Northwestern University’s 156th Annual Commencement

10371447_10102931674163372_1801054456325944884_n On June 20th, about 15 MSC to-be graduates participated in Northwestern University’s 156th Annual Commencement.  We all met at Francis Searle, helped one another figure out how to wear our ‘hoods’, took photos, met family members, and then hopped on the shuttle bus to Ryan Field. Upon arriving at the field, we became part of the ‘purple sea’ of undergraduate students, graduate students and doctoral students. The energy was electrifying.  Huge accomplishments were being recognized and honored at this ceremony. The sense of pride from the students, families, friends and faculty members was palpable. MSC sat in a group with Northwestern’s School of Communication, distinguishable by the silver tassels that all of us wore. We listened to Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director, Riccardo Muti address the crowd with a light-hearted, encouraging message.  After the ceremony concluded, we turned in our robes, went our separate ways, and mentally began to ‘gear up’ for our last term as MSC students at Northwestern.  Today, we have just 39 days left until we officially receive our diplomas and graduate with our Master degrees.  Can’t wait!

Sam Logan Khaleghi’s (MSC ’10) produces Matt Austin music video now featured on

Sam Logan Khaleghi’s (MSC ’10) produces Matt Austin music video now featured on Congratulations Sam! Matt Austin: Redneck Date Night Music Video THE RECORD EAGLE ed-in-country-music-video/print

Another Term Comes to a Close

photo (5) As another term comes to a close, graduation day becomes more and more of a reality.  In just 8 weeks, each member of the MSC class of 2014 will receive his/her diploma.  A diploma is printed on a piece of paper but that piece of paper does not embody what MSC at Northwestern truly means.  The diploma will be a symbol of not only the knowledge gained through the MSC program, but the relationships and experiences built.  Last Saturday during lunch, as I walked around campus with some of my classmates — my friends, enjoying the beautiful lake path, I reflected on this notion. I have come to enjoy being at class on Saturday because I know that I will be learning something that I will be engaged in, and also because I know my friends will be there beside me, too. I know that I am not the only person who feels this way either.  With that said, fellow classmates, let’s dive in to our final term with everything we’ve got! Cheers to one term left!

Seth Maxwell to Give MSC 2014 Convocation Keynote Address

MSC is pleased to announce that Seth Maxwell, founder and CEO of The Thirst Project, will deliver the keynote address at convocation on August 9, 2014. About Seth Maxwell Seth Maxwell is the Founder & CEO of The Thirst Project. The Thirst Project has made a bold commitment to ending the clean water crisis. In less then 5 years, The Thirst Project has raised the funds for the construction of over 788 water projects in 11 countries, giving clean water and hope to hundreds of thousands of people. Mr. Maxwell has spoken internationally at over 300 schools, countless churches, and numerous conferences, including the TEDx Hollywood Youth Conference, the Nexus Global Youth Summit, and addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Maxwell was named one of Forbes’s “Top 30 Under 30” earlier this year and was recently invited to the White House to discuss how to activate millennials toward work in the social sector. Upon learning that almost one billion people lack access to clean water and that water-borne illnesses account for more than 80% of all global disease, he gave up acting to focus on water education. He graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with a degree in Acting. For information about Seth Maxwell and The Thirst Project, visit the following links. The Thirst Project Forbes’s Profile of Seth Maxwell Rverie’s Conversation with Seth Maxwell Seth Maxwell’s TED Talk

The Chronicle of Higher Education Profiles Professor Eszter Hargittai

School of Communication Professor Eszter Hargittai and Kellogg Professor Brayden King’s are featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education for their work related to  “Managing Your Online Reputation.” Prof. Hargittai discussed the challenges facing the “Digital Native” generation and how students can use social media to construct a professional image reflective of their goals. Read the full article by Megan O’Neil here.

