Find Your Passion in Three (not so) Easy Steps

It always surprises me when I ask students what they are passionate about and I receive a blank stare. Instead of enthusisam, I receive a stare filled with confusion and conflict. In a split second the student experiences an existential crisis of sorts. “Passionate? Interests? What do you mean, Dr. Marcello?”

Knowing what you are passionate about is not very common. Maybe because there is no right answer. Maybe because no one ever asked. Perhaps because we haven’t the courage to ask ourselves and really listen to the answers. Identifying what makes you come alive isn’t something many people do. It isn’t a luxury to ask yourself the questions. I think it is a necessity. 

As an educator, I want my students leaving my classroom with a better understanding of those things which bring them joy and happiness. Those activities which make their spirits come alive. 

The world needs more people who are passionate about what they do each and every day. People who are dedicated to creating a full life for themselves. Because when we are fulfilled and happy we positively influence everyone around us.

What this looks like will vary considerably from person to person. 

Finding your passion means taking responsibility for your life. There are many people who have no desire to do take on this challenge.  But, if you are tired of being tired with life, begin by asking yourself three really important questions:

1) What do I want my life to look like?

2) What contributions can I make?

3) If I only had five years to live, what would I want to do everyday?

Time is an illusion. We do not know how long we’ve got. Life is short. Don’t let it pass you by without activity being involved.

Over the years, I’ve noticed some students resent the prodding, the questions. Who cares, they think. I just want a grade. I just want a paycheck. Tell me what to do. Tell me how to do it. I don’t have the time or energy to think about it.

I have discovered in order to identify what I truly love, I needed to spend time alone and with other people. I need to reflect but I also need to share. Becoming quiet and reflecting is more important now than ever before because of the incessant hum of technology.

Equally, sharing with others brings forth new ideas, new dreams, and new possibilities. 

Start today by asking the important questions and listen to your heart

When do you come alive?

When are you excited with possibility?

The answers just might provide you a glimpse into what your life can be. A tiny glimpse into the kind of life you can create. And believe me, you can create it. I know because I did. Anything is possible.

You just have to BELIEVE.

Remember: the smallest step in the right direction just might change your life.

Podcasting in 12 Steps

Podcasting in 12 Steps

Podcasting is an exciting tool of communication. However, like any new toy we get distracted by the shine. I’m here to provide a little perspective about podcasting for the beginner. If you are a student taking a class where you will learn podcasting or if you are an instructor teaching podcasting for the first time, there are a few things you should know BEFORE you begin. 

1. Identify a topic you are passionate about. 

Simple, right? Ummm. No. This is not as easy as it sounds. In order to identify a topic you are passionate about, you need to figure out what you deeply enjoy. Suprisingly students struggled with identifying their interests. I don’t think my students are unusual. 

What to do? Encourage students to share. Provide examples. Students identified topics including: the impact of cyberbullying, challenges in raising hens, what it is really like to live at the Jersey shore, and sports. In the end, most students identified topics deeply important to them. It took more time than anticipated. Time well spent resulted in engaging content. 

2. Listen to podcasts related to your area of interest

While I assumed students listened to podcasts on a regular basis, they do not. In fact, we had to discuss how to find podcasts, platforms for listening to podcasts, and different genres. If you aren’t already following podcasts, start doing this immediately. The more you listen the better your own content.

3. Evaluate podcasts

Using your knowledge about radio and television coupled with your knowledge of superior oral presentations, identify what works and what doesn’t in a variety of podcasts. Discuss why the techniques engage or alienate listeners. Use principles of public speaking as a starting point. Identify organizational themes, use of repetition, introduction (setting the tone), conclusions (wrap up). Just name a few.

Continue reading “Podcasting in 12 Steps”

Omega Nu Welcomes New Members, Guest Speaker Karen Dushnick

Communication Honor Society Welcomes New Members and D-Squared Founders

LPH LogoThe Department of Digital Communication at GCU welcomed new Lambda Pi Eta members into the Omega Nu Chapter of the National Communication Association Honor Society. Samantha Mancino, the newly elected president, was pleased to be inducted. Mrs. Karen Dushnick, founder of D-Squared a local safe ride program, presented the keynote address.

“Sometimes, we are asked to travel a road we never anticipated traveling. But in the worst of times, my faith has been my greatest gift. Religion has given me my foundation and my spirituality has given me my wings” shared Dushnick. The keynote address challenged students to continue to strive for academic excellence and to make time for reflection.

The Dushnick’s (center) with (left) Dr. Gina Marcello, MC Robinon and Ashley Flach (right)

Dushnick’s non-profit D-Squared provides free transportation home for 18-to-27 year-olds who live between Belmar and Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The safe rides program was created in memory of Stephen and Michael Dushnick, Karen’s two sons whose lives were taken by a fatal vehicular accident in April 2013.

Mrs. Dushnick graciously gifted the graduating seniors and the newly inducted with a copy of The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. She concluded, “Approach every step of life with excitement and always nourish your spirituality.”

The ceremony took place in the elegant McAuley Chapel on May 2, 2015.

Donations to D-Squared can be on the website

GCU Offers Digital Communication Major: The Evolution of Technology and Thought at The Court

The Digital Communication program at Georgian Court University provides a curriculum that is grounded in the traditional theories of communication and also provides hands-on learning. The major requires students to learn graphic design, video and sound production, web design, writing, research and presentation skills. Students have exclusive access to a MAC lab, which features 15 Mac computers that are equipped with the latest software, as well as a PC lab, Painting/Drawing and 3D Studios.

