Students, professionals ‘Join the Webolution’

By Andrew Canales

Students filtered in and out of Ursa Major in the Bronco Student Center on Thursday to hear speeches by professionals in the communication field during COM Day.

Julie Powell, bestselling author of “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” served as the event’s keynote speaker and sat down for a one-on-one interview with Communication student Jan Sarah Sink.

Sink, who fielded questions submitted by students online, said the social media influence played a part in the decision to conduct the interview that way.

“We chose to do the interview style because we really wanted to be able to get people to tweet questions, Facebook questions or email questions,” said Sink, a graduating senior. “We thought that having people be able to use the social media and use the Internet to kind of tailor the information they wanted to get from [Powell]. We thought it would be a great way to set this up.”

Third-year Communication student Andrea Jimenez enjoyed Powell’s interview and said Powell’s decision to remain true to herself in her writing was inspiring.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Jimenez. “I liked that she encouraged us to write for ourselves instead of writing to please the general public.”

Powell was accompanied in Ursa Major by Barbara Davidson, 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer; Danny Sussman, Hollywood talent agent and Tim Mead, Vice President of Communications for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The foursome provided a unique look into the world of communications and the jobs that await students upon graduation.

Event Chair Marina Zanzarini said the variety of topics presented was a pleasant surprise and it kept the attention of students throughout the day.

“It was a great surprise that we got that variety,” said Zanzarini. “We were afraid it would be too consistent or that it would have too similar of a tone. It really helped in keeping the audience’s attention and it engaged them.”

Although the committee had been preparing to host 700 people, they confirmed a total of 327 registered people, not including faculty and staff. Despite the shortage of attendees, the audience remained captivated throughout the course of the day.

Ryan Whittington, the committee chair of speakers and programs, complimented students on filtering through the speeches in between classes. Whittington said each student in attendance left with a new piece of information concerning the communications field.

“It wasn’t like there were 500 students in the room at the same time, but there was a cool flow of people that came to watch different things and left and came back,” said Whittington. “You could tell people were going to classes and coming back. I feel that the length of the day really helped everyone out. Everyone, I believe, in the communication department was able to see some professional talk. Even though the room wasn’t always packed, people were always gaining knowledge.”

Communication professor Vinita Dhingra teaches the Special Events Planning class, which is responsible for putting on the event. Dhingra expressed her pride in the students’ work, saying the weeks of preparation finally paid off.

“I am pleased with the outcome of the day, and I think our students did a great job,” said Dhingra. “I’m very proud of my students. They rose to the occasion and did an excellent job. We’ve spent the past eight weeks planning and organizing the entire event, and I think each student had a true learning experience from this and you could see the results today.”

Author Julie Powell

Kyle Thurin / The Poly Post

Author Julie Powell

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