Associate Professor Eric Patrick featured on WBEZ’s “The Morning Shift”

On Monday morning WBEZ’s “The Morning Shift” featured SoC and MSC Professor Eric Patrick for his new project Citizen Primer. Citizen Primer is a series of YouTube videos created by Prof. Patrick and his students that clarify a number of confusing government policy topics with animation and infographics. The NPR show’s host Tony Sarabia interviewed Prof. Patrick about the creation of Citizen Primer and its mission. To hear the full interview, visit The Morning Shift. For another article about Prof. Patrick’s work with Citizen Primer, see Northwestern University’s release by Senior Public Relations Editor Wendy Leopold. Citizen Primer’s videos can be found at their YouTube channel Informed Rational Voters.

Friday: GMCS Day 6 – And That’s a Wrap!

tiffany lieu photography

The week has come and gone so quickly. It seems like just a couple days ago that my American Airlines flight graced the runway at Heathrow. I’ll always remember that moment and the excitement that overcame me as I met the rest of the GMCS students at the airport. As you may have seen from the previous posts from the cohort (and posts from others in the 2014 GMCS class), the week was packed with wonderful lectures and unforgettable site visits.

For our last day (Friday), we had a free morning and afternoon to explore London on our own before our closing dinner at The Groucho Club. Friday was a great opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep (the jet lag seemed to be residual throughout the week) as well as get in some last minute shopping and site seeing!


Skip ahead to Friday evening. Our 2014 GMCS class put on our best dress and  headed over to The Groucho Club in Soho. After check-in, we were told to head up 2 1/2 flights of stairs to our event room. I wasn’t quite sure what the hostess meant by “1/2” flight, but it turns out that it was literally in-between the end of the second flight and beginning of the third. A small detail, but such a unique touch! tiffany lieu photography We were treated to a beautiful 3-course dinner (along with Coffee and/or English tea afterwards) with several NU alumni from London, LSE professors, Dean O’Keefe, and of course our hosts (and fellow NU alumni) Lou Stein and his lovely wife, Deidre Gibbin. Dean Barbara O’Keefe gave a superb opening speech that really solidified the magnitude of how special it is to be part of Northwestern. Lou Stein also expressed a few words and also extended his hospitality to any of us who happen to pass through London in the future. Wildcats stick together no matter where they are in the world! To wrap up the evening, Andy Hinds (representing the MSC students) and Amina Munir (representing the undergraduates) gave closing remarks, expressing the appreciation we all had for Director of EPICS Heather Trulock, Dean Barbara O’Keefe, Lou Stein and all those involved in making this incredible weekend possible. The Groucho Club was truly the perfect ending to a perfect week. The week really showed me that despite where we come from (city, background, school class, etc.) the only thing that really matter is that we are all Wildcats. Just as it’s emulated through the MSC program, no matter where life takes each of us, we’ll always have the NU community behind us. In closing, I have to say that there are really not enough words to express my unyielding gratitude for this remarkable experience. It has opened my eyes to so many opportunities and given me a whole new perspective on where I’d like to take my professional career next. Everyday the MSC program becomes more than what I thought it would be. I know that I will carry the experience of this week throughout the rest of my personal life and professional career. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and can’t wait to share more of my experience with the rest of my cohort. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and a big thanks to my wonderful 2014 GMCS class, each of you have taught me so much throughout this week. Go ‘Cats!

Thursday: MSC in London at GMCS – Digital Trends in Politics, Film and Ad Agency Life

