WEB EXCLUSIVE: EMDA students hope seek recognition

Students in the Electronic Media program, who said their program is overshadowed by other majors in the School of Media and Public Affairs, voiced their concerns at meeting of a new student group in the Marvin Center Monday.

The group, called the George Washington Network of Media Students, (GNOMES), aims to form an alumni network for students, give EMDA more of a presence in the SMPA and on campus and push for changes that would benefit EMDA students.

At the meeting, about 10 EMDA majors brainstormed ideas to improve what they called a lack of recognition for the EMDA program. Students cited a recent meeting of SMPA majors, in which they said no member of the EMDA program received a scholarship, as an example of the problem.

“We feel left out,” junior Katharine Wootton said.

But SMPA director Jean Folkerts said most of the scholarships go to Journalism students because the scholarships come from funds with specific criteria defined 20 to 30 years ago. Another prize, the Roberts prize, can come from any major.

David Liban, director of the EMDA program, said he supports the group.

“I think it’s a great idea, I think that the students should have a voice, and I wish that I could have attended the meeting,” Liban said. “We agree with most of the things on (their) wish list, but some are out of our control.”

Liban would not specify what items on the agenda he agreed with.

Liban said he disagrees that EMDA students have less recognition than other students in the school.

“The students clearly have that perception, but I attended all the (events) and EMDA is included,” he said. “It’s just that more journalism and (political communications) students attend these events.”

Students also said there is not enough variety in their classes. They said many EMDA classes are repetitive, while other classes in the bulletin are never taught or taught infrequently. Students said GW could offer a better variety by hiring more professors.

“We love our professors, but we want more of the same caliber,” said junior Kelly Snyder, an organizer of the group.

“All students would like to have more professors in their programs,” Folkerts said. “EMDA has more full-time professors than others in the School of Media and Public Affairs.”

Some students also said GW should encourage more interaction between EMDA students and students majoring in political communication and journalism.

“Their job is to write it, our job is to produce it. So it makes sense that we’d work together,” Wootton said.

The meeting also centered on ways to help EMDA students find jobs.

“Our industry is based on who you know,” Snyder said.

Group members suggested that GW create an internship database and arrange a meeting similar to the networking meetings GW holds in Philadelphia and New York for students to meet people other fields.

Some group members said EMDA classes should not fulfill general course requirements for the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences because too many non-EMDA students with early registration take the courses they need.

But Folkerts said she disagreed, saying EMDA majors can get signed into courses by professors and can register online for classes designed just for majors.

Snyder said the group is trying to get recognized as an official student group. She said the idea for the GNOMES came from the International Affairs Society, a group of International Affairs majors that helps students find internships and jobs and coordinates trips to conferences.

Snyder said EMDA professors support the group.

“We expect one or two to help us in advising,” Snyder said. “And we hope that many professors will get involved with the group and maybe even showcase their work with us.”

Students at the meeting said they think GNOMES will help EMDA students get more recognition.

“We (EMDA majors) need more meetings, more activities and a chance to showcase our work,” sophomore Devon Tutak said. “This group will fulfill these goals.”

Liban said the group will help students in the EMDA program.

“I’m happy to see EMDA students come together,” he said. “EMDA wants to unify, and I’d like them to be more than a club. When I was in college we had a group like this where we all helped each other.”
-Jason Steinhardt contributed this report.

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