Recent graduate Adrienne Vitt, MA in NMS 2013, shared with us how she customized the MA in NMS program with courses in nonprofit communications and strategic brand management to help her achieve her academic and post-graduation goals.
What was your academic and professional background prior to entering the MA in NMS?
The MA in NMS allowed me to cull a diverse range of academic and professional experiences into a focused career path. My academic work prior to grad school centered on journalism, cultural studies, and comparative literature. Being willing to take chances exposed me to a variety of experiences across industries, from starting a nonprofit for under-resourced youth, to working as a journalist and web content manager.
Describe your career / research interests and pursuits as you were going through the MA in NMS program. How did you customize the program to meet your needs?
The continuous thread in my experience has been working on narratives for organizations that have a social justice component. Mission-focused organizations, however, often lack a strong new media presence and brand management resources, and I saw this as an essential area of contribution and growth. So upon joining the MA in NMS program at DePaul, my focus was on socially responsible design — in terms of web development, graphic design, copywriting and more. In a sense, I wanted to be a student of new media rhetoric with the hands-on skills to back it up.
Most of my courses were in MA in NMS, but almost all of my projects focused on this central theme of social responsibility. The opportunity to work with community organizations was essential in developing a current and relevant portfolio as well. I took every opportunity to speak with people working in the small, yet developing, field of socially responsible design. And it’s worth emphasizing that doing so was often built into the curriculum.
What have you done since graduating?
I started working as a freelance communications strategist and just before graduating, I accepted a position as the Associate Director of Web Content Strategy at DePaul. And I’m a knowledge junkie, so I recently registered for the course American Sign Language and Deaf Culture through the local nonprofit Deaf Communication by Innovation (DCI).
Any advice for current and prospective MA in NMS students?
Look at job descriptions for your dream job(s) and make a list of all their required skills and desired experiences (consider doing informational interviews in the same vein.) Then, use that list of skills to build your course list, extra-curricular learning, and areas of expertise. You’ll be good to go.