Major in New Digital Media Combines Storytelling and Technical Skills


Nick Jarek arrived at UMass Lowell in the fall of 2018 without declaring an adult.

He enrolled in a wide range of courses in his first year, including a course in principles of lighting, which he said would meet a scientific requirement in the laboratory.

It turned out to be a high level digital media course on how to light a scene for photography or videography. Even though it didn’t count as a science class, Jarek says it was the best “mistake” he had ever made.

“We all did everything: be behind the camera, prepare the shots and edit. I fell in love with the whole process, putting all the pieces together and working with sophisticated cameras, ”he says. “And it’s very group-oriented. You work as a team, which I really liked.

At the time, digital media was only a minor, but Jarek chose it as one of his two concentrations within the Bachelor of Liberal Arts (BLA). He has taken as many courses as possible in podcasting, screenwriting, video production, graphic design, and graphic animation.

Photo by K. Webster

Digital Media Student Assistant Nick Jarek assembles a new camera lens in the studio.

“I wanted to take all the classes they had, because I want to be prepared for whatever I do after I graduate,” he says. “NESN (New England Sports Network) is the dream, but I have the skills to work on radio, be a cameraman for the Red Sox or edit films.”

This fall, digital media has become essential. The goal is to teach students how to effectively tell stories in multiple formats, explains program director Pavel Romaniko, an assistant professor of art and design education.

In their final year, each student must complete an internship or create a wrap-up project such as a movie, podcast, or digital marketing campaign, depending on their interests and career goals, explains Romaniko.

“We want to offer a lot of flexibility in the curriculum,” he says. “We want to give students a solid background in drawing on journalism, English and art, while providing them with strong skills in video and audio production. It’s very convenient to work with real clients.

One of these clients is UMass Lowell Division I Track and Field Program, which will expand its internship program to provide hands-on experience to up to 15 digital media students. Students can work with the camera in games, edit or create motion graphics and videos for River Hawks’ website and social media channels, explains King of Aaron ’17, director of multimedia and production for UML Athletics.
Adeja Crearer works as an assistant producer at CNN
Courtesy photo
Adeja Crearer ’17, ’18, who majored in English and a minor in digital media, now works as an assistant producer at CNN.

King, who majored in English, was one of the first students to earn a digital media minor. He now oversees all UML Athletics broadcasts for ESPN and NESN, as well as video content for the web and social media.

“Every work experience I have had after graduating from college, to this day, is due to the minor in digital media and the connections and experiences I have gained during that time,” King said.

Adeja Crearer ’17, ’18 also majored in English and minor in Digital Media before earning a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. She now works as an associate producer for CNN in New York.

“The digital media program has been a huge stepping stone for me,” she says. “It gave me a competitive advantage because it made me a one-woman production team: I can write, shoot, edit and produce. “

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Asst. Dean Wael Kamal, who launched the digital media program in 2015, says the program emphasizes learning a range of digital skills and aligns with UML’s mission to create a pool of highly qualified professionals to meet regional employment needs.

“Regional demand shows the need for professionals with versatile experiences and academic training,” he says.

UML senior Lucas Bermudez checks out new equipment in the digital media studio
Photo by K. Webster
Lucas Bermudez, a Bachelor of Liberal Arts specializing in digital media and creative writing, plans to make a film for his wrap-up project.

Guest speaker Dan Frank, who teaches numerous studio courses in videography and video production, says the major also prepares students for jobs in digital advertising, corporate marketing and motion graphics.

Junior Ashley Habenicht, who like Jarek is pursuing a digital media concentration for her BLA degree, says she is excited to take more classes with Frank as he has spent three decades producing and directing everything from commercials to movies and television programming.

“He’s a really good teacher, and he has real experience producing documentaries, music videos and TV shows,” she says. “He can do a bit of everything. “

UML student Ashley Habenicht has a BLA concentration in digital media
Photo by K. Webster
Digital media student assistant Ashley Habenicht says she enjoys the classes taught by guest speaker Dan Frank.

Frank and Romaniko say that with the expansion of the program, the university has invested $ 60,000 in industry-standard cameras, audio recorders, lights, and other essential equipment so that students can work with. the latest technology.

The Digital Media Program also benefits from a partnership that Canon offers to college and university programs that purchase its cameras and lenses. Canon will loan its new cameras to UML for a few weeks at a time, allowing students to work with high-end equipment, and will co-sponsor professional photographers and filmmakers as guest speakers.

Courtney Coviello, a digital media major, who transferred to UMass Lowell a year ago after earning an associate’s degree from Middlesex Community College, was educated at Lowell Telemedia Center – another longtime partner of the Digital Media Program – and the Tewksbury public access cable station. Now she has a third job as a digital media student assistant.

Although she already has extensive video experience, Coviello says UML’s digital media courses expand her knowledge and expose her to a wider range of career options. Now that all of her classes are in person, she can’t wait to get her hands on some of these top-of-the-line Canon cameras.

“I’m excited because I have more experience working with better cameras, working with lights, and finding other people in my major and networking with them,” she says. “I’m going to do what I really love.


Leave A Reply