Digital Studies Alumni Stories
"I chose to minor in Digital Studies because I knew I wanted to do Marketing, but I wanted to go down more of the Digital Marketing route. I wanted the knowledge of the digital world and age we now live in, and the program absolutely exceeded my expectations. Social media, AI, and graphic design were concepts I learned in courses that I took through this program, and they have helped and aided me exponentially in my current Marketing job. Getting the digital studies minor was by far one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I truly hope more students acknowledge the importance of all the digital studies courses for their future careers in this ever-evolving technological world we now live in."
Carly Segar graduated in April 2023 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Digital Studies. She currently works as a Marketing Associate at RogueSearch.
"I found digital studies to be a wonderful supplement to computer science and other technology-focused programs. Digital studies broadened the problem-solving possibilities with software and reframed my priorities to human-centered design and the greater good. When I think of an idea for a software project, I now consider its potential harms and benefits on a much deeper level and use that to inform my design decisions. As someone with an artistic muscle that went into a STEM field such as computer science, it's easy to push that part of yourself aside when so much of your studies are technical in nature. The digital studies program provided a space to think more creatively and express myself through coursework vastly different in nature from my other studies. The program augmented the work in my major and allowed me to feel far more creatively fulfilled."
Originally from Rockford, Michigan, Trevor Sweet graduated in December 2022 with a Bachelor of Science, having studied Computer Science and Digital Studies. From 2020 to graduation, he worked as a graphic designer at University Communications, where he created graphics and illustrations for GVSU's main social media outlets. He currently works at Steelcase as an Associate Applications Engineer, where he develops software within their IT department. Outside of work, Trevor keeps busy collaborating on software projects with friends, endlessly designing and re-designing his personal website, taking up a million new hobbies, and pursing game development ideas that he swore he'd get to eventually.
"In school I was always torn between social arts and tech; the arts didn't seem to incorporate enough of my interest in the technological world, but tech never seemed to have enough humanity. Digital Studies bridged that gap and introduced me to an entirely new area where we learn about how people, tech and media we consume through said tech come together. Digital Studies ended up being the most important part of my degree. Anyone can teach people how to write code, but not all who write code can do it with a humanitarian approach. Programmers write code for people, and those people have to be at the forefront of developers' minds as we approach a more “smart” world. It will be up to us, the makers, observers, and civically aware, to be responsible digital citizens and work to help others navigate our digital world."
My name's Hannah Cain and I graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science and a minor in Digital Studies. I am currently working with Ford Motor Company as a mobile developer. Digital Studies is part of my professional everyday life as I am working with technology to bring users exciting new products with their needs at the front of my work. As cars and the EV and self-driving technologies associated with them are becoming bigger news, car companies are not only looking for engineers to build their new features, but they are also looking for humane technologists to help pave the way on how they want to approach these new, potentially exciting advancements.
"I chose to minor in Digital Studies because I wanted to compliment my major with digital literacy skills and expand my knowledge on subjects that interest me such as the Internet, technology, gaming, and design. Through the minor, I discovered that the role of technology in our world runs much deeper than I initially thought. Technology has revolutionized so many aspects of our lives, and it is up to us as digital citizens to evaluate its uses and evolution to ensure that it remains a primarily positive force in our world. Digital Studies allowed me to understand our role as students and digital citizens in the past, present, and future of the digital world. Best of all, the Digital Studies courses were always engaging, relevant, and fun!"
My name is Brooklyn Chaffee and I graduated with honors with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Digital Studies in April 2022. Currently, I am working for WGVU Public Media, the local PBS/NPR station in Grand Rapids, where I began as an intern. In my role, I design graphics for a variety of purposes both print and digital from Google Ad campaigns to large-scale outdoor banners. Additionally, I am working on redesigning our website using my knowledge of UI/UX design and SEO behind the scenes while ensuring that all information is accessible and up-to-date for website visitors.
"Digital Studies is a forward-thinking minor that has truly given me an elevated opportunity compared to my peers in the field. I completed a lot of job interviews during my senior year and my DS minor has received a lot of applause from potential employers. Digital Studies taught me how to research effectively, how to critically think about issues that are commonly overlooked, and how to evaluate up-and-coming technology. Most importantly perhaps, this minor has taught me how to explain information effectively, which is a key skill in the field of Advertising."
