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Welcome to the Wilson College Department of Communications! In these web pages you can learn all about the Communications major and minor at Wilson College, about our current faculty, and about the various organizations and activities sponsored by the department. Wilson College’s major in Communications balances critical thinking, media theory, and writing skills for use in both traditional media markets and today’s emerging digital media forms. Students will study the foundations of communications learning—i.e., journalistic writing, legal media issues, and media theory—and use that learning in traditional forms of media as well as online and digital media. In the process, students will create content for both print and digital publications and learn the fundamentals of marketing media and selling advertising. Students who graduate from Wilson with a degree in Communications will have an array of marketable skills, including learning AP Style, designing print and online media frames, crafting public relations and advertising for a variety of industry purposes, and mastering a wide array of technical and software skills for use on traditional and electronic media. Students will gain additional skills in computer programming, graphic and website design, photography, and marketing, all of which positions the Wilson graduate for success in both the workforce and in graduate school. Internships take place in local media markets and include exposure to both traditional and online forms of media. By the completion of the degree program students will be ready to tackle the ever-evolving world of new and digital media and still understand the foundations of traditional media forms and styles.
The Graphic Media concentration in Graphic Design focuses on a broader application of Graphic Design, combining courses in artistic content and creation with courses in traditional and social media writing and design. This generates the profile of a student who is very career-focused and, in many instances, may already be working in some capacity in the field. Students in this concentration will develop a foundational mixture of visual and written cultural abilities, and will be more well-rounded but less specialized than students majoring in either Graphic Arts or Communications. These students are mostly on the career track, and will be able to step into a wide variety of jobs that requires both artistic skills and writing content creation.
From time to time, we ask some of our students to share their thoughts on various aspects of their experience in the Department of English and Mass Communications. Here is some of what they’ve said:
Upon leaving Wilson, Kayla Chagnon ’10 earned her MA in Journalism at Syracuse University and today is an editor at for Prevention Magazine.
Wilson has had a huge impact on my life both personally and academically. I attended a traditional four-year co-ed institution for my first year of college and transferred to Wilson as a sophomore. At Wilson, I found not only my home for three years, but also a community that supported my decisions and choices. When I came to Wilson, I never dreamed that I would be a journalist or even go to graduate school, but I found myself as a writer and found that my passion was journalism. If I did not go to Wilson, I probably would have never taken a journalism class and I would probably never have fallen in love with journalism. I also would not have found the professors that pushed me to try harder, to write well and to find myself. Without this guidance, I would have never believed that I could be attending one of the best graduate schools for journalism in the country and that I could succeed at what I love.
Xiaomeng Li completed a summer internship in 2010 at Pittsburgh Magazine, where she worked as
an article researcher, fact-checker, and even wrote for both the print and on-line versions of the magazine. Currently, Xiaomeng is studying at the Art Institute in Chicago. Below she talks about her internship experiences:
I felt fortunate to work at Pittsburgh Magazine because, unlike some heavily commercial-driven magazines, it provides a lot of useful information and everyone in the office puts a lot of effort to make the magazine a pleasant read. As a reader, I got to know a lot of latest activities and events in the city. I spent some time to explore the city while I was there and I could say I was totally falling in love with Pittsburgh in the end. And as an intern, I realized how difficult and time-consuming it is to publish a monthly magazine with all those interesting, exciting, and informative articles and pictures. Everyone had his or her particular job in the office, but in the end when everything came together, I could see the diligent teamwork that made all the efforts worthwhile. This internship also makes me think about my future. I also worked at the local newspaper—Public Opinion—last winter, and now having worked both at a newspaper and a magazine, I have a fair understanding of these two different aspects of the print media industry.
Rebecca Cheek completed an internship during Summer 2008 as the tour manager of a band, traveling with the group and taking charge of the band’s marketing, press, and management. She writes about the experience below. Rebecca now teaches at Broadfording Christian Academy.
For my internship, I worked as Tour Manager for a band called Blushing Well, whose hometown is Chambersburg. During my time with the band members, I learned much about the art of diplomacy both in writing and person-to-person. Also, I learned that no matter what kind of work I go into after graduation, professional courtesy is an absolute necessity.