Communication is a tool through which people share conversation, exchange opinions and provide information. Due to the Internet, society is more digitally connected and transparent than ever before.  Online forms of communication deliver news in real-time to content seekers via blogs, social media platforms and digital news publications. Such channels have broadened the range of who sparks the conversation, what information is offered and how the perspectives and decisions of readers are influenced. The GMCS group’s mind was shaped by exploring this concept from a discussion at the London School of Economics and visits to the Comcast/NBCUniversal and Ogilvy & Mather offices. LSE Lecturer in Media and Communication Dr. Nick Anstead led the seminar for Thursday’s Global Media and Communications Seminar session. In his address, the New Political Communication: Hopes and Fears, Dr. Anstead provided a historical account of communication in the political realm, with emphasis on the internet as a new technology and it’s importance. Dr. Anstead outlined the dangers of the internet as “‘clicktivism,’ censorship and coarsening,” because the content shared cannot be easily controlled by the government, uneducated readers can misinterpret information and it can spark activism. He theorized there is a “sensible middle ground” to this debate. The four most intriguing theories Dr. Anstead outlined included:
  1. Risk Aversion and Calculation (Stromer-Galley, 2000): Since politicians view the new technology of internet as “risky” an incentive is needed for them to utilize these forms of communication.
  2. Increased Use of Data Management (Howard, 2006): Political campaigns which use big data to understand their audience and transfer this knowledge into targeted campaigns have the advantage to influence swing voters.
  3. New Elites (Hindman, 2008): The Internet has caused an emergence of influential political bloggers that use online forms to communicate, similar to traditional mediums.
  4. Shifting Opportunity Structures (Cammaerts, 2011): Digital communication presents a new advantage to how a political party crafts its communication strategy and what impact or benefit it will have on a particular audience.
Dr. Anstead concluded: “Outcomes are generated by an interaction between characteristics of new media and older facets of political life — institutions, wealth, and, especially, power. We need to need to look for different ways to measure impact of new communication technology. The information society — and the norms and expectations that come from it — is an everyday reality and will do much to shape people’s expectations of politics and government.” photo-21 The executive strategy team at Comcast/NBCUniversal London provided an in-depth introduction to how marketing is executed for film.  The area of digital integration was the most interesting perspective . NBC Universal Vice President of Digital Marketing  Chris Massey provided an overarching strategy of digital engagement. Devices (i.e., mobile, tablet and computer), social media platforms, content (i.e., trailers, interactive, images, etc.) and measurement (i.e., clicks, likes, shares, analytics, etc.) are the areas of importance for digital strategy. Massey described the TrueView, the five second ads that play prior to a YouTube video, as a new technology that challenges the advertisers ability to capture a viewers attention in a short time span. He noted the use of digital technology is about using creativity to engage audiences to drive the desired message and response. photo-4   Ogilvy & Mather UK CEO Cheryl Giovannoni welcomed the GMCS group and provided background on the agency and their award winning office. The executive team discussed the role of the structure of the account team and role of the ad agency. As some may know, the account team consists of a planner, account manager(s), creative, digital and production. The goal of the ad agency is to bridge the strategy gap between the client and their target audience. They shared a variety of case studies but the one most appealing was the Dove “Real Beauty” Campaign. One of the innovative digital methods they employed to engage women was creating banners ads based on positive messages shared via social media posts. Algorithms were used to capture these posts and repurpose them into banner ads. In one week’s time, this campaign generated 253 million impressions, in addition to producing 171 million banner ads and leveraging publicity along the way.  To conclude the day, Working Title Films secured tickets for the group to enjoy Billy Elliot The Musical, which they produced!  billy-elliot                    

Wednesday: MSC at GMCS – Wonderful Dinner in NU Alumni’s House

Today was a rainy day, but the drizzle made London look even more picturesque. It was the fifth day of the GMCS in London, another wonderful day for learning and exchanging ideas.

The beautiful day was started by a lecture from Dr. Terhi Rantanen, a professor of global media & communication at the London School of Economics. Dr. Rantanen is a lovely lady from Finland, who presented the topic “Twenty Years of Media Globalization.” She gave us a new insight about the difference between internationalism, globalization, and cosmopolitanism from an academic perceptive.

 After the lecture, we had a talk-back session with Northwestern alumnus Thomas Hoegh. Thomas is a Norwegian investor and entrepreneur who oversees a portfolio of high-growth businesses in the creative sectors. In his speech, he addressed an interesting point about “sitting in the customer’s seat.” He indicated that the key way for us to adapt the changing world is to clarify the target audience first and try to put ourselves in their chairs.

