Finding Your Starting Point: Career Exploration at the SJMC

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

As a professional school, helping students explore careers is a valuable part of SJMC’s undergraduate mission.  The pandemic has made fulfilling this mission more difficult—but not impossible.   

Director David Ryfe and Internship & Placement Coordinator Paul Jensen worked on this issue over the summer.  They came up with a series of webinars they call “Finding Your Starting Point.”  During these webinars, students meet alumni who have forged careers in the media industries.  In discussions with these alumni—fourteen of whom have participated so far—students have a chance to learn about what it is like to work in these industries.  

Photos of Career Exploration Webinar Hosts

Each event is an hour-long and features three or four alumni. Current student and intern, Bailey Cichon serves as a host for the series.  

Students curious about career options were invited and encouraged to attend any or all of the webinars. 

Careers in Social and Digital Media
The first of this series, The Social and Digital Panel, occured on September 22, 2020. SJMC alums Brianna Sudrla now working at Snapchat, Mallory Hughes currently at CNN and Cole Johnson from KCEN shared key insights on their careers in this field. 

Careers in Visual Journalism
SJMC's second webinar, The Visuals Panel, took place on September 29, 2020, and featured SJMC alumni Brooke Bierhaus of Brooke Bierhaus Film, Mary Mathis from Outside Magazine and Ryan Jones from Malone Media Group.  

Careers in Writing Journalism
Third in the series, The Writing Panel, was held on October 27, 2020.  This webinar featured Jake Abrams, Founder at Bram, Ashley Oerman, Deputy Lifestyle Director at Cosmopolitan, Lauren Smiley, an Independent Tech Journalist and Dora Marquez, Digital Editor at TriStar Event Media.

Careers in Sports Journalism
The fourth of the series, The Sports Panel, on November 10, 2020, featured careers in sports journalism. The panel consisted of Scott Miller, Executive Editor at The Action Network in New York, Anne Costabile, Sports Multimedia Journalist at The Chicago Sun-Times, Austin Bramley, Project Director at Sioux Falls Sports Authority and Taylor Brooks, now a Sports Multimedia Journalist at KWGN in Denver.  All of these professionals started in the The Daily Iowan and KRUI newsrooms.


Thank you to everyone who participated! Our students truly benefit from so many active alumni. 

Plans are underway to continue these types of programs in the spring semester.