–2 p.m. on Saturday. MSU students can also pick up free tickets here with their student ID. 

Feature Film

Theater2Film’s newest feature film, Stay With Me, will be premiering at the Old Town Playhouse on Wednesday, July 26 at noon. The collaboration between the Department of Theater, Media Sandbox and the College of Music had students write and develop an original play that is now a full-length feature film.


This years’ plotline follows a struggling midwest farm family as they’re threatened with the loss of their home. The psychological thriller shows their descent into dysfunction and chaos.

Short Films

A collection of five short fiction and documentary films will be shown at Kirkbride at the Commons on Friday, July 28 at 3:00 p.m. Each of the films was written and directed by students from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts and Letters.

On Friday, July 28 at 9:00 a.m., a program of short films specifically about the Flint water crisis will be shown in the Central High School Auditorium. The program includes shorts by Flint students, MSU faculty and award-winning journalists to explore the ins and outs of the preventable crisis. Expect to see Hard to Swallow by MSU J-School students, faculty and WKAR-TV staff and Here’s to Flint by Kate Levy and the ACLU’s Curt Guyette, the Michigan Press Association’s Journalist of the Year.

The Woz

The Woz is a showcase of virtual reality, videogames and mobile games that take you beyond traditional film to the place where art, technology and interactivity meet, placing you in the middle of the story.


The Woz will be held in Hotel Indigo at 263 W. Grandview Parkway. The free launch party is on Wednesday, July 26 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The Woz will then be open from Thursday, July 27- Saturday, July 29 from noon to 8:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, July 30 from noon to 3:00 p.m.

Film School

MSU will also be holding various workshops and panels at NMC Scholars Hall to get an inside look at the industry. Here you’ll learn about turning your cell phone into a professional videography device, the difficulties of receiving funding for film projects and you could even have a say in the next Theater2Film storyline.

Kids Camps

As the official Learning and Innovation Partner for TCFF, Michigan State University is taking the lead to inspire the next generation of media makers. On July 28 and 29, MSU is offering two-day camps for youth ages 12-16, one focused on filmmaking and the other on game design and development.

By Kaitlin Dudlets 


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“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

Posted on: June 22, 2017

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

Julia Normal Size

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.

Julia 2

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.

Julia Normal Size 2

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

Min 9

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!

Min 3

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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.

Min 2

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By Min Wang

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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.”

Gabi Wide Image

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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Advertising Grad Wins a National Silver ADDY

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Recent advertising graduate Savannah Benavides ’17 reeled in a National Silver ADDY after hooking the judges with her witty 3-ad campaign for Ugly Stik, a company specializing in fishing tackle. The campaign had previously won a Gold ADDY at the local level and a Silver ADDY at districts, propelling her work to the national stage.

“I was really surprised, but mostly I was excited,” said Benavides. “It felt awesome to receive recognition for some of my work, but I was even more excited to work harder in order to create more for my portfolio. Winning awards is really nice, but it’s so important to learn as much as you can in the process.”

Benavides 1

Fishing for Ideas

Benavides’ winning campaign was produced as an assignment for an introductory copywriting class she took her junior year under the direction of Lou Schiavone. For this particular assignment, students were to create advertisements for a brand of their choice. Benavides decided on Ugly Stik because of the challenge it would present her, and went to work on a list of ideas.

“My creative process is, in a word, exhaustive,” said Benavides. “I do my best to get out all of my ideas on paper as quickly as I can. My best ideas come when I’m rapid-firing them onto a piece of paper or into a blank document.”

Benavides 2

Benavides decided to poke fun at the fisherman stereotype and produce a humorous campaign that would resonate with the target consumer audience. As the idea was further developed into three advertisements, Benavides gained constructive feedback whenever possible.

“Each step of the way, I had amazing peers and mentors giving me feedback, including criticism,” said Benavides. “It’s been so helpful to receive the insight and opinion of others, because it helps build me into a better creative.”

Enjoying the Ride

Benavides admits that she wishes she would have known the importance of finding fun in her work earlier on. In fact, her best work came when she stopped stressing and started producing because she wanted to.

Benavides 3

“Of course, getting an education at Michigan State is something to be taken seriously, but it was so important for me to find the time and energy to fall in love with my work and the creative process,” said Benavides. “I really think the most vital part of the creative process is to be in love with it and to enjoy every minute of it.”

Benavides advises other students to pursue their passions and take pleasure in the process.

“Find a way to feel comfortable having fun and enjoying the field that you chose to pursue,” said Benavides. “But if you don’t enjoy the field that you’re in, change it. Life is short.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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