Olivia Cooperrider graduated with honors with an Advertising and Public Relations major and a minor in Digital Studies in April 2022. Upon graduating, Olivia began her role as a Project Manager at MRM, a digital agency in Detroit. Her role has her working on GMC's Website, managing website updates and working alongside UX, Copywriting, Strategy, Analytics, and many other teams. Working with a digital agency has given Olivia the chance to utilize a lot of the skills she's gained through her Digital Studies minor.
"I chose to minor in Digital Studies because I wanted to showcase my talents and passion for digital creation without minoring in something like Computer Science, which involved a lot of coding. The DS minor allowed me to gain digital skills like graphic design, data collection, web design, and blogging that were more widely applicable to the career paths I was interested in. Digital Studies, to me, is one of the most forward-thinking programs offered at GVSU. It's focused on helping students prepare for a future (and, more urgently, a workplace) that's becoming more digital every day, and it really helped me set myself apart when it came to looking for a job that needed a wide range of digital skills.
Jacob DeWeerd: I majored in Writing and minored in Digital Studies. Upon graduating in April 2022, I immediately started a job as a Content Writer for Geonexus, a SaaS company that works with utility companies all around the world. I write blog posts, create graphics for social media, and track engagement and other metrics for our various marketing efforts - all skills I learned as part of the DS minor!
Digital Studies finally made me feel like I had a place in my time at college. It was great to collaborate with peers on our shared passions like graphic design, visual storytelling, social media, and more! I highly recommend this program to be paired with any major as it can be applicable in endless career paths. I am so happy I chose this minor as it has taught me how important a users digital footprint is and the digital world as a whole. Being taught real world examples, various tools and ways of thinking related to the digital world has been eye opening and a skill ill take with me in my career and personal life forever.
Gina Gregory: I pursued an Advertising and PR major with an emphasis in Advertising and a Digital Studies minor and Studio Art minor. I graduated in April 2022, and now work as a marketing specialist in the beverage packaging machinery industry.
"The Digital Studies minor taught me how to interpret data through a people-first lens. I learned how to best be a digital citizen, as well as how to interpret data and look further into new digital technologies."
Alex Hicks graduated from GVSU in April 2022 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Digital Studies. They currently run their own business part time and work full time at MRM as an Analyst for General Motors.
"The Digital Studies program stretched my thinking about how people interact in the digital world. My mind has been opened to the many potential applications of the digital world and the ethical dilemmas that come along with them. The minor has taught me how to be more responsible with how much of myself I want to present online. In marketing, consumer data is essential. However, as a consumer, I have a deeper understanding of how that data is collected. Digital Studies has taught me how to be more cautious of my digital footprint and data privacy. I believe that this minor is important for anyone, not only as a professional, but as a person. I learned so much about myself because of the vast perspectives of my classmates. Choosing to add on the Digital Studies minor was one of the best decisions I made."
Peri Kiefer: I graduated GVSU in the spring of 2022 with a major in Marketing and Minors in Advertising & Public Relations as well as Digital Studies. Currently I am an Account Coordinator at RCP Marketing.I enjoy how dynamic and creative marketing, advertising, and public relations can be–especially when it comes to concept creation and campaign planning. In my free time, you can find me nose in a book, volunteering at Harbor Humane Society, jet setting to new places, or snuggled up with my dog and cats.
"Being a newer minor at the time, I chose Digital Studies a little blindly to accompany my major, Communication Studies, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to purse in terms of my career and thought the minor could give me some direction. And it did just that, and more! Digital Studies gave me the knowledge to see how diverse areas of study can fit in with digital tools and culture. Whether it be graphic design or social media and culture, Digital Studies opened my mind to learn and apply real-life skills and realize real-like perspectives. In my career now, I use what I’ve learned in Digital Studies everyday. I take headshots for my whole company using professional lighting, and I post graphics with captions weekly on my company’s social accounts. I couldn’t have asked for a better program to be a part of during my college years."
Emily Modloff: I graduated with honors in April 2022 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies, with minors in Digital Studies and Sociology. I started my career as a Marketing Specialist in July 2022 for LSI, a financial service company headquartered in the Chicago-land area.