What I learned while an intern has greatly enhanced my education at Wilson. Because of my internship, I am grateful for the education I have received thus-far in my classes, particularly those in my chosen career field. It is very easy to confuse classes, socialization, and the college atmosphere as a permanent facet of my life, but it is not. Being an intern made me realize that college truly is not the "real world" and I must treat my final two semesters as preparation for what is to come.
Above all else, my internship opened my eyes to my need not just for a job that pays the bills, but also one I will enjoy.
Jess Domanico completed an honors thesis in the field of literary studies. Here is what she has to say about the benefits of doing thesis work in the field.
Planning and writing a senior research project—my thesis—in the English department gave me the opportunity to experience scholarship beyond the classroom. Encouraged by the department’s faculty, I organized a long-term project on a literary period and genre of my choosing. Initially interested in the revival of the sonnet form in the late eighteenth century, I chose to narrow my interest and focus on Charlotte Turner Smith, a marginalized woman writer. Smith’s contributions to the sonnet revival influenced several canonical poets of the Romantic period, poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth. My project raised questions of gender, influence, and canonicity—all prevalent questions in today’s literary scholarship. From there I learned how to compile the necessary research, think critically about current scholarship and respond to it, overcome my own writing obstacles, and produce a significant body of work that would prepare me for graduate study in English. In the process, I discovered how exciting scholarship can be.
Alice Gudgeon ’08 was a non-traditional, part-time night class student in the Mass Communications major at Wilson College. Below, Alice shares her thoughts on being an adult student at Wilson.
My experience at Wilson has been the most fulfilling personal experience of my lifetime. Balancing full-time work and family can be challenging, but the rewards have been priceless for me. Not only have I learned and gained so much, I became a much better writer and student throughout my years at Wilson. Credits were transferred from other colleges I attended without any problems or issues. The benefit to my children as an adult learner has exemplified the importance of commitment, time management and the rewards for hard work. The example I have set for my children, I believe is one of the most positive and beneficial gifts I can give them. Many of the friendships I have made while attending Wilson to attain my BA will be life-long friendships. Others I have mentored, or, perhaps worked with on the school paper or even a class project, in particular, the younger students, helped me to better understand their thoughts, aspirations and goals. Understanding their goals has helped me to help my employer understand the needs of the current workforce to help retain young employees coming into the workforce. The Mass Communication Department, in particular, was of great interest to me and I found the staff really cared about my success while creating a school environment with approachable professors, smaller class sizes for better learning and more discussion, rather than merely lectures to large classes of students. The class times fit my personal schedule very well and I was able to miss very few classes during the ten years I spend as a part-time learner at Wilson. I graduated in May, 2008 and truly miss the learning environment at Wilson. It was a great way to make friends, benefit myself and family, and make a difference in the lives of others I've spent time with at the school.
Carol Zehosky, ’14, talks about being a non-traditional student in the Mass Communications program.
People do not come with an expiration date for experiencing new ideas and personal growth. As a nontraditional Mass Communications student at Wilson College, I am learning and growing thanks to the faculties’ commitment to nurturing individuality and presenting unique opportunities to all students. Though I originally planned to stay at Wilson long enough to earn an associate degree, I now plan to continue towards a bachelors’ degree. The confidence I gained in speech class prompted me to join the campus improvisation group and that experience has lead me to a part in the drama club’s spring production. Each writing class, from Technical Writing to Journalism has made it easier to express with confidence my ideas in and out of the classroom. Thanks to my experiences at Wilson, I feel reinvigorated and ready to take on a second career.
Writing for The Billboard was my first experience ever writing for a newspaper. I had no idea what I needed to do, or that an article had to be formatted a certain way. Working there gave me a place where I could learn without judgment and become a writer. When I became one of the Editors-in-Chief my senior year, I took on a big challenge but I found something that again I loved to do. Things that seemed so small such as writing up a monthly story budget, editing articles or laying out pages in InDesign, became so important a year later. Also, I am still very proud of some of the pieces I wrote during my time in Billboard and I consider them great accomplishments that I still cite as some of my best writing.
Department Course Catalog
Careers in Communications
Minor in Communications
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