“After transferring from a bigger University in Maryland to Georgian Court University, two years ago,” said Mary Colleen Robinson, a Digital Communication student at GCU and the Social Media Coordinator for the People’s Pantry and Bonjovi’s Beet Center, “I was initially just seeking a degree. I never expected to be implementing the skills I have learned in class every single day at my job. A job that I acquired through my Digital Communication Internship. Since my employment as a social media coordinator, I am constantly using elements of digital communication to better our appeal to our audience. I could not have asked for a better experience or a better education.”

Screen Shot YouTube Channel
YouTube Channel showcases student work.

Dr. Gina Marcello, Director of the Digital Communication major, elaborates, “The communication department grew out of an art department, which was very forward thinking and innovative. The revised major and the new studio courses provide students the opportunity to use technology and their imagination to create relevant content. Due to our small size, we are able to offer an incredibly relevant and innovative program to our students. It’s amazing how many have already been offered jobs.”

Students learn strategic messaging, news writing and editing skills, public relations relationship building techniques and social media content creation. Classes like Public Relations Writing, Broadcast Journalism and News Writing are offered for students who want to specialize.  From mobile journalism, to digital communication campaigns, students are immersed in the tools they need to create innovative and relevant digital content.

When the Sisters of Mercy and Catherine McCauley created the university, they merely wanted to teach women the skills necessary to be successful in a world where opportunity did not exist for them. Today Georgian Court University, with new programs like Digital Communication is still providing that same opportunity. By giving women and men an environment to educate themselves, a place to become visually and digitally literate, GCU is a unique testimony to the adaptation of technology and the evolution thought and values.

Guest Blogger – Ashley Flach,  Digital Communication Student

Court Reporters: Digital Journalism at GCU

The Court Report, Georgian Court University’s new and improved on-line student run news sourceis looking for contributing writers and broadcasters. Take a look at all of the fun we have as Court Reporters. 

Please join us and become part of GCU history. If you are interested please contact Dr. Gina Marcello 

There are so many different ways to show your Court Pride but the best way is to get involved in campus activities! 

Digital Journalism: the Pros and Cons of Mobile

Teaching Digital Journalism this semester was an experiment in mobile technology, patience, and making do with what you’ve got. Using only iPhones and laptops, students gathered the news. The idea to “go mobile” occurred to me after completing a MOOC (Massive On-Line Course) offered by The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas this past summer. The five week course presented the how and why of mobile journalism. I was convinced it was a great way to teach my students how to report in the field using simple tools. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as easy as it sounded. Sound Quality – We did have challenges with the technology.  The quality of the audio was poor when using only the microphone purchased with the mCam Lite. Hand held microphones are a necessity. Every mobile journalism student should have a good quality microphone. Period.

Digital Journalism students were mobile all semester. Editing and shooting from their phones.

Video Quality – The video quality was less than adequate at times.  Reasons for the poor video quality varied, and I’m still trouble shooting reasons why. I think sometimes it related to the uploading procedures, other times it was an editing issue, and other times it was clearly operator error.

Lack of Resources & Making Do – Of equal import, all students do not own iPhones, iPads or laptops. Like many small colleges we do not have the budget to purchase all the equipment I would need (or like) for each student to have their own. To solve this problem, students worked in teams. We shared personal equipment. While this was an issue we did overcome, it needs to be taken into consideration for assignments.

The Upside of Mobile Technologies – Mobile journalism content is useful in instances when a news crew can not get to a specific location. It is also a relatively inexpensive way to teach students about the basics of mobile reporting. Overall it was an excellent experience for the entire class. Students tell me they learned a lot. A few of them shared with me they’ve been offered jobs to shoot and edit videos. This was a crowning moment for me. One of the best examples I can share with you is Denielle Balint’s Mobile Journalism report. Denielle Balint

There are so many factors to take into consideration when your are responsible for writing, shooting, and editing your own work. It is not possible to cover all of the content in any one course. Trust me. I tried.

In the spring, I’ll try again.

What do you think? Have you experienced similar challenges using mobile technologies as a student, teacher or journalist? I would like to hear from you.

Digital Communication: Creating Yourself In College & Final Exams

It seems like only yesterday I said ‘Welcome Back’ from summer vacation. Here we are 15 weeks later ready for final exams. Where did the time go?

My plan was to blog every week and keep you posted on what was happening in the department. I had great intentions, but they did not manifest. At least not yet…

Fall 2014 was busy for all of us. Using and adapting to studio courses was exciting and tiring. We all worked long hours writing scripts, shooting video, editing and planning.

Editing Transmedia documentary assignment
Transmedia Storytelling editing assignment
Digital Journalism students were mobile all semester. Editing and shooting from their phones.
Digital Journalism students were mobile all semester.

I can honestly say this was my most rewarding semester teaching in the 10 years I’ve been a college professor.

Why? Because I was able to see tremendous growth in many of the students. While this might surprise you, I had one student (who shall remain nameless – you know who you are) begin the semester unsure of how to turn on the MAC computers in the lab.

Each student arrived in class with different knowledge and feelings about the technology – the tools of communication. Each student required tailored assistance. We walked the digital literacy journey together – sometimes we walked side-by-side and sometimes alone.

My student did learn how to turn on the MAC computer and how to create content, shoot video, record and edit. It was incredibly rewarding for me to witness. I feel confident she felt similarly about her accomplishments.

I think it is fitting to wish each and every one of my Digital Communication students a healthy and happy winter break. And remember this as we enter final exams…

Digital Communication isn’t a major where you seek to find yourself.

It is a major where you need to create yourself. 

Create something wonderful! 

Check out our student work– visit our youtube channel.

Twitter Assignment: A tool of Journalism?



For your final assignment in News Editing, you are responsible for writing a report about the use and importance of Twitter in journalism and how it is used by journalists as a tool of communication. Of particular importance is the interactivity of the tool.

Prior to writing your final report and presenting your findings, you will need to do the following:

Continue reading “Twitter Assignment: A tool of Journalism?”