Digital Portfolio

Melinda Johnston


Master of Arts in Communications

Queens University of Charlotte

Graduation Date: May 5, 2018


Welcome to my Digital Portfolio! Please feel free to roam around my WordPress site and peruse my last two years of exploration, research and products produced as a part of the MA in Communications program at Queens. And if you are reading this as a prospective student, wondering if it may be worth your while to enroll in the Knight School of Communications at Queens, I have one word of advice – YES!



Dragging a Pencil/Paper Girl into the World of Digital Communication

I am a computer scientist/mathematician by education and writer and children’s choir director by profession, combining several different but surprisingly complimentary skill sets through the course of each day. The mathematical part of my brain keeps me grounded and on a logical path; the writer/musical part of my brain allows creativity and whimsy to flow.

For years, I made quite a comfortable little entrepreneurial world for myself, writing for several local magazines and working as a stringer for a major newspaper producing several articles each week. I set my own schedule and wrote from my desk in my home office where I could look out the window at the birds when I needed a break.

But several years ago, after numerous warnings that I tried to ignore, I finally accepted the fact that traditional print media (newspapers especially) was in a downward spiral, and digital news media would soon reign supreme. I had a choice: I could either go down fighting with pen and paper tightly clutched in my hand railing at the unfairness of it all, or I could go back to school and learn how to function in the new digital world order.

After extensive (digital!) research and much trepidation, I enrolled in the graduate program of Communications at Queens. My only regret with that decision was that I didn’t enroll earlier. While I continued working as a writer, reporter, and choir director, the online classes made it possible for me to do graduate work sandwiched between my paying jobs, at my own desk, in front of the window where I could still watch the birds if I needed a break.

To my surprise, I quickly found out that the Communications curriculum wasn’t just about navigating the digital world. It was applicable to every aspect of my life, making me a better writer, music director, friend, and world citizen. What began as a way for me to better understand technology emerged to make me a better person. Some of the material was so obvious that I wondered why I had never considered it before. Other material was more obtuse, forcing me to dig deep to understand the concept. Sometimes I was so overwhelmed I wondered if I would ever get through it. But discussion forum by discussion forum, academic paper by academic paper, class by class, I’m almost done.

These past two years have been a whirlwind of assimilating new information, learning a variety of digital platforms, examining my preconceived notions about people and society, and stretching my research and writing skills further than I ever thought possible. The culmination of the program will be a strategic communications plan to increase financial contributions to Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, a practical outcome with spiritual implications.

I’m not sure where my next adventure will lead. I have several writing jobs in progress, and will continue to pursue freelance work. But I am confident that the knowledge gained during this program will be invaluable whatever road I choose to travel. And I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my amazing professors and my online cohort, who have faced the same challenges and traveled along side me throughout the entire program. It truly does take a village, and there is no better village than Queens University of Charlotte. Thank you!