Cabrini Communication students and their department faculty are a tight-knit group who spend many hours working together to produce media fit for the modern media ecosystem. Thanks to a $117,000 award from the George I. Alden Trust and a newly designed curriculum, these students will graduate and enter into the workforce with hands-on technological experience and the data communication skills that today’s employers demand.
“When you look at the jobs, employers want students to be able to write, to pick up a camera, target an audience, and know those analytics—they want everything,” said Dawn Francis, EdD, Chair and Associate Professor, Communication. “That’s why this investment means so much to us. It will enable us to combine the latest technology with a forward-thinking curriculum—I think it’s going to take our students really far.”
The Alden Trust supports independent universities in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions with capital investments that directly enhance undergraduate offerings. In addition to studio upgrades and greater numbers of high-quality handheld video cameras, Cabrini’s grant award will revolutionize student-run broadcasts for campus events.
“The upgraded equipment will make it possible for events across campus, but especially sports, to be streamed to the Cabrini community and recorded in a high quality, three-camera shoot,” said John Doyle, Assistant Professor, Communication. “The impact of these more complex and professional presentations will enhance the viewer experience and give our students access to more of the programs presented at Cabrini.”
The investment enables all of the Cabrini community, particularly alumni, to follow their favorite Cavalier sports teams from afar, while enjoying a more robust broadcast stream. Digital Communication and Social Media major Isaiah Dickson (ʼ24) said he is excited to begin creating viewing experiences like the ones fans expect from ESPN.
“To be able to bring over three cameras to the field, or to the basketball court, and have instant replay, and different camera angles…is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Dickson, adding that the cameras could each be switched remotely from the video studio in Founder’s Hall.
Dickson, a native of Brookhaven, PA, said he has created lasting friendships through the Communication Department.
“The community-building aspect is huge,” he said. “We’re a small department but everyone knows everyone. We always get food and hang out in the newsroom or in the studio.”
Dickson works on the Loquitur student newspaper, whose editorial board was recently named a finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Region I Awards, in addition to Cavalier Radio, and video production projects—all while working closely with faculty advisors.
Francis said this variety of experiences and an emphasis on building close relationships between students and faculty “working together in the trenches,” is an integral part of the Communication Department’s enduring mission.
“We don’t let students silo,” she said. “We have always made sure that students know about the business side of communications: marketing, advertising, public relations, social media…production elements, graphic design, and media analytics. They can’t park it in one area and say that they’re going to get out there and get these media jobs.”
Dickson sees himself working in film or television production and he is grateful for the “opportunity and community” he’s had at Cabrini.
“I think being here, and being in this Department gives you a lot of freedom to do a lot of different things,” he said. “As much as I love video, I’m also on the newspaper, I’m on the radio station—so you get to do a lot of different things within the Department, and it gives you a lot of different opportunities.”