Collyn Stephens is a graduate student in Northeastern’s Media Advocacy program, a master’s degree program intended to teach professionals in the communication, nonprofit, and government fields advocacy skills. In today’s media-driven society, these skills have never been more important and marketable. Collyn joined Northeastern after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Florida State University, hoping to be able to apply the knowledge she learned at her alma mater to her current master’s degree experience.
Collyn has been in the Media Advocacy Program for a year now, and has enjoyed her time learning, creating, and doing hands-on work for some of her classes. We had the chance to catch up with her to hear about these experiences; read about them in the Q&A below!
Tell us about your first year as a Media Advocacy student here at Northeastern.
My first year in Media Advocacy has been full of creativity, growth and surprises. I started this program with no experience in journalism or law, and now, I have finished my first year with knowledge and understanding of both topics and how they can connect. I took Law, Policy & Legal Arguments and Media and Advocacy in Theory and Practice in the Fall of 2018 and learned that the biggest social changes in this country, such as the civil rights movement or the marriage equality movement, all had strategic approaches to their goals.
Culture, politics and the courts of a society can all be used to promote progress and to expand rights and freedoms to all people. This realization has changed my perspective about the many roles that are needed to change a society and will continue to guide me throughout my work.
What are some highlights from your time in the program so far?
Special Topics class “Reporting Life in Cuba” with Professor Carlene Hempel was a highlight of my first year. In this intensive journalism class, I created a video about the hip-hop community in Cuba and a podcast about the African roots of Cuban music. We read books and studied non-stop about the small island, and then travelled to Havana, Cuba during spring break to report on various topics. This was my first journalism class and Professor Hempel was direct and honest with the amount of work she expected from us, all while taking time to mentor each student so that we could produce the best stories possible. I will always be grateful to both Professor Hempel and Professor Beaudet for their support.
Collyn’s reporting on the African roots of Cuban music was recently published in her podcast, which can be listened to here.
How have you been able to build off of your undergraduate experiences at Florida State University?
I majored in Business management and minored in Communications and Hospitality at Florida State University. The best class I took at FSU was a Communication class that was taught by Mark Zeigler. He incorporated theories and real life experiences into his teachings so that his lectures were always relevant and connected to the day-to-day lives of his students; something that I have remembered throughout my time at Northeastern. I want to connect policies to people. I want to connect judicial opinions and decisions to people and I want us to understand the amount of power that we possess. We, as people, have the final word about the outcome of our society.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
I’m looking forward to creating more videos and podcasts about important subjects of our time. I think these past years have been stressful for a lot of people and people want progressive change. I want to learn as much as possible at Northeastern and continue to create thoughtful, engaging content.