Adam Shepherd exemplifies the level of success possible when a dedicated student commits to an excellent program. A spring 2017 graduate of Eastern with a degree in Communication, Adam recently accepted a coveted position at global sports network ESPN as an associate operator. His range of responsibilities will include video editing, studio operations, control room operation, and related duties on ESPN’s television productions. Reflecting on Adam’s success, Communication Associate Professor Andrew Utterback comments, “Adam Shepherd was not only an active student but also an involved student. Adam took full advantage of the co-curricular learning opportunities offered by the Department of Communication in Television Production—primarily within Eastern Television News (ETV NEWS).”
While his Communication professors may highlight Adam’s dedication and work ethic, Adam credits the Communication Department for much of his success. He explains, “Without my experience in the Communication Department, I would not be where I am today. When I first came to Eastern, my interest was working in television. After taking Dr. Utterback’s Television Production course, I knew where I wanted my career to go. I quickly joined the Eastern television group, ETV, where I got hands-on, real world experience in television production. This group was so beneficial to me because it gave me experience I could put on my resume.”
Continuing to expand his experience and build solid work credentials took a central role for Adam: “Another major part of my experience at Eastern was working in the Sports Broadcasting group. This group really took off my sophomore year, thanks to Nick Aconfora, [COM ҆15] a current ESPN employee. Nick opened the door for not only myself, but also for fellow ESPN employees Brian Dostaler [COM ҆17] and Damon Gray [COM ҆16] to use the broadcasting group as real experience to learn and grow in television and sports production.”
Meanwhile, the television club led by Dr. Utterback and media engineer Paul Melmer provided valuable real-world experience related to the demands of producing a weekly news show. Adam reveals, “This opportunity with the group gave me a way to grow and learn so that I could confidently apply to ESPN and be prepared to work there after school because the experience I got in the news group was so professional.” In fact, Adam developed an impressive resume in a relatively short amount of time. “On my resume, everything I listed when I applied to ESPN was Eastern experience—my job as the ETV Director, the TV studio lab assistant, and a video editor and production assistant for ETV Sports,” he explains.
Adam and fellow ҆17 COM graduate Brian Dostaler are among the increasing number of Eastern alumni hired by ESPN in recent years. “I believe the Communication Department, and specifically the TV field, gives students real world experience that we can take anywhere to a job and apply it right after school,” Adam asserts. Thanks to a special combination of quality programming and teaching, students across the School of Education and Professional Studies (SEPS) have demonstrated similar patterns of success. According to a 2017 SEPS survey of those students indicating employment as an immediate career goal, over 50% reported that they had been offered a degree-related position prior to commencement.