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Ohio University Multimedia Society networks in D.C.

Alex Koumas | Apr 24, 2012

Ohio University Multimedia Society networks in D.C.

By Alex Koumas,

White House Photo Editor Jennifer Poggi, center, talks to Ohio University faculty and alumni in Washington, D.C., this past weekend.RIGHT: Jennifer Poggi, who finished her graduate study in the School of Visual Communication in 2009, center, talks to Ohio University faculty and staff who traveled to Washington, D.C. last weekend for a networking trip. Poggi is photo editor at the White House. / Photo by Sam Girton

ATHENS, Ohio (April 24, 2012)—Students in the Ohio University Multimedia Society (OUMS), most of whom study in the School of Visual Communication, traveled to the nation’s capital April 19-22 for networking opportunities and tours of companies that utilize multimedia.

“The trip served multiple purposes,” Sam Girton, a professor in the School of Visual Communication, states. “It’s important for the current students to understand what it’s like to work in the industry and it’s also important for people in the industry to see how proactive and engaged the students are.”

The students toured NPR, PBS Kids, the White House, National Geographic, and nclud. Local professionals and alumni were also on hand to visit with students for an interactive dinner at Buffalo Billiards. The trip concluded with a free day for exploring, adventures and networking opportunities.

Networking trips are an integral part of OUMS and prove to be one of the most beneficial activities for its members who are looking to land job. Annette Drapac, a senior studying interactive design and OUMS president says networking trips allow students to see different work environments, areas of work, and team dynamics, as well as gain valuable advice from recent graduates or seasoned professionals.

“I think these trips are so important because it allows students in the beginning as incoming freshman to see a collection of different companies, environments and team structures,” she said. “There are so many different areas of multimedia and interactive design, and the trips give you a good perspective by the time you leave of what you want to do and who you want to be.”

D.C.-area VisCom alumni assisted in executing this trip because they recognized and appreciated the help that they received when they were still in college struggling to figure out what path to take after graduation.

“Having OUMS tour my workplace and hanging out with them after hours is the least I can do to pay forward all the help Ireceivedwhen I was in their shoes,” says Ryan Ford, an animator at National Geographic. “I can’t begin to express my gratitude towards the people and alumni that helped me get where I am, so anything I can do to help out the next generation of creative doers and thinkers is well worth it to me. Seeing all these promising young guns, eager to learn, helps strengthen the bond between my college and my career, and reinforces my passion for design.”

Not only did the alumni benefit from interacting with these motivated and destined-for-success students, but the students had the opportunity to see the alumni still completely engaged and supportive of their alma mater. Girton says it’s refreshing to see the students admire and appreciate all that alumni have done, in turn, hoping these students will give back in the same way.

“The alumni that we visited were all apart of the group [OUMS] when they were students,” Girton said, “and every time we go, I try and make a clear point to the current students about how much the alumni are giving back and to look how much they have helped us over the years. The alumni don’t do it because there are any benefits other than giving back. You can see how excited they are to help, and they know what it was like to be in school and wonder what they were going to do the next year.”

OUMS is an organization of students that are interested in interactive multimedia design. The majority of their members are Visual Communication Interactive Multimedia majors, and their activities include showing and critiquing personal portfolios and work and discussing the latest technologies.

The students that chose to travel to Washington D.C. were aware of and prepared for the opportunities that they were going to be able to experience during the trip.

“I think students should take advantage of any and all networking opportunities that come their way, whether it be speakers on campus, conventions, office visits, tours, or any other chance to put yourself out there and expand your contacts,” said Brandon Logan, a senior studying interactive media and the Vice President of OUMS. “Students need to realize and leverage the power of alumni connections to improve chances of employment and to increase one’s reputation.”

To learn more about OUMS and see some of the projects its members create, visit