A generous gift is equipping Southern Wesleyan University’s media communication degree program to offer majors experiences that will help them better stand out as they graduate into an ever-expanding, ever-changing field.

The media communication program used the $24,054 grant to outfit a new Mac lab and purchase new cameras that will allow the department to perform media projects that mirror real life projects. The Mac lab consists of 10 iMacs, desktop computers equipped with Adobe Creative Cloud, a suite of programs used extensively in the media.

Lewis Knight, coordinator of the media communication program, credits the dedication of Todd Voss, SWU president, and Lisa McWherter, SWU vice president for advancement, in providing valuable assistance throughout the grant process.

According to Knight, improvements made possible by the grant are already providing clear benefits to media communication majors at SWU.

“It will allow us, meaning the students and me, to get real life, practical experience by taking on real clients here at the university and creating campaigns,” said Knight. The new Mac lab will make it easier for the media communication department to produce projects on a larger scale. The new Canon cameras will aid in capturing high-definition video and photos.

This department has prepared students for roles in different areas of media. Stephanie Johnson, a recent graduate, explains, “I am currently writing news releases and articles as well as photographing career development event winners. Through this, I have the opportunity to work with the faculty and staff at Clemson University.”

Amber Collins, a sophomore from Millsboro, Del., hopes to someday become a director of live television or film.

“The grant will help me achieve that goal because when it comes to being a director you need to know how to look for shots and see your big picture. With the cameras, I can start to look for shots and take them and then edit them into a big creation on the new computers,” said Collins. “The grant can also provide experience in creating news stories that will aid in developing a résumé.”

Kaycee Blackwell, a junior from Landrum, hopes the news stories she produces in the program will help her achieve her goal to become a field reporter for a television news operation.

“The grant will help me be successful in my future because it gives me experience practicing with equipment that I will hopefully be around the rest of my life,” said Blackwell.

Other recent additions to the program include a drone, which enables students to learn about aerial photography.