With immigration at the forefront of national conversation in recent years, students and faculty at Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media have come together to unleash for the first time across all media channels a powerful “THUNDERCLAP” of immigration stories using the unifying hashtag #FocusImmigration. Launching on April 10 at 2:30pm with a live storytelling Colloquium event, the comprehensive transmedia project explores and celebrates the diverse themes of immigration and encourages the entire University community to share their own experiences with immigration and stories that they have gathered from friends, family members and the general public.
Medine Cayboylu, a graduate student at the School of Communication and Media in the Public and Organizational Relations program, has one such story. A Turkish immigrant who came to the United States to further her education, Cayboylu had always dreamed of studying and living in America, which fueled her passion to learn the English language. “Since my childhood, I have been interested in speaking English and being an English teacher,” she says. “So, I set my goal. I did my best to achieve my goals with my hard work and perseverance.”
After visiting the United States on a vacation in 2006, Montclair State University caught Cayboylu’s eye, and she decided to apply for her Master’s degree, and fortunately, she was accepted to the Public and Organization Relations Program.
“Everything has been like a fairy tale,” Cayboylu says. “I was thinking that if a miracle happened, I could stay in United States even after finishing my Master’s degree. And, God heard me. I was chosen in the Green Card Lottery, and now I have my permanent resident card. I am finishing my degree, have learned a lot, met wonderful people, and have made precious friendships.”
Cayboylu’s story is just one of many being shared across the Montclair State community, driven by the efforts of all the students, faculty, and staff involved with #FocusImmigration.
Mark Effron, a clinical specialist in the School of Communication and Media, as well as a coordinator for the multi-platform news lab, says that the #FocusImmigration initiative is reflective of the state of contemporary media. “This project exemplifies what media is like in 2019: No silos, collaboration across areas, storytelling on multiple platforms,” Effron says. “It’s such a pleasure to work with our students on this; they have pushed themselves to be the best they can be, they have worked around the clock, and the results are a real contribution to the hot-button issue of immigration that’s roiling the country.”
To join the conversation and share your own stories, post on your social media accounts like Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #FocusImmigration and #MyImmigrantStoryIs! And, find our collected stories from WMSC, The Montclarion, Montclair News Lab, Carpe Diem and class assignments at FocusImmigration.org.