Communication students gain hands-on experience in unique Forum partnership

Through classes, internships, and more, MSUM offers many opportunities for students to work with local businesses in Fargo-Moorhead. One of the distinctive experiences that communication students have is to work with Forum Communications through an apprenticeship program.

This program, previously known as the Marcil Apprenticeship, offers students the chance to collaborate with Forum staff in different areas of their work, such as writing and online analytics. This fall, the program is making a return with a new format to offer students an even more cooperative approach to getting experience at the local media company.

Aaron Quanbeck, chair of the School of Communications and Journalism, has worked with the Forum and MSUM students over the years. He is eager to get students involved in the new program, knowing that this type of experience is important to communication students.

Caitlin Wilts graduated in 2020 and completed the Marcil Apprenticeship in the fall of 2019. Looking back, her experience in the program was vital to her future, while also helping her in the classroom.

“My biggest takeaway was being able to combine my experience with the Forum overall and working with the different departments to narrow in on what exactly I would want to do in my career,” she explained.

Another alumna, Emma Vatnsdal, was an apprentice in 2017, and eventually found herself as a Forum employee after graduating from MSUM. While she was making her way through the program rotations, she enjoyed the type of work and dynamic staff and decided to approach the company about a job.

Similar to Wilts, Vatnsdal found that while she was in the apprenticeship, she felt like she was “fifteen steps ahead” when in class learning about the things that she was actually doing as an apprentice.

Up until now, students have been able to get a sense of what their future careers might hold but, with the modified format, they will be able to work with both Forum staff and other MSUM student participants. The group will essentially work on a larger project with guidance from Forum employees.

Quanbeck sees the new program as an opportunity for students to work together and have something to show when they are job hunting after graduation. He hopes it will become a “passion project” for the students involved.

“They’ll be able to have input from working professionals on this project and in the end have a great product to show and demonstrate that this is what they did… a product that they can really be proud of.”

Learn more about the program and application process.

Dragon Media Group

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