Success Over the Years with SXTXState

The circle of life of SXTXState. Kristin McCasland and Mairin Heard interview former SXTXState participant Dee Kapila in 2009. Heard now works for HomeAway and is a TX Social Media Award Winner. McCasland is Web and Social Media Specialist at Rice University.

The circle of life of SXTXState. Kristin McCasland and Mairin Heard interview former SXTXState participant Dee Kapila in 2009. Heard now works for HomeAway and is a TX Social Media Award Winner. McCasland is Web and Social Media Specialist at Rice University. Kapila is a Tech Project Manager at UT.

As I wait in the SFO terminal to get my flight back to Austin for SXSW (if you read this blog, you know I’m spending the year at Stanford), I have a chance to reflect on the successes of our SXTXState project over the years. This is our seventh year covering it, and I am amazed at the ways students of this project have distinguished themselves in the tech and digital communities. More than 60 students have taken part in the project since its inception in 2008.

Here are some of the success stories:

Dee Kapila (Tech Project Manager at UT Austin), Maira Garcia (New York Times), Anna Tauzin (National Restaurant Association) and Michael Trice (MIT Lecturer and PhD from Texas Tech) have all been speakers on panels in subsequent years.

Megan Kilgore (Digital Marketing Manager at Capital Area Food Bank) and Kiana Fitzgerald (Production Assistant at NPR) who worked on the project last year, had panels accepted and will be speaking this year.

Mairin Heard (Social Media Specialist) is on the social media team at HomeAway that is one of Statesman’s Social Media Top 10 Award Winners. Congrats Mairin!

Success outside of Texas: Maira Garcia and Jackie Baylon work as Web editors at New York Times. Anna Tauzin is Manager of Digital Innovation at National Restaurant Association. Kiana Fitzgerald is a production assistant at NPR. Alex Hering is a content producer at Sapient Nitro in the UK.

Jon Zmikly and Dale Blasingame, both former project participants, are now on the faculty at Texas State and are assisting with the project this year. Lewis Knight is assistant professor teaching digital media at Southern Wesleyan University in SC

Sarah Garcia works for SXSW as Senior Interactive Festival Programmer.

Digital and Web-related careers around Austin:
Ashley Hebler – front-end Web developer at Volusion
Josh Shepherd- engagement manager at Mass Relevance
Shannon Delaney – digital marketing specialist at MOSAK Advertising and Insights.
Doug Seliger – junior developer at Mason Zimbler
Andrew Waldrup – product manager at Spredfast
Nicole Martinez – SEO and content strategy at BedandBreakfast.com
Shawn Dullye - community manager at SAP
Kristin McCasland – Web and social media specialist at Rice University
Jordan Lloyd – Senior Social Media Manager at Main Street Hub
Tina Phan – Multimedia Producer
Philip Hadley – Client Success Manager at Blackbaud
Carly Hohl  – Project Manager at Trademark Media
Marc Speir - Multimedia Coordinator – University of Texas

I’m sure there are folks I am leaving out and accolades I have missed. I think these successes demonstrate the importance of experience learning and deep immersion in the technology industry. It also shows the myriad of ways that students have used their technology foundation in interesting and important careers across media. I always say that participation in the SXTXState.com project gives students an arsenal of ammunition to talk about in interviews and networking situations. They can’t help but bubble over with excitement about the things they have learned and the people they have met. And thus they are irresistible to employers.

I know I’m biased, but you have to admit, this is a pretty stellar track record for one project!

It’s really special to look back at the body of work we have created over the years and see these alumni “way back when.” I couldn’t be more proud. I would be happy to discuss this project with anyone who is considering a similar activity in their program. If you are thinking about getting a master’s degree in digital media, I’d also be happy to chat about our program. And if you are looking to hire some really sharp people, you need to look no further than these folks who have worked on SXTXState.com.

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I have. I’m looking forward to adding more success to this list every year!