I’ve got some news to share with you, and it’s big. We’ve had some great success with Texas State students getting fantastic jobs in the digital media realm, and we are exceedingly proud of every one of them. The New Media Concentration students in our graduate program have gone on to new and challenging roles as social media editors/managers, web designers/developers/producers, strategic positions running digital communications and more. They have been scooped up by companies like HomeAway, Spredfast, Mason Zimbler, Trademark Media, Mosak Advertising and Insights, Blackbaud/Convio, area non-profits, SXSW, colleges and universities, Austin American-Statesman… the list goes on. I am delighted every time I hear about an offer and get to learn about the wonderful ways our graduates are contributing to the successes of these organizations.
Today, I have some special job announcements to share. Maira Garcia (Web, LinkedIn, Twitter), who has been the Social Media Editor at Austin American-Statesman, has accepted a position as a Web Producer at The New York Times. This is a wonderful opportunity for Maira and demonstrates the level of effort and talent that she has exemplified throughout her career during and since graduating from our Master’s program in 2009. Maira was also an undergraduate in our program, serving as Editor of the University Star and reporting with the MTV Choose or Lose campaign. As a graduate student, Maira was involved in everything, teaching classes, serving as editor of the SXTXState.com project, helping out any time we had live streams for Mass Comm Week or special guest visits – you name it, and she was there. Maira has been an active participant in the local meetup community, working with Hacks/Hackers ATX and the Online News Association Austin Local.
But that’s not all. Another of our graduates has recently accepted a position in the Big Apple. Jacqueline Baylon (Web, LinkedIn, Twitter) graduated with a BA from our program in 2010. She will work as a News Producer for Project Thunderdome, the Digital First initiative of the Journal Register Company headed by former WashingtonPost.com executive editor Jim Brady. Jackie was not a student in our graduate program (not yet!), but she was one of the few undergraduates that I allowed to take the Advanced graduate class and participate in the SXSW project, so she has experienced much of the graduate curriculum. Since graduating, Jackie has held positions with The St. Petersburg Times and Inside Washington Publishers. As a student, she held numerous media internships and fellowships with The New York Times, Sacramento Bee, San Antonio Express-News and NBC.
The two organizations that these recent graduates are now joining represent the vanguard of modern media. The New York Times is a legacy media organization that is pioneering in the digital space, and Project Thunderdome is a startup initiative growing out of legacy media that will test the boundaries of digital delivery. We are more than delighted that our graduates have been selected to be a part of these high profile companies. When I joined Texas State six years ago, it was my hope that we would develop and deliver courses that would allow graduates to play key digital roles in these types of opportunities. The talent of Texas State students plus a new and innovative approach to curriculum have yielded early success beyond my wildest dreams. Maira and Jackie were amongst the first groups of students who took classes with me at Texas State. These hires serve as a proof-of-concept to our digital media curriculum and demonstrate a demand for our graduates on a national level. They also exemplify success in terms of my goal to bridge the gender divide in technology delivering higher end tech skills in journalism and mass comm programs and Texas State’s mission as Hispanic Serving Institution. These two graduates are great role models for current students, embodying the potential that exists when one works hard, is driven, seizes opportunities, exhibits passion and is committed to learning. I’m not sure either of them realizes what this means to students in our program. I told my current Web design class today, and they were so excited because they could envision similar futures for themselves. Priceless.
I have so much appreciation for all the professionals who support Texas State students. I want to give special thanks today to friend of our program Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times for always making time to meet with and advise students and for helping to create opportunities for them.
Please join me in congratulating Maira and Jackie on their new roles. I can’t wait to hear about their accomplishments in the weeks and months to come. And I look forward to sharing many more announcements like this with you in the future.