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Learn about successful current students and alumni who accelerated their education and launched their careers through the UT2UT program.

Sydney Rhodes ‘21

Sydney Rhodes
Sydney Rhodes ‘21
M.A. in Social and Emerging Media
B.A. in Journalism, Minor in Sports Management

What were some of your accomplishments as an undergraduate at UT?
I was editor-in-chief of The Minaret as well as a staff writer, captain of the women's cross country and track teams and I was named to the NCAA All-Academic team. I also received the Department of Communications' Outstanding Journalist Award.

Why did you choose to stay at UT for grad school?
While I was taking a lot of classes in broadcast journalism during my undergrad, I found out that I really liked all sorts of media, specifically in digital marketing and content creation. When studying journalism, you dive into many mediums of writing, but it was when I started working with videography, video editing and website creation that I found myself really having fun. 

Why did you choose the M.A. in Social and Emerging Media program?
I found a love of creating on the back-end over being in front of the camera. During an internship with a local marketing agency, there were projects that came my way to create a social media posting from scratch, and I gravitated to that artistic aspect.

What has been your most memorable experience of the program so far?
Professor Gregg Perkins’ emerging technologies course pushed me to be creative in a field where I wasn’t originally passionate. Working in groups, we had to identify a problem in Tampa or in our country.  So, our group created vision for a parking app, specifically in the downtown Tampa area. The idea was there would be two sensors – one in a parking space and one in the car, and the sensor, which is connected to your app, would charge you. You wouldn’t have to go through the meter machines, and you didn’t have to search for the parking.

Dr. Wheeler’s course is also already very memorable. So far, he’s brought in about a dozen speakers from a range of industries – social media marketers, podcasters, photographers and so many more.  Dr. Wheeler has found how to bring the real world to us, to tell us how these individuals got started, and it’s not just social media-specific fields. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and you can tell he is really trying to listen to our interests and build from that. 

What do you hope to do after you finish this program?
There is so much I want to do! I like to work where I can plunge into multiple platforms like digital marketing, website writing, a little bit of everything. My long-time career goal is to work in athletic communications because you can cover everything like photography, website writing and content-creation all in one.

What’s your advice to students considering the M.A. in Social and Emerging Media?
Students should be prepared to get fully immersed into this program. Just get fully get involved with it. Get to know your classmates. The small class sizes and structuring to allow us to go through the entire program together is very helpful for networking. Work closely with your professors by running project ideas with them. And connect with the guest speakers since many times they are local and dialed into the greater Tampa Bay area!


Leslie Speranzal

The tight-knit community is integral to the uniqueness of UT. By having smaller class sizes, we're able to engage more deeply in conversations with each other and develop strong relationships with professors. These personal connections become the foundation of our professional network.

— Leslie Speranza ’19 MBA, B.S. in International Business and Entrepreneurship