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.
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.