It's been a rewarding time to be in touch with last year's graduates of our Professional Certificate in Visual Storytelling program. Between following along with the drama of the round-the-world Volvo sailing race to news of Emmy awards, we couldn't be prouder of the way our alumni are putting their skills to work.

Fiona Chong came to us from Singapore at the start of the 2013-2014 PC term. Originally intending to focus her studies on historic photographic processes, Fiona found herself particularly drawn to a video project guided by Instructor Chris Lehmann. As part of her course work, Fiona worked with Chris to produce a short video about the development of a "Wizard of Oz" museum here in Midcoast Maine. Their 5-minute interstitial is an exploration of some of the 100,000 Oz-related items that will inhabit the museum, as well as a fascinating view of the cultural and creative impact of this timeless American story. This spring, they were awarded a Boston/New England Emmy for Best Interstitial. 

Our PCVS program was developed for students like Fiona, who know that relying on a single skill set as a media professional is often not enough. Today's visual storytellers need to be comfortable working across media platforms, and convey their stories effectively to a wide range of audiences. "This is 30-weeks of fast-paced learning," said instructor Chris Lehmann. "It is a blend of employing creativity and learning new technical skills to help students bring traditional storytelling into a visual, digital realm.

Corinna Halloran was also among the 2014 PCVS cohort. Hailing from Newport, Rhode Island, Corinna sought out our program with a singular mission: to gain the interdisciplinary skills necessary to win a coveted spot as on-board reporter for a sailing vessel in the elite Volvo Ocean Race. On-board reporters are expected to shoot stills, video, and write regular blog posts, all while enduring the same grueling conditions as the rest of the boat's crew. Shortly before graduating from our program, Corinna learned that she had won a spot with Team SCA. As a member of the all-female team, Corinna spent nine months documenting the daily challenges faced by the crew, logging more than 38,000 miles at sea. Emailing us from an early shake-down trip, Corinna said "I feel so prepared having done the PC program. Everything I learned there prepared me 110%."  

Students participating in the Professional Certificate program also get steeped in MMW+C's specialty: the very rare blending of historical photography alongside the state-of-the-art techniques that help students develop their unique visual voice. Classes offer the ability to study alternative processes, fine art and documentary photography, as well as digital still and video techniques that are important in every visual storyteller's career.

The program is typically taught to relatively small, intimate groups, providing intense hands-on training tailored to each student's goals. There is no guarantee that you will win an Emmy or participate in the world's most challenging sailing contest. But you might. "At the end of the day, I think it is really a case of how much you want to make out of the program. The more effort you put in, the more you learn," Fiona said. "You reap what you sow."