Aerial view of the Dowagiac campus

Mass communications students master social media

03/09/2017 - 1pm
Melissa Swanson, The Nest

Heather Day’s mass communication students seem a disparate group.

Yet the politician pushing back against STEM, the news anchor, the Instagram video game reviewer and the legally-blind aspiring soap-opera writer smolder with passion.

Zakariya Hussein, creator of Game On and Beyond, networks with Jirard Khalil The Completionist (700,000 YouTube subscribers).

“Lately I have been gung-ho about finding jobs, sending resumes to video game developers. I got up at 8 a.m. and sent three. I’m inspired by other students because I know they have dreams, too,” said Hussein, a South Bend Adams product with 312 followers reviewing since 2014.

Khalil “told me to contact him when I obtain my associate degree. He needs an editor and that’s what I want to do. He started commenting on my photos. It’s cool when people you look up to notice. If I want something, I can’t rely on others. I have this fire inside me to be creative and to show people I’m serious. If people try to put water on your flame, make it higher. Success is about determination,” Hussein said.

Melissa Swanson anchors The Nest of SMC, “Where (Roadrunners) Get in the Know.”

Her mom suggested the name, where everybody comes together like the Birdfeeder, for which Swanson promotes lunch specials.

“I thought it would be cool if you’re deciding on college and see me doing this. You’d go ‘Wow! SMC has opportunities.’ You can start whatever you want and professors like Christy Tidd and Heather Day support you.”

Being from Dowagiac, but graduating from Watervliet High School, spurred Swanson to immerse herself in campus life to meet people.

“I love looking at The Toilet Paper and go to everything around campus, like speed friending,” she said. “How many campuses have something free like Kim Gravel? I loved the empowering message she gave.”

SMC’s affordability sold her father.

Swanson was a Watervliet runner who set a school record and finished in the top 10 at state.

“Coaches recruited me, including one from Maine. I wanted to go to Spring Arbor, but came here on a field trip and felt at home. Dad was right. SMC’s probably the best choice I’ve made in my life thus far,” Swanson said.

Swanson, employed at Wood Fire and The Baker’s Rhapsody, considered teaching, but feared she lacked patience.

Interviewing guests in addition to anchoring Sunday-afternoon newscasts in the Student Activity Center theatre is a goal.

“I don’t have a teleprompter, so I type a script I memorize so I can be as professional as possible,” she said. “I plan on continuing in the fall and am looking for help.”

Callahan Stoub, a dual-enrolled Berrien Springs High School senior who wants to become an attorney or U.S. Representative, launched “I Am Not STEM” on Facebook.

“Words have always come easier than numbers; paragraphs possess more power than algorithms and equations. And I’m not alone,” she said. “We need doctors and engineers, but I’m not interested in science. I decided I didn’t want to be a doctor at age 2 when I passed out at the sight of my own blood.”

“One college I’m looking at transferring to (Washington and Lee University in Virginia) is a really good liberal arts school, but also a really good business school, which is an important connection with how important the economy is in our system.”

Kyla Miller, of Sawyer, created her YouTube channel as a Bridgman High School junior.

Born with a rare eye condition, septo-optic dysplasia (SOD), Miller “can see a billboard, but probably not what it says. I use glasses with telescopes to see the board.”

Guided everywhere by her Leader Dog, Winter, Miss Three Oaks/River Valley 2015 began writing at 10 and sharing work at 15. Her notebooks fill two shelves.

“Just because I have an impairment doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. That’s what I want to show” through weekly videos — some with 600+ views from networking social media platforms.
Miller, who cannot drive, speaks to Grand Valley State University’s Dinner in the Dark via Skype March 15.

“I thought about doing something soap-opera-related for this assignment. On Twitter I run weekly polls, with over 1,000 followers, but I want to help others,” said Miller, who studies scriptwriting online.

Daytime dramas dwindled from 11 in 2002 to four.

Thirty million tuned in to Luke and Laura’s 1981 General Hospital wedding.

The Young and the Restless ranks first with an average audience of 5 million.

Ron Weaver, a three-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning producer who worked on The Bold and the Beautiful for 27 years and was part of the team that created Sesame Street, grew up in Dowagiac.

“That could be me,” Miller said.