By Grace McNamara
The Interactive Digital Studies major within UNI’s Department of Communication Studies is a diverse program that can be tailored toward any student’s passions and interests. For senior Connor Thorson, IDS was a perfect match.
Connor grew up in the West Des Moines area, attending Waukee High School. Because of its small campus size and distance from home, he decided UNI was the right fit for him. He began his freshman year as a computer science major, moved to management information systems, and eventually landed at IDS. “I didn’t like how programming-focused CS was, and how MIS was more business-centered,” says Connor. With interests in web development, Connor knew IDS could provide him with experience in CS, digital media software, and web design.
One of Connor’s favorite courses was Editing and Design, because he was able to create an entire magazine from scratch and was given the creative freedom to go in any direction. “I also really enjoyed my Advanced Digital Visualization class because I ended with a great portfolio piece and everyone in the class had a similar field of study, so there was just a really fun atmosphere in the class,” he says.
Aside from classes, Connor has worked for the College of Education as a Junior Technician for the past three years. He is also a member of UNI Proud, the LGBT student organization at UNI.
Connor mentions Bettina Fabos as an influential part of his journey in the IDS major and in his college career in general. “When I came to her stressed about what I wanted to do in life, she helped straighten me out. She also provided me with many opportunities that I otherwise would not have had access to,” Connor says. His advisor, Lori Johnson, also helped Connor with anything scheduling-related and served as an incredible resource. Finally, Connor says he really enjoyed David O’Shields’ Media Literacy course and lists him as one of his favorite professors.
Upon graduation, Connor will move to Oregon with his boyfriend where he plans to get a job in an IT-related position. He will also continue to work as a web developer for a marketing company based in West Des Moines, which is what he is also currently doing.
In closing thoughts, Connor had this to say about the Department of Communications Studies:
“The Department of Communication Studies has helped me become much more confident in myself and my skills, and helped me ‘break out of my shell’ per se. It also helped me meet many students and professors that have made a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally. I don’t believe I would have been nearly as prepared or confident in my abilities as I am now if it weren’t for the Department of Communication Studies, and the knowledge I have gained is invaluable.”