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Alumni Profile: Joey Scalise

Joey talks about how MCS follows him after graduating UMBC

By: Rae Daniel

Photo Credit: Joey Scalise 

Alumni and good friend of mine, Joey Scalise started his UMBC career in 2017. He graduated in 2021 and has since taken various topics he learned in MCS and applied them to his jobs and career path. 

I sat down and talked to him about his journey through the MCS career and college, and what he has been doing since graduating.

The interview has been edited for clarity.

Rae: So, we’ve known each other since literally the beginning of our college careers starting in 2017, even just a bit before that. So correct me if I’m wrong, but when we first started, you were undecided in terms  of your major?

Joey: Yes, I had no idea. Well, I had a couple of ideas, and MCS was one of the majors I was thinking about, but I wasn’t completely sure at the time. I was thinking about theater, for a little bit. Just because one of my teachers in high school was really pushing me to do that. But, I took an MCS class and theater class both my freshman year, and I just ended up leaning more towards MCS because I felt like it was more promising and I just enjoyed it more. 

R: That was actually my next question, was “what made you want to choose MCS as your major?” 

J: I think it is just more usable in day to day life, I mean, I still use a lot of stuff I learned, especially right now with a lot of issues surrounding media in the last few years, it’s been great to learn and apply as everything’s been happening. I’m thankful every day for learning media literacy, and it was actually the first class I took, was [MCS] 101, and it’s helped me a lot. 

R: I’m glad it has. And you know, being in MCS comes with doing a lot of projects, do you remember any projects that were your favorites, or projects that stood out to you?

J: I think the one I’m proudest of is my capstone, just because it’s becoming more and more relevant. 

R: Really? What was your capstone?

J: It was about Google and Facebook data mining, I was also talking about the thing with Cambridge Analyica and the 2016 election. It and similar topics have been talked about more and more since then. Especially right now specifically with the talk of TikTok being banned soon, and that, I think, was the moment I really realized that it’s like “oh, my degree helps me because I’ve never had anything [that I learned] in school that was this applicable to real life, other than fun facts from food chemistry classes. It took through quarantine to finish.

J: I feel like MCS is kind of like technological philosophy.

R: What do you mean by that?

J: I think we've got a lot of modern philosophy  in all the classes, so that was helpful. I think a lot of the work  was reading and then writing about what we read, which really helped, like Foucault. I think just critiquing and thinking about modern culture around media technology, like looking at Black Mirror, and we watched Black Mirror episodes about three different times. It was a lot of thinking, looking at, analyzing, and just discussing a lot of concepts with modern philosophy. We’re surrounded by the internet and computers and it’s interesting seeing just how humanity interacts with it now. I genuinely feel like everyone should take a media literacy class. 

R: So what do you do now after your college career?

J: So right after graduation, for like, six months, I was working at Six Flags America in Bowie. I was the digital and social media coordinator. But it was a lot of physical labor. It was like 60% other duties asigned, I wasn't doing a lot of what I signed up for, the MCS stuff. Granted, on the one hand, like I was designing signs and using Adobe software, but then I had to go and put them up for like hours at a time in the dead heat. 2021. And since then, I've been working with Anne Arundel County Public libraries as a technology and  video coordinator at the headquarters in Annapolis.

J: So predominantly, I'm part of the virtual services team. We run the website, we provide hotspots and Chromebooks to patrons in the libraries, but we don't fix them and address those issues. Basically anything digital that isn't hardware related, is a living through like a web service-ish kind of state. That's what we do. And then my specific niche is video; video editing and helping with social media.I also now take photos at different events, especially in the summer because there's a lot of summer programs at the branches. I use Adobe every single day. I would know how to use it if I didn’t start with MCS. 

R: you’re ahead of me, that was also leading into my next question. Have you learned any new skills being in the position you’re in now?

J: I started learning [Adobe] After Effects. So that's been fun. I use it to animate the library system logo, that's a big thing. But also I've started learning about a little bit of HTML coding.  We had to make portfolios at one point for one of my MCS classes and then see. I didn’t think my portfolio looked too good, but it was a good start considering it was the very first time I'd ever made a website. 

R: What have you learned through searching for jobs fresh out of college, and the job hiring process as a whole? And do you have any advice for students searching for jobs?

J: First of all, there are scam jobs out there that I've almost fallen for. I've done the application process and then realized that it was fake like two or three times. So be careful. I was applying to like a couple hundred a week, I think, like right after graduation. Leading up to and right after graduation, throughout those four months that was a lot of jobs that I was applying to and I was using quick application functions through Indeed. And LinkedIn. I highly recommend doing those. Another one is, definitely make sure you have a portfolio, or a demo reel of your work. 

R: So do you see yourself staying in this line of work at the library in the future?

J: Maybe not specifically in the library, but just in what I do for the library. video editing, Visual and digital production. Ideally for a non-profit. I’m going to be looking for other jobs fairly soon, actually. The hardest part of this job, is that it’s really hard to make captions for posts, actually. It’s like, trying to reach and hype up an audience without having to use seven exclamation points to get your point across, but also saying just enough that it fits in like, a hundred characters. 

R: That’s understandable. So, last question then. If you were to give freshman year Joey some advice given where you are now, what would you tell yourself?

J: Don't worry. A lot of my last years in college were taken in the heat of the pandemic, and it actually helped me get better grades because I like doing work on my own time and being in my room helped me focus more, personally. But there was a lot of “what ifs” during that period, i just had to take one day at a time, and make the best of it. Also, don’t slack off too much, and you’ll be fine. The professors are very understanding. They helped me through personal and school issues when they came up. I highly recommend people try at least one MCS class, or think of it as a major if you have trouble deciding because it is such a broad topic. It gives you a lot of life skills too.


Posted: May 23, 2023, 5:41 PM