HCC students take the classroom to the field
How does one succeed in the field of communications? Students from the HCC Intro to Mass Communications 1307 class learned just that during the latest Taking the Classroom to the Field lesson hosted by Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. Six HCC students attended a lecture and toured the radio facilities used on game days. Marc Vandermeer, Director of Radio Broadcasting for the Texans, conducted the class for this Taking the Classroom to the Field session. HCC is the official education partner of the Houston Texans and the NFL team has provided access to their facilities and personnel as part of the curriculum for classes. This partnership provides an opportunity for students to receive mentoring from Texans employees who are experts in the areas that HCC students are studying. So far, students in Culinary Arts and now Communications have had this experience.
Vandermeer addressed the students before the tour to share his background and advice on how to succeed in communications. With a class so diverse in majors and career interests, Vandermeer was able to provide solid information about getting yourself noticed by employers. Having graduated with a degree in Mass Communications with a focus in advertising, Vandermeer did not predict that he would one day be working for the NFL, in Houston no less, a city he was once unfamiliar with.
Vandermeer said, “No matter what, things can change on your career path.”
He continued to educate the students on the benefits of advertising during games. Since the NFL is number one in entertainment for America, television stations invest a lot of money into airing advertisements during the game. Vandermeer even reported that ESPN alone pays up to $1.8 billion for television rights during Monday Night Football. These fees help pay for the players’ salaries, as well as the staff, non-football staff and facilities.
After the lecture, students had the opportunity to tour the facilities used by Vandermeer for pre and post-game interviews with the Texans players and their coach, Gary Kubiak. Vandermeer explained that the set-up is basic, but it works. The interview rooms are located across the hall from the locker room making it easier to grab a player after the game for an interview. The students even had the opportunity to wear the headsets used during radio interviews and had their conversation recorded for playback.
Hoang Doan, Engineering major at HCC’s Alief campus, said, “Seeing the interview room broke the illusion of how complex the NFL is.”
Vandermeer concluded the tour with stressing to the students that they will go through hardships to get the job they want, but their hard work will make it worthwhile once they get there.
“What you’re passionate about is the most important thing. If you do what you love for a living, money will follow.”
Students were also advised to use networking as a means of finding a good job, and to contact Marc Vandermeer when in need of a reference. He explained that everyone you meet becomes part of your network, and gave the students his email address.
Olivia Oakes, Public Relations major and sophomore at HCC’s Alief campus, believes marketing is important and enjoyed the tour of the facilities, an opportunity she never believed would be offered by HCC.
“This corresponds with what we’ve been learning in class, which is cool,” said Oakes.
Steven Cadavid, a Mechanical Engineering student at HCC Alief, confessed that he was taking the class as an elective, but thought it would be interesting. After learning about the communication skills needed to pursue a career, and the work that goes into running a football team as taught by Vandermeer, Cadavid’s perception was changed.
Said Cadavid, “I’ve never been in Reliant Stadium, so it was a good experience for me. I’m going to be more open-minded and talk to more people to achieve something. This was very fun and interesting.”
Carlton Abernathy, Communications Professor at HCC Central and professor of the communications 1307 class, expressed his delight over the privilege his students had to meet someone who built their own success and see behind-the-scenes of a major venue and team.
“You can’t get your head around something of this magnitude until you actually see it,” said Abernathy.
The Introduction to Mass Communication in the Electronic Environment course offered at HCC analyzes communication theory and the structure of the American communication system. The class is essentially a crash course introduction to all facets of mass media. Houston Community College’s partnership with the Texans will continue to provide more Taking the Classroom to the Field events, with the next group potentially being the Audio Visual/Filmmaking class in November.
Additional photos can be downloaded at http://hccs.webdamdb.com/search.php?searchField=ALL&searchstring=vandermeer
About HCCHCC is one of the country’s largest singly-accredited, open-admission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities for 75,000 students each semester. HCC is composed of six colleges that serve the greater Houston area’s diverse communities by preparing individuals to live and work in today’s increasingly international and technological society. To learn more go to hccs.edu.
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