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Taylor Alumna Pursues Creativity After Graduating From Parsons School of Design

  • By: Mer Fenton
  • Published:
Danielle standing in front of a fashion sign

Through a Multimedia Journalism degree, Taylor students get a wide variety of exposure to different areas and skills. A core foundation is required in different types of journalistic mediums, and offers electives and concentrations with courses in Film & Media Production, Public Relations, Professional Writing, Computer Science, and Sports Management can be taken to fulfill major requirements. 

For Danielle Barnes ‘18, her experience with design, training in writing, and semester spent interning in New York City set her up for her Master of Arts in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. She now is working as a social media manager and is looking forward to a long career of creativity. 

Study Abroad Lights a Spark

While at Taylor, Barnes was involved in Gospel Choir, The Echo (Taylor’s student-run newspaper), and The Ilium, Taylor’s yearbook. Barnes is one of many Journalism students who has held writing, editing, and design jobs on the two publications. 

She encourages any high school or college student unsure of their desired career to take it slow, and not feel pressure to have everything figured out right away. Instead, she suggests picking a program where you can try all sorts of skills, and can experiment with different experiences. 

“A lot of people try to make it seem like ‘oh you should know,’” Barnes said. “But I think that sometimes it's really impossible, especially for (Journalism). There's so much you could get into, and I'm the type of person that wouldn't want to be just stuck in something that I didn't like.”

Barnes particularly enjoyed the design courses required in Taylor’s Multimedia Journalism core, and took as many design and Adobe Creative Suite courses she could in Graphic Design through the Art Department. She credits these courses with sparking her interest in design. 

Like most Taylor students, Journalism students have the option to study off campus for a semester, and often go to New York, Ireland, Washington DC, and Lithuania. Barnes attended a semester at King’s College in New York City, where she took courses in business writing, magazine writing, and completed an internship with a digital news company. There, she went around the city reporting and writing each week.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking in the beginning because I'd never been to the city before, but I knew that I always wanted to, and so I was just excited for the changing environment,” Barnes said. “It was so exciting and also so terrifying because it was such a small company, and I did a lot of on-site reporting, specifically for crime and mayhem news. Nonetheless, it was super fun. I really appreciate that program.”

The internship gave Barnes experience in independence that she had never had before. She enjoyed the experience of getting to know New York City, and the ability to know a new side of herself there. She credits her time there with giving her direction in figuring out what her next steps after graduation looked like.  

Pursuing Creativity at Parsons School of Design

Leading up to her senior year at Taylor, Barnes had a very general idea of what she wanted to do after graduation. She only knew of Parsons from the show Project Runway, but after someone told her about the school’s Fashion Studies program, her interest was piqued. It is an interdisciplinary program, combining communications, marketing, and fashion. Many people in her program have gone into marketing and curating, and often had backgrounds in public relations and journalism.

Without realizing it, her application won her acceptance to the Parsons campus in Paris. Although she was hesitant about making such a move, the application to transfer to New York would have been equally as long as the first, so she decided to give it a try. 

“It was a crazy year,” Barnes said. “I think the biggest thing was culture shock for me, because I don't speak French. I lived on my own so it took a while for me to get used to it, and a lot went on that year. My apartment was broken into twice, and one of the times I was in the apartment. It was 2 am and it was a big shock for me.” 

Although her time in Paris was a great learning experience, Barnes decided to transfer back to New York for her second year of Parson’s due to the wider selection of graduate courses they offered. 

Back in New York, Barnes felt that she really thrived in her program. She took courses that interested her, was able to join different groups and organizations, and got to know many people in her field of interest. 

One of her favorite courses was a curating course. She and a team worked with a Parisian museum, and were each assigned a garment to learn how to exhibit. Her team’s garment was a 1960’s Givenchy gown worn by Audrey Hepburn. At the end, they were able to see their work displayed in the gallery. 

Barnes decided to write her thesis on media representation of female tennis players. She first focused on the male-dominated history of tennis, and the way women have slowly integrated the sport but are held to different athletic and fashion standards. She then took that research and wrote an analysis on Serena Williams’s portrayal in the media throughout the years. 

For Barnes, attending Parsons helped her realize the wide variety of career options she had with a Journalism degree. She knew that she didn’t want to go into print news, but rather was searching for something more creative. Throughout the program, she was able to try all sorts of positions, and get to know all sorts of creative people. 

Starting a Career During Covid-19

Barnes graduated from Parsons in spring of 2020, right as the world was shutting down due to Covid-19. Being in New York City, the heart of the early pandemic, she was left to job search on her own during the lockdown. After a brief stint at a nonprofit, she went looking for something more creative. She worked with Group M for a time, a corporate social media agency, where she managed accounts for clients such as National Geographic. 

She recently accepted a new position as a marketing coordinator for Fairstead, a real estate development firm based in New York City, where she is currently editing copy, managing social media, and creating content.

“I know for sure I want to be within the creative industry,” Barnes said. “Now that I've had different positions within the creative field, I can't say for sure what I want to do. But I think that with all of them there's been a spark, and I think I'm just taking it one step at a time. A career in the creative industry can lead you into so many different directions. What really stands out to me is the ability to create meaningful work and inspire people. That’s what I truly love about my field!”

Explore Your Options

To learn more about Taylor’s Multimedia Journalism major and concentration options, explore the careers they offer or talk to Dr. Alan Blanchard, Associate Professor of Journalism. Ready to take the next step? Register for your visit today