Jessica Merten graduated from the Newhouse School with a Media and Education Master in ’21. While at Newhouse, she developed her passions for content creation while working on her capstone about disability representation in children’s media. Now, she works as both a professor and a content creator part time.
“Newhouse showed me that you cannot limit yourself to one passion because you never know where you will end up.”
Jessica Merten ’21
How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?
After searching for what seemed like forever, applying to job after job, I found my Brand Content Marketing Internship on LinkedIn. Even though I graduated with a Media and Education Masters, I have always wanted to work with branded content, so I thought, why not? I obtained my other positions as a Social Media Marketing and Strategist for Tasia Valenza and an adjunct professor at Marist College teaching a Digital Toolbox class through recommendation from one of my Newhouse Professors. Making connections with your professors can lead to amazing things!
What’s an average day like for you on the job?
I currently work from home, so each morning I wake up and go get a coffee. I then sit at my desk and usually start with a one-hour meeting with my coworkers discussing what needs to be done. I am either planning, creating, or editing. What I love about my day is if I am at a standstill, I can rely on my coworkers to help me with ideas and suggestions.
Collaboration in my position is key! After I ﬁnish up that job, I meet with my other boss to discuss the social media posts for the week. I create, edit and post daily for her as well! Then it is time to relax!
How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?
Newhouse not only got me one of my positions, but the level of education I got through Newhouse prepared me for any situation. I love the variety of content I learned to create through Newhouse. I am able to create branded content, then ﬂip the switch and create social media posts for an entirely different industry. On top of it all, I still put work into my Capstone project for children’s media. I obtained the skills to work in almost any part of the industry through Newhouse.
Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your ﬁeld you may have not considered when applying?
I came into this school wanting to be a ﬁlm teacher. However, as I took more classes and discussed with more professors, I found that I have more passions than just teaching. I love social media, so why not work there? I am passionate about disability representation in children’s media, so why not pursue that? Newhouse showed me that you cannot limit yourself to one passion because you never know where you will end up. And no matter where you end up, you will end up successful.
What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the ﬁrst place?
My program was the only program like it in the country. Newhouse itself is a well-known school that has unlimited capabilities. The professors are professionals from the industry who want to help and love their students. The connections and education you receive from Newhouse are unobtainable at any other university.
What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your ﬁeld that students ought to be aware of?
People say that you will never make it in the ﬁlm industry and it is almost impossible to get into. However, this is not true! There are limitless possibilities of how you can succeed in this industry, especially with the help of Newhouse professors. The media industry is booming and is not going to stop. You will get a job, you will succeed, and you will end up in your dream position. All you have to do is keep up your good work and passion.
What moments in your career have been most exciting or deﬁning thus far?
One of the most exciting parts of my career is seeing content I wrote, ﬁlmed, and edited published on my company’s site. I have made content and posted it on my website, but seeing my content on a page which people are constantly visiting is a feeling like no other.
What advice do you have for current or incoming students?
Take advantage of every opportunity Newhouse has to offer. Work on student ﬁlms and the Orange TV Network, and take what classes interest you. Take advantage of the small amount of time you have at Newhouse, it will get you far in the future. Take any one of Shaina Holmes’ classes, they are work but they are fun and so worth it. Chase Clifford-Manley is also amazing not only as a professor, but as a mentor. Finally, Professor Comstock will help bring your short ﬁlms to their best.