Stephanie Van Doorn-Kazyak became a professional communicator thanks to an unexpected part as a movie extra.

“It was the summer after my third year in college, I needed to figure out what I needed to do with my life and career,” said Van Doorn-Kazyak. “That summer there was a movie being filmed in my hometown with Barry Sanders and Kurt Russel.”

Stephanie had the opportunity to step into the movie and get a sense of how movies were made. This window into content creation inspired her to study communications. Already a student at Michigan State University, Stephanie joined the College of Communication Arts & Sciences as a communication major and never looked back.

Read Stephanie’s Story and follow Stephanie @svandoorn88

I am familiar with college anxiety–I still occasionally have nightmares that I forgot my schedule, started picking classes late, went to the wrong classroom, forgot there was a test… you know what I mean! I realize that many of our students feel nervous about starting a new college program, but I can reassure them that their instructors and classmates will make sure their experiences in the Strategic Communication MA program never feel like those bad dreams.

In the end, the fact that we are not all physically together doesn’t stop us from learning a lot and having a fun time doing it. Community-building in virtual spaces can be just as fun, reassuring, and helpful as an in-person experience. And since our virtual communities include animated GIFs… they might even better than in-person!

Read the entire story from Valeta Wensloff and follow Valeta @digimae

Karl Gude teaches classes on creative thinking and problem solving and conducts Design Thinking workshops in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. Gude is the Director of the college’s Media Sandbox and a faculty instructor in the School of Journalism. Prior to entering academia, Gude was the Director of Information Graphics at Newsweek magazine and The Associated Press. In 2017, Gude received the MSU Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award and was also featured in the university President Lou Anna Simon’s Report on teaching creativity.