10 Dec Digital Media Communications Specialists – Originally from AG News
University of Valley Forge Digital Media Communications majors have the opportunity to gain a foothold in the marketplace thanks to a unique program where they gain hands-on experience.
Digital Media Communications majors can obtain a bachelor’s degree in one of five concentrations: digital media studies, digital media photography, digital media video production, graphic design, or recording arts. Through UVF’s media production team, students will have at least nine media production gigs this semester alone.
“The University of Valley Forge wants to cultivate an academic environment that is on the cutting edge with current technology,” says digital media professor Dominick A. Garcia. “We take what’s in the classroom and apply it in the field. We want to make sure students have a holistic approach to the digital convergence.”
That might mean an 18-year-old video production student operating a video camera at a campus chapel service, during a Christian music festival, on a mission trip to Panama, or in the course of a PennDel Ministry Network convention. The student also would gain experience in design, photography, and audio.
Currently, 100 students are majoring in Digital Media Communications, a department that began in 2007. Garcia says the vast majority of graduates go into the digital media field. While students focus on one particular field, they receive instruction in multiple components.
“Our department is distinct in the way that a student will leave with training in five core areas,” says Garcia, 34.
Nathan Varghese, a sophomore, says he came to UVF from his native India because of the digital media program.
His father, Valson Varghese, is senior associate pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Hyderabad, India, as well as co-chairman of the World AG Fellowship Next Gen Commission. Although New Life Assembly, which has 7,000 attendees, broadcasts four services live to 70 countries, Nathan Varghese says most India churches are small and lack video equipment and training.
“I want to use digital media for the gospel,” says Varghese, 18. “This campus has world-class camera equipment as well as software and hardware for changing technology.”
Rebekah Baines found work at the Assemblies of God national office in Springfield, Missouri, in June immediately after graduating from UVF with a Digital Media Communications degree specializing in photography. She is now communication and content strategist for AG Youth Ministries.
“The program helped me find myself in ways I wasn’t expecting,” says Baines, 22. “It gave me more purpose and honed the things I loved to do.” She found her professors acted as mentors in helping her develop skills.
In her current job, Baines oversees all communication from the office, including social media and website content. Baines, originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, also is a freelance photographer.
Grant Newswanger graduated in 2015 from UVF with a Digital Media Communications degree that has a recording arts emphasis. He now is an audio engineer at the Sight & Sound Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“The program’s greatest asset is the commitment to ensuring that their students have hands-on experience in every area,” says Newswanger, 27. “The opportunities to hone both one’s skill set and work well under pressure are a testament to what I do today.”
Photo: Student Nathan Varghese (left) talks about the program with professor Dominick Garcia.