Ashley Wilson ’17 chose the M.A. in Strategic Communication program, a graduate program within the College of Communication and the Arts, after earning her B.A. in Art, Design, and Interactive Multimedia from the College. She is now one of three Seton Hall students selected for the prestigious HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) Scholars Program.
This is the first time University students were selected for the HASTAC Scholars program, which has only accepted 800 graduate and undergraduate students around the world since its formation in 2009. The HASTAC Scholars program includes an international and interdisciplinary community of artists, scientists, social scientists, and technologists who are interested in exploring new methods of teaching and learning.
Wilson learned about the HASTAC Scholars program through the University’s digital humanities committee and decided to apply after reflecting on her interest in how technology can transform education.
As a HASTAC Scholar, Wilson developed a research project that focuses on virtual reality stimulation and how this technology can change the way individuals view cultures. She credits the Strategic Communication program for equipping her with the research and writing skills necessary to complete such project. Dr. Renee Robinson, professor of communication, served as her project mentor.
“Dr. Robinson is very knowledgeable in the field of computer-mediated communication and she inspired me to think outside of the box for this project,” Wilson said. “She urged me to translate my personal talents and interests into an academically stimulating direction for research. I have professional experience working with film and photography, but I have not had the opportunity to explore virtual reality until now.”
Wilson explained that the HASTAC Scholar program motivated her to use her skills in media and communication to create an innovative project that serve the industries and issues she is passionate about. She hopes her project guides participants to further understand diversity and privilege.
“I created a project that is engaging and relevant to the current issues in our community and the world,” Wilson said. “Diversity is very important, and if I can help others understand how to make the changes they need to be more inclusive, I want to make sure they can see it and experience it for themselves.”
Outside of the classroom, Wilson continues to sharpen her skills as a freelance photographer and creative consultant, working with a variety of clients on branding campaigns and creative direction for their projects. She also currently holds a graduate assistantship in the University’s Office of Public Relations and Marketing and serves as the Strategic Communication Steward for the College’s Graduate Student Association.
Looking ahead, Wilson intends to leverage her graduate degree to increase her opportunities after graduation. “The Strategic Communication program helps me examine communication from internal and external perspectives,” Wilson said. “I am learning how individuals perceive communication in organizations and how to problem solve. I hope to apply my coursework and creative background to optimize and produce an engaging portfolio.”
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.