Fifteen students, seven days, one goal: journalism
Dressed for success and with notepads in hand, 15 incoming freshmen who visited CU Journalism & Mass Communication recently began their morning asking questions at a press conference.
The students asked detailed questions of Don Misch, director of Wardenburg Health Center. Are social media addictive? What happens to academic performance when students don’t get enough sleep?
The information the students gathered from the press conference, and from interviews with students around the Boulder campus, became the focus of news packages – videos, news stories, polls and other features – the students produced and posted to a website called mindbodybuffs.com.
The students were attending the Pathways to Excellence in Journalism Summer Intensive, an annual summer workshop that allows incoming freshmen to experience college life and prepares them for academic success while building peer connections that will hopefully last them a lifetime. The students live in dorms, take classes in study skills and time management, and spent much of their time working on reporting projects at JMC.
Instructor Paul Daugherty helped students with the production and video aspects of their packages.
“It’s pretty cool, I think the activities give them just a taste of what their semester would be like at the JMC,” Daugherty said.
Although many of the students walked in on their first day expecting to leave with a thorough understanding of what it means to be a journalist, they said they left with much more.
Jordyn Siemens, 18, of Fort Collins, had been anticipating the week-long program since she received her e-mail invitation from JMC Diversity Coordinator Dave Martinez.
“At first I was mostly just excited that I was picked for something like this,” Siemens said. “But then … it made me excited to know that I’ll be going into my freshman year knowing more than most journalism students would about the campus and who my resources are and study skills that I can start out with.”
Ellis Arnold of Aurora, Colorado said he was most grateful for the personal connections he made, and the different aspects of journalism he encountered, which will help him make a more informed decision about what he wants to do.
“I think it’s been really helpful in showing people the different disciplines,” Arnold said. “I know we went over advertising, we went over broadcast news, a little bit of news- editorial.”
At the end of their week, the students gathered for a farewell dinner, where many spoke about the friendships they’d formed. Student Steve Marcantonio pointed out how emotional the group was. “People are talking about tearing up,” he said. “I can honestly just say that from not knowing your names a week ago, I definitely love all of you now and I really look forward to working with all of you,” once the school year begins. “This has all just been a fantastic experience.”
Each of the students received a $1,500 annual scholarship, renewable for four years, and $500 dollars towards the purchase of textbooks.