COLA Connections Newsletter: March 2014

Alumni Profile - Steve Bodnar, Communication & Media Technologies

Steve Bodnar is a 2012 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts with a Master of Science degree in Communication & Media Technologies. During his time at RIT Steve worked as a graduate assistant on the Wildenhain exhibit, helping to facilitate communications and promotional campaigns. He used the experience of his work with the exhibit to write his thesis “Getting Attention for a Ceramic Art Exhibition: A Case Study of a Nonprofit’s Promotional Campaign.” Steve is now a communications coordinator at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. He recently visited campus for a talk about his experiences both at RIT and in his new position at HWS, the talk was sponsored by the RIT PRSSA.

Why did you come to RIT?

I went to RIT for the Communication & Media Technologies program. It enabled me to expand my academic and professional horizons on a path that was right for me. At the time of being accepted, I had a B.A. in English/journalism and had worked in news media for a few years. I was passionate about graduate school and RIT had the kinds of options I wanted to explore. For me, the CMT program was the perfect setting to study communication at an advanced level, learn from faculty who are passionate about their work, develop skills I could use after graduation, and delve into a cutting-edge academic environment.

How do you think your education at RIT was different than it would have been if you had gone to a graduate program somewhere else?

In addition to the central curriculum of the CMT program, there’s also an option for enrolling in applied professional or technical courses. As a CMT student, I was able to take a number of marketing courses alongside MBA students in RIT’s Saunders College of Business. I liked the chance to engage at the graduate level with students who were studying outside of my academic area. It was a unique learning opportunity.

You worked on the Wildenhain Exhibit with Dr. Bruce Austin, how was that experience?

It was a great opportunity with a number of solid responsibilities, including writing press releases, managing social media and helping to strategize aspects of the campaign. Eventually, under the guidance of Dr. Austin and Dr. Tina Lent, I prepared a case study of the campaign as my master's thesis. Overall it was a tremendous learning experience.

Name your favorite things to do outside of class.

I loved jogging on the nature trails in the RIT Woods, grabbing coffee at Java Wally’s, and enjoying a bite to eat with friends in Global Village. When I was in the CMT program, I finally had the chance to check off having a garbage plate from my list of must do’s in Rochester.

What has been your career path thus far?

Writing is the thread that ties together my path across communication professions. I began my career as a journalist at several newspapers. I also spent time writing and strategizing content for websites before beginning the CMT program. My goal was to take those skills and apply it to being a communications professional in higher education. Now at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, I use those very writing skills - and more - every day, from preparing publicity articles to writing content for our publications. My background and experiences were the perfect foundation for my professional endeavors today.

What is it like working at Hobart and William Smith Colleges?

HWS is an amazing place. As a communications professional at the Colleges, I get to work in a highly collaborative environment with an award-winning communications team. In my role as communications coordinator, I have the opportunity to be involved in multiple projects, each with its own unique and interesting circumstances. For me, being able to apply my skills across communication streams and in collaboration with my HWS colleagues is hugely rewarding, especially in that we’re achieving common goals.

What advice would you give to current students about life after RIT?

I think it’s important to have passion, curiosity and a solid work ethic. You’re developing those very traits now as RIT students by exploring your own academic and extracurricular interests, studying for exams, conducting research, and completing major class projects for deadline. Don’t lose that energy when you graduate. Those traits will transfer across to nearly anything you might pursue in life.