Category Archives: Graduate Life

Summer Experience: London Internship Program

By: Alyssa Marion
Second Year Graduate Student, Student M.S. Advertising

Current graduate student Alyssa Marion spent summer 2015 learning, interning and exploring in London!
Current graduate student Alyssa Marion spent summer 2015 learning, interning and exploring in London!

I’ve always had the itch to travel abroad. I was lucky enough to spend a summer in Madrid, Spain during my undergraduate time at BU, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to go back to Europe. The BU London Graduate Mass Communication program was actually the main reason why I chose BU for graduate school!

There were 15 graduate students in the program, and we lived in a great apartment building (the Sorbonne House) together in South Kensington. Winston Churchill once lived in our building! South Kensington was the perfect location for new students living in London- the Natural History Museum was right across the street, Hyde Park was a stone’s throw away, and Kensington Palace, home to royals Will and Kate, was a 15 minute walk from our flat!


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Kensington Palace

The two classes I enrolled in this summer were Global Marketing Communications with BU Professor Tobe Berkovitz and British Media in the Digital Age with BU London Professors Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi. Tobe’s class gave us a broader global view into the marketing world. Additionally, he brought us to different advertising and communications agencies in London in order to compare the work environment between the UK and US. Aleks’ and Lia were our two British professors who co-taught our second class. They both taught us a great deal about the concept of “Britishness” versus “Englishness.” Since all graduate students were enrolled in the same two classes, we were able to work together well and grow throughout the summer.

I really think I lucked out with my internship placement this summer. I was so fortunate to be placed at MEC Global, a media agency located along the Southbank of London. My supervisor taught me so much about the world of media and how MEC fit in to the equation between the client and the press. I worked on the Display Activation team, and my responsibilities included tracking ads, drafting print media plans, and creating competitive analyses and post-campaign analyses for high-profile clients. My experience at MEC provided me with valuable insights into the field all while making great connections abroad.

This summer provided me with once in a lifetime opportunities, and that’s all thanks to the London Graduate Mass Communication program. Touring Buckingham Palace, attending the Wimbledon Championship tournament, waving to Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot, seeing the eerie Stonehenge, finding the flat used to film The Parent Trap movie, and traveling to seven different countries in 12 weeks are just a sample of the incredible experiences I had this summer. It’s truly astonishing how much a person can learn and grow in just 12 weeks abroad, and I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything. Now time to start planning the next adventure…

Division of Emerging Media Studies Successfully Hosted Inaugural Research Conference, #Screentime


By Lauren Sale

MA Emerging Media Studies ‘15

BU College of Communication

On June 25th, the students of the Division of Emerging Media Studies hosted a day-long conference titled, “#Screentime.” Throughout the Spring and Summer I semesters, the eight students managed every aspect of the conference from paper submissions to promoting the event. #Screentime included presenters from Boston College, University of Denver, University of Massachusetts- Amherst, and of course, Boston University. Emerging media topics such as YouTube’s The Harlem Shake, Social Media Use Within Universities, and Online Censorship were presented. The Division welcomed guests from Bank of America, Fleishman Hillard, Keystone Strategy, Bank of America, and Accenture Digital to discuss the research papers and offer constructive feedback. Mina Tsay-Vogel, Ph.D, wrapped up the day with a keynote address on the state of emerging media research and what the future holds for the field. The inaugural conference was a great success and the next Emerging Media Studies cohort will organize next year’s conference.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth Crocker



Accepted Students Open House Day

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

The last weekend of March was quite a busy one for COM—what with the three-day long Narrative Conference going on at Boston University with so many amazing keynote speakers, journalists and storytellers from all over to sharing their experiences from the industry.

Over at the COM building on Saturday, March 28, the graduate program also had a panel of five keynote speakers, journalists and storytellers of their own at the Accepted Prospective Students Day, except the only difference was, it featured COM’s own current graduate students.

The panel of chosen students answered questions from the audience and talked about their current experiences at COM, why they chose the program, what the competition is like and how to manage the workload.

Alex Hirsch, (Sports Broadcast ’16) was one of the students whom the professors recommended be chosen to participate in the Q and A session panel. Just a year ago, Alex had been one of the many prospective students still trying to decide his future and whether or not his destiny lied with COM.


“It felt pretty cool being on the other side of the podium for once,” Alex said. “You’re always wondering whether you’re actually succeeding or doing your best work here at COM, but knowing that the professors recommend you to be on that panel is further confirmation that you’re on the right path in life, and that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s validation that I’m working towards the right goal and I’m right here where I belong.”

He also mentioned that although the Q and A session was for him to inform interested students, it was a learning lesson for him as well.

