UM-Flint Faculty Member Receives $5,000 Grant for Media Project

Congratulations to Donna Ullrich from the Communications and Visual Arts Department of UM-Flint, who was recently awarded $5,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for her Flint Youth Media Project blog!

The goals of the project are two-fold: First, to reach and engage Genesee area youth interested in media arts by launching a youth blog where they can showcase their own creative media productions and engage with other interested peers. Second, to use the data generated by this blog to gauge the interest of area youth in the media arts, communication, journalism, and to identify how the Flint Youth Media Project (FYMP) can best reach this population with programming and serve it as students prepare for college and careers.

In addition to giving students a platform to showcase their creative talents, the project will be addressing key discrepancies between the “media” produced by students in their casual photography, video, and writing as they engage with various social media outlets, and the skills that are actually needed in a career or post-secondary education.

By having peer-to-peer interactions in the Blog project, and access to experienced professionals and educators, students will enhance and learn skills and also begin to understand the processes of collaborative creation and teamwork. This will both improve their own work and give them a glimpse of the processes needed for real-world media production.

The blog is one of five programs envisioned by the Flint Youth Media Project. Other programs include youth summer media/film camps held at UM-Flint that will help students capture, focus, and develop their skills; a youth film festival that would include a series of filmmaking workshops throughout the school year; a Flint Community Schools Media Center; and an after school media program for students interested in broadcast, film, and digital production.

All of the programs, and the project as a whole, hold underlying themes of engaging the students in their local communities, improving media education, and building a youth media community. The blog will be the first step of the project.

Team members for the project include award-winning television producer Rodney W. Brown; Leon Collins, who brings a lifetime of experience including serving as the director of telecommunications for WFUM TV 28 PBS and multiple teaching and advisory positions at a variety of educational institutions; and Michael J. Thorp, longtime broadcaster, writer, and producer at WJRT-TV12 and EMMY-winner.

The project director, Donna Ullrich, has 32 years of media teaching experience and 35 years as a successful communications professional.