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MCS Major Elisabeth Chen

MCS Student Highlight

By Joy Au

Photo Credit: Joanna Chen

As an MCS student, hands-on experience is often emphasized in the curriculum as an essential step in career development. For Elisabeth Chen — and many other college students, the pandemic threw a clear wrench in any plans for in-person internships or jobs over the course of her academic career. 

Chen had first started at UMBC as an English major before switching to Media and Communication Studies in her sophomore year, “I really liked the flexibility that MCS offered in terms of career choices. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after college, so I liked having multiple options to choose from.” 

While internships and jobs can provide effective practice in professional settings and help navigate the confusion of choosing a career, the pandemic made these a luxury hard to come by. 

“Unfortunately with COVID, my internship experiences haven’t been what I’d anticipated, but I have still been able to have a few other opportunities. I had an online internship with an organization called CRU where I worked on a team, gathered/collected information, and wrote reports to donors to let them know where their donations were going.” 

Currently, Chen works as a social media intern for the Career Center. In addition to posting and scheduling content to go out, she designs and creates content across their different social media platforms. Learning to collaborate with others and expanding her experience in social media marketing are significant skills she highlights from her time with the Career Center. 

Despite spending the past two years at UMBC under less than ideal conditions of online classes or lockdown measures, Chen has still found her MCS experience to be both fun and fulfilling. 

“A lot of my classes have helped me apply a lot of skills that I will need for my career in the future. MCS 144, for instance, helped me to start creating my documents and thinking more seriously about what I wanted to pursue after college. I enjoy being able to be creative and communicate through different mediums, and I’ve been able to try out new things that I otherwise would not have considered doing before. 

My favorite classes have been the production classes (such as Podcasting, Desktop Publishing and the Web, etc.) where we got to create and design different types of media projects. I’ve also enjoyed discussions in classes about how impactful the media is in our culture, and I have learned a lot of really insightful things that are useful not only within an academic setting, but also for myself as I consume and analyze media.” 

Specifically, Chen mentions how she’s still been able to gain relevant insight and professional experience regarding her prospective career, “I also had the opportunity to help develop and create one of the MCS semesterly newsletters and take MCS 370: Producing a Media Campaign, which have helped me learn more about what it’s like to work with a team to develop strategies and content for a brand. Additionally, all of the MCS professors I’ve had have been extremely accommodating and helpful, making themselves available whenever I’ve needed assistance. I’m really grateful for that, and they have helped make my experience with MCS even better.”

Following graduation, Chen plans to take a gap year to continue to explore her options through potential internships and challenge herself to venture outside her comfort zone before going into full-time work. As for career plans, she emphasized impacting community as one of her priorities regardless of where she works, “Eventually, I would like to work for a non-profit, although I am open to other options as well! But it is important to me that a company I work for is helping the community and is making a difference because I want my work to be benefiting others and furthering a mission I believe in. “

Posted: April 14, 2022, 10:11 AM