As I always believed that transpositional consideration is the key to effective communication, his insight confirmed my faith and inspired me a lot. It works not only in business communication, but also in personal life.


 In the afternoon, we went to Working Title Films. A range of Working Title employees introduced their perception of the film industry as well as their working process, after which we watched a trailer for their fantastic new production The Theory of Everything. (I strongly suggest you guys to watch this movie when it comes out!)


The evening concluded with a wonderful dinner at Thomas Hoegh’s home. The dinner was a fantastic experience. The house was beautiful, the food and drinks were tasty, and the saxophonist’s performance was fabulous. Even better, Thomas invited his business partners and friends, according to his own words, “the people who could give you jobs,” to the dinner to talk with us. All of them were very friendly and helpful. It was a great opportunity for professional exploration. Thomas said, “I trust Northwestern so I trust you guys. What I can do is become a channel to help connect talents and business experience.” My fellow MSC classmate Alejandro explained, “It is impressive to see how powerful and supportive our ‘bleeding purple alumni community’ can be.”


 After dinner, the MSC London cohort had a joyful chat in a lovely bar near our hotel. We talked about what we learned and exchanged insights and ideas about diversity and globalization. It was a very exciting talk. We gained a deeper understanding of each other’s view. I realized, as a member of MSC family, we are assets of each other. Today, we learned different cultures and viewpoints from each other; tomorrow, we may become business partners, helping each other to develop our careers.

The wonderful trip became more and more exciting; it brought us a wealth of knowledge and experience. Even more important, it brought us a precious opportunity to develop our friendship. It will become my lifelong wealth.

Thanks MSC, thanks Northwestern University for this opportunity!

Dr. Terhi Rantanen’s Biography

By Dan Hui, MSC Class of 2014

Tuesday: Fourth day of the GMCS in London and the agenda is getting more and more exciting!

Fourth day of the GMCS in London and the agenda is getting more and more exciting! It´s 10 AM on Tuesday, March 24th in London and our communication´s cohort is fully dressed up and ready for another exciting day of learning, exploring. We started with an interesting lecture about the myths of media institutions. The lecture was very engaging and connected to current communication scenarios. Being an international GMCS student in London represents not only an opportunity to meet new people and to learn about relevant communication issues, but also to understand more about other cultures and to try new food. For instance, today we went to a very nice Italian restaurant, where the food was incredibly delicious. It´s always exciting to taste new flavors and to eat some international delicacies! I wanted to engage more with all my classmates, so I sat in a different seat everyday. Interestingly, I ended up having an intriguing conversation with three intelligent senior students about the current legal and ethical issues in social media. Such a great discussion and lunch! With a happy tummy and our hearts content, we moved to the next activity in the agenda, which was visiting two of the most successful and well-known communication and advertising agencies in the world, Starcom MediaVest and Deloitte Consulting. It is impressive to see how powerful and supportive our “bleeding purple alumni community” is around the world. For instance, Starcom MediaVest featured NU alumni Kristen Kelly, who literally made us feel at home. She not only prepared a high level “marketing model plan” for us, but also coordinated a panel of eight experts in the field that provided multiple perspectives of current communication challenges. The experience was amazing and really reinforced my passion for communication. Finally, we went to Deloitte Consulting, where we where we had a 15-minute exercise developing promotional product definition for a sample client. The exercise was fun and challenging! In addition it was very interesting to see how different the organizational culture at the Deloitte Consulting was in comparison to Starcom. The day was included a great mix of education and real world experiences. GMCS has been great example of how the ideal concept can be possible. Thanks Northwestern University for this opportunity! Alejandro castaño marin(President of NU Shapiro, LSE Director Craig Calhoun, VP for Alumni Relations and Development Bob McQuinn, Dean of the School of Communication Barbara O’Keefe and the MSC candidates: Emily Vernon, Dan Hui, Tiffany Lieu, Andrew Hinds, Martina Smith and Alejandro Castaño Marin.)