Photography by Joann McPike

new media professional

I've managed and created multi-media campaigns for non-profits, for-profits, and schools. For five years, I taught new media at a high school level and developed the curriculum to encourage student production of high-quality content for a global audience.

My career began when I interned for STA Travel and learned how to be a traveling producer. Since then, I worked for Project Explorer and THINK Global School using my skills and knowledge as a photographer, writer, producer, and filmmaker.

One-Woman Film Crew in any Environment

While I've had the pleasure of working in small crews as well as working closely with talented students and colleagues, I've spent most of my new media career as a solo creator. I've been fortunate enough to travel in my career all over the globe and produce content in a range of environments: while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, while swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos, while underfoot and on top of elephants in Thailand, from cockpits in airplanes over the Himalayas, alongside the Masaai, Māori, and Bushmen of Botswana, using drones over Swedish Lapland and the Scottish Highlands, and the list (she typed so humbly) goes on.

Working solo in the field has its drawbacks—particularly the lack of new perspectives and inspiration—so I often spent my school breaks consulting with media professionals in order to keep learning, such pros including:

Filming Academics, Humanitarians, and World Leaders

On the job, I have had the great opportunity to film some amazing speakers and broadcast their words and ideas to a wider audience. Some of these speakers include:

  • Linguist and Political Activist Noam Chomsky

  • Prince Reza Pahlavi of Iran

  • Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan

  • Educational Specialist Tony Wagner

  • US Political Advisor Greg Simon

  • Historian and Writer Joseph Pearson

  • Humanitarian Urmi Basu

  • Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience & Scientist on Global Sustainability Johan Rockström

  • Physician & Statistician Hans Rosling

  • Nuclear Technologies Historian Dr. Robert (Bo) Jacobs

  • Author and NYT Journalist Nicholas Kulish

Producing Features and Web Series

During my time as Media Specialist, I experimented with many different formats in order to tell the most powerful stories to which I had access.

In 2013, TGS visited the Kingdom of Bhutan for two weeks, and one year later I screened for the community a feature-length documentary of that trip. Cultural experiences (known at TGS as weXplores) play an integral role in our curriculum, and this was ever more apparent during this intersession, when textbooks were laid to rest in favor of continuous hands-on activities. I took this opportunity to look deeper at the concept of weXplore and experiential education, using Bhutan as a case study.

In 2015, I experimented with another format of a web series in order to share examples of TGS students deciding for themselves the best path for their own education. That year, I identified one student per term to follow as they learned experientially and discussed why they were at TGS. "With a mission of becoming a global citizen, these globe-trotting teens soon discover lessons of the road and grow to define for themselves what a global education really is." I filmed three episodes of the web series and only published two as the result of time constraints. TGS decided not to heavily publicize this concept, though it received wide support from the student body that wished to project the more complex feelings they experience on the road in this avant guarde school. I hope to finish this series someday.

Photographing Five Years & Seventeen Countries at TGS

A large part of my job as Media Specialist at THINK Global School was to capture all the amazing moments lived in their global destinations. Here are some of the highlights. Click on an image to open a Flickr album with many more images from that experience. All images of mine are noted underneath each photograph.

Yunnan Province

China 2011

Amazon Rainfest

Ecuador 2011

Galapagos Islands

Ecuador 2011

Elephant Nature Park

Thailand 2012

Palong Hill Tribe

Thailand 2012

Golden Triangle

Thailand 2012

Bavaria

Germany 2012

TGS Amazing Race

Europe 2012

Igauzú Waterfalls

Argentina 2012

Colonia

Uruguay 2012

Bhutan

2013

New York

USA 2013

Cape Cod

USA 2013

Golconda Fort

India 2013

Ajanta & Ellora Caves

India 2013

Punjab & Delhi

India 2013

Kashmir

India 2013

Kyoto

Japan 2014

Kumano Kodo

Japan 2014

Amazing Race

Japan 2014

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Tanzania 2014

Ōrākei Marae

New Zealand 2014

Bay of Plenty

New Zealand 2014

Costa Rica

2015

Odyssey

Greece 2015

Cyclades

Greece 2015

London

England 2015

Lapland

Sweden 2015

Headshots & Senior Portraits

Portraiture photography has been a part of my repertoire since I took senior portraits for 10% of my high school graduating class (including my own). In New York, I freelanced as a headshot photographer for actors, and later at TGS, I provided senior portraits for 45+ students of 3 graduating classes.

 Senior photos with cherry blossoms in Hiroshima, Japan

Senior photos with cherry blossoms in Hiroshima, Japan

 Senior photos along the coast in Santorini, Greece

Senior photos along the coast in Santorini, Greece

 Senior photos in a villa in Florence, Italy

Senior photos in a villa in Florence, Italy

Teaching High School Students New Media Skills

While working at TGS as the Media Specialist, it became clear that TGS students needed support in order to create new media products in the classroom as well as innovate with their three Apple devices.

I developed this course along with the Head of Technology Mike Hourahine in order to provide a weekly space for students to experiment and create using their technology. This Lab is open to the public on THINK Spot for students, educators, and new media industry people looking for self-development opportunities.

The basic objectives for a learner in this course are:

  • to develop skills for effective communication with new media.

  • to become an efficient user of tech who exhibits 21st century skills.

The curriculum follows a spiral model, which students circle twice in a year. The content follows a pattern in order to facilitate the students'€™ learning, and these five flexible areas of new communication are written, audio, still visual, video, and social. Units represent skills and proficiencies that can later be added to a student'€™s resume or portfolio. When relevant, we use a problem-based approach to engage with a type of media and build skills.

My big takeaway from running this course was that, more than anything, students really just needed time—and a little bit of introductory support for skill-building—in order to produce incredible work that often rivaled the professionals. I’m so glad we were able to develop this course for the TGS students and give them a chance to develop new media skills, as many of them have written me years later to say they are employed because of these skills, often skills they taught themselves after the primer of the newMedia Lab.

Attended the Following Conferences and Training Programs

  • Web Series development and production at VidCon | July 2015 in Anaheim, California

  • Photojournalism with Ernesto Bazan at The Maine Media Workshops | 2005 in Bar Harbor, Maine

  • Color Slide Photography with Spoleto Study Abroad | 2003 in Spoleto, Italy