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When Technology Tells the Deepest Stories
04.14.14 |

Caitlin Murphy ’12 didn’t come to the Valley to learn about technology, but ultimately she found that it gave her the tools to communicate some of her most important lessons.

Murphy was a basketball standout at LVC, participating in a record-setting 115 games. She also carried a 3.92 GPA while triple-majoring in English, sociology, and international studies, and studying abroad—twice.

It was when she returned from her first semester in the Netherlands that Murphy found she needed a succinct, impactful way to communicate what the trip had meant to her.

Marie Bongiovanni, chair and professor of English, suggested that Murphy explore an emerging form of videography known as multimedia narrative. “It’s really about deep reflection,” Murphy explains, describing the intensely focused and tightly edited form of filmmaking. “You write a short script, usually just 250 words, and spend a lot of time editing and thinking deeply about your topic and what images you want to use.”

Working with Bongiovanni, Murphy crafted an arresting three-minute digital film that encapsulates the fundamental experience of her travel abroad. Visit to see the video.

She also later worked with Bongiovanni on an Arnold Grant supported student-faculty research project that explored the potential of multimedia narrative to help other returning study abroad students integrate and communicate their experiences. Murphy presented her findings at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, in Houston.

Currently pursuing a master’s degree in international communication at American University in Washington, D.C., Murphy has been helping the school to incorporate videos into its communications with international students, who may struggle with text-heavy materials. “In this position I don’t actually make the videos, but because of my knowledge I can share my expectations, make a storyboard, help edit the films, and give my feedback,” she says.

Murphy is also interning with the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, where she is involved with research and training. She expects to use her multimedia narrative skills during this experience. “During my internship, I will help evaluate videos for foreign service officers and make suggestions for ways to make them more relevant and user-friendly,” she says.

Murphy has found that multimedia narrative has many applications beyond helping her share her experiences with friends and family. “It’s relevant in just about every facet of my life here,” she says. “It’s the first thing people see on my résumé, and employers always ask about it. This is something I use to enhance whatever I do.”

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