Q: Jenny, in November 2008, you became Wesleyan’s first digital asset and project manager for University Communications. How would you describe this role?
A: I am in the process of setting up and maintaining a digital repository of photos, logos, and other digital collateral that is used in the University Communications Office, and other offices on campus. I’m also a photo editor, meaning that I respond to photo requests, do color correction, handle stock photography, and schedule photographers for events.
Q: If someone, say from the Office of Admission, needs a photograph of student activity for the department’s website, how would he or she go about getting an image?
A: A departmental request can take anywhere from an hour to a week, depending on how complicated the request is, and how many jobs are ahead of it. If the photo does not exist, then it has to be taken, which can be done, but not without setting up a shooting schedule.
Q: Does Wesleyan have a photo database? What is included in this database and who can access it?
A: Technically, the University has several photo databases. Some are open to the public, some only to those on campus, and some are for internal use only. The database that I administer is primarily for internal use, but the photos in it are seen in almost every publication and web page that our team produces.
Q: If an alumnus, faculty or staff member needs a photograph taken on campus, should he or she contact you directly?
A: Currently, yes, they should contact me directly, and cc our Production Manager, Dena Matthews. A web form will be available soon, as part of our updated departmental web pages.
Q: What photo-based services do you provide for clients?
A: The type of editing that I do for the University is not really visible to most people. I do color correction and conversion (to comply with printer specifications), but I’m not making dramatic changes to photos here.
I also help track down photos from Special Collections and Archives, and produce photographic stewardship gifts for University Relations.
Q: Other than photography, what “digital assets” do you oversee?
A: University and departmental logos, some PDFs, and the occasional video.
Q: What are a few examples of projects that you have been involved with recently?
A: There are many projects that I work on, as a behind-the scenes person, but the most visible is the new artwork hanging in the North College lobby. We replaced the old photographs with new prints of photos by Olivia Bartlett, Bill Burkhart, Nick Lacy and William Mercer.
Q: Prior to working in University Communications, you were a development communications coordinator under University Relations. How was this position similar to your current role as a digital asset and project manager?
A: I work with many of the same people- Bill Holder and the University Communications team, the New Media Lab, as well as Mark Bailey and Adrian Cooke. I also still manage projects, but now that I handle photography almost exclusively, I have a hand in many more projects across campus.
Q: You are a Wesleyan alumna from the Class or 2003 and a former Etherington Scholar. What prompted you to go to Wesleyan and what did you major in? What concentration are you pursing with the Graduate Liberal Studies Program?
A: I have always loved Wesleyan’s ideals, energy, and the beauty of its campus. Being part of this university was and continues to be an honor. I graduated with a B.A. in psychology, and now I’m in the final stretch of my MLS, with a concentration in the arts.
Q: While a student, you worked with Bill Burkhart, university photographer. How would you say that experience shaped your current efforts in digital media and photography?
A: I learned much about what makes a good photograph working with Bill. It helped build my confidence as a visual artist, and craftsperson. It also helped me to realize just how much organizational skill it takes to manage photographic collateral. We have some truly amazing student workers, including Arion Blas, who was selected Student Worker of the Year for the State of Connecticut in 2008.
Q: Where is your office located?
A: Bill and I share an office in B1, which is right next to B2/B3 in South College.
Q: In addition to photography, what are your other hobbies/interests?
A: I do freelance photo restoration, and I’m a fiber artist. I sew and crochet, and spin my own yarn, and teach crochet classes in Wallingford. I also participate in the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert every year.
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to say about your role at Wesleyan?
A: I love working here and being part of this community. The university has always encouraged my growth, personally, creatively and professionally. Very few places support multi-dimensionality the way Wesleyan does.