CommLeader Spotlight|Mary Perkins, Cohort 9

10949698_930908096949475_3579639111480729616_nWhat Cohort are you from?: Cohort 9

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

Content, the future of news, how we learn and share information in the digital space

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

Before starting the MCDM, I was a print journalist in Washington, DC. I moved here for the program and haven’t looked back! Most recently I was an editor on the homepage of This degree helped me make the jump from old media to new.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

The MCDM taught me to be an early adopter. I’m not intimidated by the latest fad or digital tool. Trying something new is always an opportunity for learning, even if it’s something that burns bright for a few weeks and fades away (I’m looking at you, Ello). I also stand by my unpopular opinion that Google Wave (RIP) was a great classroom tool.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Digital Law and Policy made me consider adding a law degree to my resume; I loved it so much. I still think of the Psychology of Digital Media class every time I go through an online checkout process.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

The people I’ve met here! I couldn’t have taken the steps I’ve made in my career without the aid of our vast student and alumni network. If you have your eye on a company in Seattle, chances are there’s someone in the program that works there. Also, we started a soccer team that is nearing its 5-year anniversary. Go Squirrels!

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

Manage and create content that is compelling, delightful and educational.  I’m a politics nerd at heart and I believe that a healthy democracy is an informed democracy. Digital media is endless opportunity to inform.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I find it fascinating that while Twitter is such an invaluable tool for communication among news types, its monthly active user rate is crazy small in comparison to other media platforms. That Twitter users are operating in such a tiny bubble of the internet is a bit of a metaphor for the way we all choose to communicate online. We stick to our networks and assume everyone is listening, when in fact that’s not always the case.

What made you want to become an alumni fellow?

I feel I owe this program so much; from the networking opportunities it has given me, to the friendships I have formed here. It’s a great group of professionals and I continue to be honored to be a part of it.

What workshop will you be leading as an alumni fellow?

My main goal as a fellow is fostering a link between alumni and current students. I’m game for anything that brings us together socially and strengthens the network. I’m attempting to carry the torch started last year by 2014 Alumni Fellow Katherine Turner and am organizing our second movie night.  Any student or alum can submit a short movie made during their time in the program. We screen them all at the Jewelbox Theater in Belltown, and it’s a really fun evening for the community. I’m hoping this will become an annual thing.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I lived in Japan for two years and the biggest joke to play on a foreigner was to make them taste natto (fermented soybean paste). Some eat it every morning with rice and swear by its health-boosting powers. I am not one of those people.


Ilona IdlisCommLeader Spotlight|Mary Perkins, Cohort 9
Share this post