"Digital studies has allowed me to take technology by the hand, rather than let it continue to control me - as it has in the past. I now believe I have vital tools and communication techniques needed to bring a new perspective into my future place of employment. Not only can this help me to market more effectively, but it can help me know where limits lie. Perhaps our generation, and other marketing students in programs like this one, can help re-write the narrative and change the present stigma surrounding marketing to people. Digital studies is a program for everyone, with people from all different majors - whether computer science, communications, public relations, advertising, or marketing (like me). We have all come together to learn and grow from one another. We have taught one another how to understand and comprehend concepts from a different perspective. We have learned what various topics are appealing and even important to others.”
Samantha Molnar graduated in April 2022 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Marketing major and Digital Studies minor. She currently works as a Marketing Assistant & Social Media Manager.
"I was originally interested in the Digital Studies program to help me utilize my major in Marketing to the best of it abilities. Throughout the minor I learned how to navigate the digital world and interpret/ use all the information in front of me. On top of that, the program helped me find new ways to be able to share findings and data with other in a more clear and concise manner. Now I find myself using the tactics taught in DS almost every day for my job in management. We are constantly reading and analyzing raw data in our industry and working on ways to convey these data trends to my peers in a simplified fashion. The minor as a whole has the objective of giving us an education in the digital world, but we get to create our own path. The path and the way we can apply it to our own world is exactly how I think all education should be in some manner.”
Jack Berry graduated in April 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a minor in Digital Studies. He currently works as a Business Development Manager.
"The DS minor gave me the space to grow skills I use every day in my career, making me a flexible, well rounded employee. More importantly though, the DS minor also gave me the critical thinking skills to adapt to/evaluate an always-evolving digital world, making me a well rounded and informed digital citizen. I went into undergrad wanting to learn a bit of everything— I wanted to be a film editor, a photographer, a writer, and a designer all at once— and the Digital Studies minor helped me combine all of these interests in one flexible program. The DS program let me explore skills in multiple fields and gain insights into many of the digital tools and landscapes we often take for granted, insights and lessons that have stayed with me well after graduation."
Hannah Kelly is a writer and designer based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated from GVSU in May of 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and minors in Digital Studies and Spanish. She currently works as an Associate Copywriter for Demand Inc, a worldwide B2B sales group where she writes for different clients each week and uses many of the skills she learned in DS classes daily.
"The Digital Studies minor provides a great opportunity to explore unique digital cultures, communities, and perspectives. You get to build technical skills by learning how to understand HTML and CSS coding as well as learn data visualization techniques and software programs. There is also a great amount of range and flexibility in what topics to explore for projects. Digital Studies clued me in on many important topics affecting our lives today, such as cybersecurity and privacy, how social media really works and can influence our decisions, and the history of different cultures that have created communities online. You will not be able to get this kind of perspective on the digital world anywhere else, and the minor is a great mix of digital culture exploration and building practical technical skills. Digital Studies helped me understand how technology is affecting myself and the world on a deeper level."
Dawson Heath graduated from GVSU in April 2021 with a Writing Major and Digital Studies minor. His favorite places on campus are the Rec Center, Writing Center, and library. Dawson currently works in the Strategic Integration Administration within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as an Organizational Change Management Analyst. He loves hiking, traveling, and spending time with his friends and family.
"The digital studies minor opened my eyes to how we inspire the digital world and how the digital world inspires us, in a constant process. Through this minor, I learned to observe digital spaces through different lenses, like cohesive design, logic in programming, questions of public and private ethics, biases built into platforms, and more. This program stretched my skillset and confidence when it comes to diving in to new digital tools. I know that I can figure out anything with enough persistence and creativity."
Annie Cunningham graduated in April 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Writing and a minor in Digital Studies. She now works full-time as a marketing writer for Central Michigan University.
"Digital Studies gave me the skills necessary to participate responsibly in our digital world. As a social media manager, I am seeing the best and the worst of our digital world on a daily basis. Digital Studies not only gave me many of the tangible work skills that I use on social media every day, but also helped me understand the intricacies of digital communication and culture, digital ethics, accessibility and more."
Sarah Dudinetz: I am a 2020 graduate. My major was Advertising and PR with a PR emphasis, and my minors were in Writing and Digital Studies. I now work as the Social Media Specialist for Grand Valley, overseeing all institutional social media channels.