“I didn’t do journalism before COM and I realized that while I was answering questions, I was representing all those people who are coming to school without any journalism background either. I was there to explain that just because I didn’t have undergraduate experience in it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done,” he said.

Hanae Armitage, (Science Journalism ’15) was also chosen to be on the distinguished panel of students to represent her field and help prospective students consider COM to be their future home.

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“It was definitely a great experience honestly,” she said. “I remember having a ton of questions and being in their position last year, and it was great to share my own experience with them. Especially even more so now because I can confirm that I absolutely love it here, and I made the right choice.”

For Armitage, it wasn’t tough to gush about the program and encourage students to come experience COM for themselves. “Everyone here I’ve met in the science journalism field has been super supportive of incoming journalists which I appreciate. So I felt like I really wanted to relay that attitude to the new students too,” she said.

Feel like you’re at another turning point in life with a fork stuck in the road? Time grabbing you by the wrist directing you where to go? You heard it here first. COM is definitely the path that can’t be beat!

Creating Video Campaigns

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

Have you ever wondered what goes into a video advertising campaign? Ever wanted to be behind-the-scenes of the creative process from idea to execution? You can do all of this in CM 518, a class called Creating Video Campaigns. This fall, Randy Hackett, a video content director, creative consultant and adjunct professor at BU,will teach students the craft of creating engaging video content. This includes everything from conceptual techniques, to the story and the use of camera and music.

“Video is such a ubiquitous presence in marketing communications,” Hackett says. “Everyone has to learn about it, not only how to utilize it from a production and practical standpoint but what makes it effective from a narrative, storytelling, and communication standpoint.” Although the class is generally geared towards advertising students, it is available to anyone interested in creative production. According to Hackett, the class would benefit any student in a communications discipline and is an “idea muscle flexing course” for people in all fields of study.

Non-profits, corporations, institutions, ad agencies, PR firms, media outlets, blogs and new business ventures have begun relying increasingly on video content.“Every website has a video now,” Hackett says. “It’s kind of the ‘show me’ generation. People don’t have as much time to read – they want to be entertained and they want their information teed up for them.”

Although the class is not technical and stops at actual film production, it includes everything up to that point: developing storyboards, recommending suppliers, working with sound design, and everything in between. Hackett treats the class like a small agency, choosing real companies that might not have a significant video presence or are in need of a video campaign for a specific scenario. Students work in teams to develop the creative components, which are presented in-house and then in a client presentation.

Hackett’s real world work makes the class more dynamic as well. This year, he directed a shoot with Tae Bo guru Billy Blanks, a national commercial his students were able to observe on-set. Watch the Brother Printers commercial with Billy Blanks here.“


One of the advantages of the program at COM is a lot of professors have actual real life ongoing projects,” Hackett says. “It makes it feel a little bit more alive.” For graduate students interested in taking the class, the pre-requisites for Creating Video Campaigns are: CM 708 (Principles and Practices of Advertising), CM 707 (Writing for Multimedia), and CM 717 (Fundamentals of Creative Development).

Are you in advertising or another field and thinking Creating Video Campaigns might be for you? Have you taken the class? What skills did you learn?


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One semester down, two to go! I can do this! Right?

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

Last semester was definitely one for the books.  I dove head first into grad school and faced the roaring currents head-on.  But after a well-deserved (and much needed) winter break, I’m already back in the thick of it.  Chapters and chapters of reading seem to be piling up faster than I can even order my books.  And yet, something feels different this semester.

For one thing, I finally feel like I’ve got this whole “balance” thing down (even though sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy trying to get all my work done and actually have a life on the side).  When I take a second to stop and think about it though, I know I’m ten times more confident this semester than the last one.

Yes, the workload is still just as intense, if not more. but this time I know how to manage it better.  I know how to prioritize and organize my homework so I’m not overwhelmed.  And I know that if I don’t read every single word of every single assigned reading, it’s ok! Professors care more about understanding the big picture than memorizing and regurgitating minute details.

As much as I may feel more confident and ready to take on a new semester of grad school, I know the stress will still build up.  It’s inevitable when you’re in grad school because frankly, it comes with the territory.  You knowingly sign up for a rigorous academic curriculum and convince yourself that it’ll be just like undergrad.  Unfortunately, it’s not, and you’re still going to forget to complete an assignment or cram the night before an exam.

Again, that’s ok! So what if I get too busy and can’t study for a test as much as I’d like to? And yes, I’m repeating that as much for you as I am for me.  Because even though I can say that it’s okay to screw up every once in a while, I know I inevitably will still stress about it.  Guess I’ll just have to click back to this post if I start to head towards a mental breakdown for a little encouragement.

Because I’ve done it once, and I can do it again. Right? Right.