Class of 2015 Outcomes: Casey Ellis Begins Photojournalism Career

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With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2015:

Name: Casey Ellis

Hometown: Durham, North Carolina

Major: Ellis graduated with a B.A. in Communication, with a concentration in Electronic Media Production and a minor in Economics, on May 9.

Post-graduation plans: Ellis accepted a position as a photojournalist at WFMY News 2, a CBS-affiliated television station broadcasting from Greensboro, North Carolina. In his position, Ellis documents and covers news stories all across the Triad – from breaking news to serious stories, and everything in between.

How HPU helped you get there: “Coming to HPU, I didn’t have any knowledge whatsoever about how to find, document, compile and edit stories to make them cohesive and effective, as I only knew how to cover live sports events. Through my communication classes, most notably Video Production I & II, Sports Production, and Senior Production Experience, I learned these skills and found that I had just as much of an interest in this type of filming as I did live sports. I used many of the projects I created in these classes for my reel to land this position, and if it weren’t for the skills I learned in putting together these effective stories at HPU – as well as the other skills I obtained across the board thanks to the holistic education HPU has given me – I wouldn’t be working here at WFMY today.

Most impactful mentor at HPU: “There’s no way I could choose between two of my communication professors, so I have to say that both professor Rob Powell and Dr. Jim Trammell impacted me the most while at HPU. I had three classes each with both professors, all of which taught me invaluable skills when it came to Electronic Media and beyond. After having COM 1111 with Professor Powell, he continued to stay in constant contact with me, asking how things were going and notifying me of opportunities for jobs and internships whenever they came across his desk. His close partnership with professor Phil Watson only extended the reach of opportunities I had.

As for Dr. Jim Trammell, I had my main production classes with him, including Senior Production Experience. He also saw opportunity in me and gave me the chance to take on big roles in class, whether it was taping on-camera opens and closes for Panther Sports or directing a 20-minute show in the studio. He taught me how to properly put together effective news packages, from the story idea all the way to the final product. His classes also gave me a taste of what it is like at an actual job, where deadlines are always looming and must be met regardless of what happens with your story. As for both of these professors, as well with all the professors and faculty in general, their doors were always open and were more than willing to help me excel in assignments, as well as to help me land that next big opportunity.

Most impactful moment at HPU: “How could I narrow it down to just one? From awesome friends to excellent faculty and staff and a beautiful campus and environment to learn and grow in, it’s extremely hard. So I’ll just name one of my most impactful (and fun) experiences that ultimately translated into a great final video package that I submitted for Senior Production experience.

I’ve been involved with Athletics through the Sports Link club, and during my junior year, I traveled on numerous bus trips to watch the HPU women’s basketball team play. Through that I met a woman named Jo Conway, who was the aunt of player Lindsay Puckett. Jo and I developed a good bond on those trips at the games, and the bus trips overall were excellent experiences to visit other schools and watch our women’s team play. When senior year rolled around, I decided to feature Mrs. Conway and Lindsay in one of my stories for Senior Production Experience, and was a great piece mainly because I had this personal connection to the story and really enjoyed putting it together. That piece was featured at the COM awards banquet this past Spring and was also submitted to SVG’s College Sports Summit in May. That experience overall, which connected the people I met to an assignment for class, was one of my most impactful.

Advice for underclassmen: “Never think that an assignment is just for a grade. When you get into that mindset, the end goal is lost. Any assignment, no matter how big or small, and especially those for your major, has a purpose behind it. This work can often be used to land that first full-time job like me. Don’t be afraid to go out on your own and take a chance on assignments by choosing not to go in the direction of the majority. Look deeper into topics and assignments to find something that interests you and motivates you. Professors take note of extra effort and are much more willing to work with you when they see this effort put forth.

Socially, it’s good to be involved in a couple of organizations and to find a good friend circle. Cherish the moments in college because it is the only time many of these people you meet and bond with will ever be all in the same place at the same time nearly every day. Leave yourself time to relax and breathe and enjoy what’s around you. Even though life after HPU is great, it’s nothing to the experiences you have while you’re still a student at HPU. Finally, be supportive of your school while you’re at it and support your Alma Mater when you graduate!

 

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