Young Gun for Hire: A DTLT Graduate

In less than a week’s time Serena Epstein will be graduating from UMW, and will therefore no longer be working for the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies. And even though we fight like cats and dogs, it pains me to see her leave for it will be a huge loss for us.

Image of Serena E

Serena whipped through her undergraduate career in three short years, and during that time she might have amassed one of the most awe-inspiring portfolios of the web-based work she has done for more than 10 different classes at UMW.

Just this afternoon one of her professors, Judith Parker, was raving about a recent presentation she did, through which I got introduced to yet another masterpiece by Serena I was unaware of. Serena, along with her classmate Brian Thaler, did a Prezi presentation on visual interaction for her Lingusitics course that is nothing short of mind blowing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those fickle zombies that fawns over every slick tool that comes around. On the contrary, I’m a rather loyal WordPress zombie. Nonetheless, their presentation with Prezi is so intelligently imagined and executed that I came away re-thinking that tool. The presentation became the canvas upon which they painted their way through the topic of visual interaction, and in this example the medium was the message in every sense of that concept. Hats off to Serena and Brian for both imagining and executing this fact so brilliantly. Nothing like having faculty raving about these new fangled web 2.0 tools after the students rock their world! Check out their presentation blog, and be sure to feast your eyes on the Prezi here (or above if the iframe worked).

What struck me is that along with faculty like Gardner Campbell, Anand Rao, Mara Scanlon, Claudia Emerson, Susan Fernsebner, Jeff McClurken, Steve Greenlaw, and so many more here at UMW, our community is cultivating some pretty amazing students and projects—what’s more is that DTLT is an integral part of that reality. Serena is in many ways our first graduate (Joe McMahon notwithstanding who is a network geek and is back at UMW already 😉 ), and I’d put her up against any instructional technologist out there pound-for-pound—she’s visually amazing, creative, hard working, and can design like there is no tomorrow. More than that, she conceptually gets all the work we are doing and is building upon it, from the Semantic web to syndication to small pieces loosely joined.

So, this is my call out to the edtech world, if you are looking for a creative person to join your crew, I have no doubt she will blow your mind and be an invaluable addition to any group–if you were smart you would do everything you could to hire Serena (if she’ll take you). It seems almost ridiculous that DTLT is losing her, and I still think we need to talk to the higher-ups and free up some money, but I have no power save the bava—so here is my plea to keep Serena out of the Peace Corps (what kinda hippie, imperial nonsense is that?) and in a field where she can further build and hone her creative genius. Check out her portfolio, and get in touch with her—she’s ready to spread the good word of UMW Blogs to institutions far and wide—and she comes DTLT approved.

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7 Responses to Young Gun for Hire: A DTLT Graduate

  1. Steven Egan says:

    Hey, think she’d be interested in working with us on THAT project?

    Anyways, I hope she get’s something. I know the position she’s in. Recommendation letters, including one from a 25+ year game industry professional, and helping a giant game design book and I’m still waiting for an offer that follows through. She sounds like the kind of person I’d at least interview if I was in a position to hire.

  2. Gardner says:

    So many memories here–can’t type much beyond “congratulations” without shorting out the keyboard.

    What was it, about 15 months ago David and Serena were presenting at ELI and Serena was staying up all night to help finish the citizen journalism movie?

    Spring 2007 was certainly full of portent for this professor….

    OK, now the keyboard is a;b0a9lhnaljhnfd546s

  3. Chris L says:

    The content of the presentation is quite interesting. But I’m not seeing how this makes one re=think Prezi, which continues to be no more interesting to me than powerpoint… it’s essentially a series of nice transitions without the slides. And while I prefer shows with little or no text– and Prezi helps reinforce that– the mechanism becomes pretty boring after about the 5th transition… of the first Prezi slideshow one sees. It’s certainly not a *bad* thing, but not particularly *good* either.

    Serena, on the other hand, looks to be someone that anyone with the resources should be trying to hire. Your picture got my attention– it would have been a good illustration for the “Gaze” moment in the presentation.

  4. Reverend says:


    I don’t necessarily disagree with you entirely about Prezi, but what I really liked about this moment is how well it suited the subject matter and the very idea they were trying to communicate about visual communication. So, I see the real limits of Prezi, while at the same time the real power of a tool like that that is imagined generatively in this case with the very presentation being a canvas of detail, ficus, movement, and scanning. It just struck me as so cinematic for their narrative.

  5. Chris L says:

    I don’t wholly disagree either… it’s a matter of proportion and benefit. Even in this case, where Prezi is more suited than anything else I’ve seen, it grew tiring quickly. But hey, now that I have a blog again I can (and will shortly) rant there!

  6. Pingback: Prezi? Pshaw. : Ruminate

  7. Pingback: Chris Lott » Blog Archive » Prezi? Pshaw.

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