Seniors in digital media studies present flagship projects: NewsCenter

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May 18, 2021

Examples of digital documents created by undergraduate students for their digital media study synthesis projects. Top left: close-up of a poster designed by the Cracker Box Palace team; close-up of the poster for the Just Sing Out project; and details of the MEDIA project website. (Illustration from the University of Rochester)


Rochester students show how digital media can help solve real-world problems.

Each year, seniors specializing in Digital Media Studies at the University of Rochester spend their final semester working as a team to complete wrap-up projects. Projects demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge of media history, theory, design and technology in a digital media project that addresses real world problems or needs.

The pandemic posed an additional hurdle this year, forcing students to find new ways to engage and work with each other virtually, and in some cases, collaborate across time zones.

“Organizing six people in different locations was a challenge for us,” says Sofia Hennessey, a member of a team that created a digital destination for students looking for basic technical education.

“Our students’ ability to continue to create meaningful work while facing a global pandemic and amid our country’s awareness of racism is a testament to their sense of community,” said Stephanie Ashenfelder, Director of acting undergraduate program in Digital Media Studies.

And it’s a successful group. “These graduates already have big plans, and many are heading for graduate studies in various programs all over the world, including Amsterdam, Southern California and New York,” she adds.

The projects are very diverse, as a sample of this year’s achievements shows.


Share the digital toolbox

Project title: MEDIA

Members of the team: Alex Chase, Jennifer Ngene, Dominique Dorvil, Kun Fang, Sofia Hennessey, Henry Vargas

The cornerstone arose out of the group’s shared experience – the feeling that they could benefit from a more technical education that was not necessarily included in the major. Their project complements the major in Digital Media Studies with new opportunities in technical education and provides a framework for creative students to work on their portfolios with a view to entering the workforce.

  • Visit the MEDIA project website, where team members share their process and what they have learned along the way, from ideation to iteration to launch.

Help a non-profit organization with its digital brand

Project title: Cookie Box Palace

Members of the team: Fiona Chen, Carolina Lion He, Harry Ma, Yujie Zhous

The team worked with an existing community partner, Cracker Box Palace, a farm and animal rescue organization in Alton, New York. The association had a list of things they wanted students to cover, from building an app to building a new website.

“Their problem was that they had a lot of problems,” says Carolina Lion He ’21. “It’s kind of a tough prompt. It’s very open but very expansive and perfectly designed for a cornerstone of digital media.

The team worked with the board of the nonprofit organization, learning about the group’s need to create a brand identity, through regular online communications.

  • Check out the Cracker Box Palace project site, where team members share their approach to this open-ended project and to see all of the identity-building assets they’ve created.

Help others to sing aloud, in an unknown language

Project title: Just sing
Members of the team: Juliet Ding, Jingxuan Fang, Noah Honickman, Lingling Li, Keyuan Qin

“Language barriers have become the biggest obstacle for people to sing a song in a foreign language,” the team notes on its project website. But this obstacle should not prevent friends from sharing an interest or appreciation in such songs.

The team provides a platform for anyone who likes a song in an unfamiliar language and really wants to sing it. The platform, which currently focuses on East Asian pop songs, provides phonetic versions of the lyrics. Team members built and built a website with front-end and back-end applications, in addition to producing an animated promotional video for the site.

The project “encourages people not only to get their lyrics transliterated, but to upload their lyrics, so there is an exchange between a fan and the fan group,” says Lingling Li.


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Key words: Arts and Sciences, Class of 2021, Digital Media Studies Program

Category: Student life

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