Bryce Peake PhD Student, School of Journalism & Communication Application for: Gary E.

Smith Professional Development Award In the field of Communication Studies, expectations about technological proficiency have been steadily increasing in the classroom and in research alike. Over the past year, I have been honing my pedagogical strengths in this area by teaching undergraduate students how to produce multimedia stories using Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, Wordpress, and Apple Final Cut Pro in the Gateway to Media course in the School of Journalism & Communication. Simultaneously, I am currently working as web designer for Fembot, an online collaboration of scholars working on gender, new media, and technology. Fembot was created using WordPress, a free and open source content management system (CMS) and blogging tool powered by PHP and MySQL that has become the gold standard for websites and blogging. However, in today’s job market it is not enough to demonstrate that you have media production and pedagogical experience — academic and professional employers alike are demanding that job candidates be credentialed media producers. I am applying for the Gary E. Smith Professional Development Award to strengthen my production credentials. Specifically, the award would allow me to become an Adobe Certified Expert Web & Design Specialist, and to participate in seminars at the Electronics Entertainment Expo, June 5-7 in Los Angeles. Not only would these credentials aid in my work as a graduate student, they would also allow me to consider career paths other than academe, a necessity in today’s lean job market. My background in web and graphic design has come from a need to find innovative visual outlets to express information about sound, the central element of my own research. Visual communication is one of the most effective ways to share this research online. For the most part, I have been successful at mastering this, as can be seen by the multiple awards I’ve received for research poster presentations — from Brandeis University, the American Anthropological Association, and the Greater Boston Anthropology Consortium. My fluency and proficiency at manipulating code and graphics comes from the close interlink between editing sound and editing images. In addition to presenting my own

research, I’ve used this fluency with design programs to do freelance web and graphic design work for Brandeis University and Harvard University over the past 3 years. It was also my media and web production capabilities that got me involved with Fembot, an international, online collective of scholars designing a publication platform in WordPress, with a particular emphasis on fusing feminist politics and open-access ethos. In my current capacity as web designer, I am responsible for the re-design and maintenance of the Fembot website, primarily theme-ing, widget & plugin maintenance, and workflow management. I am also responsible for working with an illustrator to vector the online covers, as well as do layout and design for the print-on-demand edition of the collective’s upcoming journal series. Despite all of my experience in web and design, however, the truth of the matter is that I am fully self-taught: there are gaps in boty my knowledge and abilities. Furthermore, given the freelance nature of my previous work, and the ‘unofficial’ status conferred upon the Fembot project by academia, I am left with much professional axperience and little by way of professional credibility. I am applying for the Gary E. Smith Professional Development Award to formally obtain that credibility. I am applying for funds for two activities related to obtaining those credentials: 1. To become an Adobe Certified Expert Web & Graphic Design Specialist; and 2. To participate in seminars and session in web and graphic magazine design at the Electronics Entertainment Expo. Becoming an Adobe Specialist is a two-step process. First, the candidate must become familiar not just with one Adobe application, but also with the interlinking all applications within the suite. To become a Design Specialist, I must demonstrate proficiency in untilizing the inter-processing of Adobe Acrobat Pro, InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop; to become a Web Specialist, I have to demonstrate expertise in and across Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, and Photoshop. This is by far the most costly part of the process, as it requires me to purchase the Adobe Creative Suite ($899). The second step in the process, having mastered the applications and tasks ascribed by Adobe, is taking the specialist exams for both Design and Web specialization ($150 each, $300 total). I will supplement this training by participating in professional trade seminars held at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) ($795 registration before April 23, $995 after;

$700 lodging and food). The rationale for attending E3 is that the most innovative graphic and web designers are the product of conversations around and seminars in innovation that take place at trade conferences like E3. Indeed, if academia is going to survive the transition from ‘print to web’ culture, to say nothing of tablet and/or mobile cultures, bridging the professional popular design world and the academic intellectual content world is imperative, both in terms of online content management and graphic design. E3 is an ideal opportunity to begin building this bridge. In addition to building up my production skills, and improving my potential in the future academic job market, this training coupled with my involvement in Fembot places me at the forefront of re-thinking academic knowledge production and dissemination. Furthermore, as a certified Adobe Web & Design Specialist, my job prospects beyond the university expand extensively — particularly in the public sector, at museums, libraries, and other institutions of social education/consciousness. In previous years, it would have made sense to utilize student loans to gain this advantage. However, as the US government guts the federal funding for all education, the soaring interest rates that are attached to student loans make this option unrealistic. The Gary E. Smith Professional Development Award would thus provide me the financial support to make myself not simply a better student, but a better academic, a better instructor, and a better job candidate both in and beyond the academy.

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