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Alumnus Profile

Michael Knepprath (2010)

Michael currently works as online/social media director at Radio Mankato, a group of locally-owned radio stations.

WHAT YOU DO • • • My first big project at Radio Mankato was to oversee the creation of four new websites. Since then, I’ve been teaching the other employees how to blog and keep our online presence relevant. I also create all of the graphics and designs that we use online, in magazines, and in newspapers. I’ve even had the opportunity to design a mobile application. Basically, I have been charged with modernizing a radio station by building an entirely new department from scratch that can support itself by integrating with and increasing the value of radio.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • I’ve always been drawn to design and only recently to social media. Design started out as a hobby for me, and I had a lot of fun doing it. It was quite the revelation when I discovered that I could actually make a living out of it. Then I discovered how art and design have defined history through taking Art History with Prof. Bukowski, and I decided that that’s something I’d be interested in doing one day. My urge to share my work was one of the factors that led to my love of social media. Starting out, I realized that I wasn’t using Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to their full potential, so I began to research them. It was not long before I realized that my knowledge of these platforms was valuable. When a concept is this new, it makes it much easier to become a professional in the field. I didn’t have to read five textbooks, I just had to keep up with the latest news. It was actually fun exploring these new media like Google+, Path, or Pinterest. My design skills, along with this knowledge of social media, made me perfect for my current position.

HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • I would like to get to the point where I am either creating or working for the next big thing in the social media industry. I want to help bring a great idea to the masses through the appeal of the design. I’d also love to do some work for Pixar, but that’s a long way down the road. Finally, I’m not sure what today's equivalent of the Sistine Chapel would be, but I’d like to create it.

HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • I’d like to thank Andy Overn, Bill Bukowski, Kurt Paulsen, and Eric Ouren for instilling in me a respect and a love for my medium and it’s roots. It was great to be able to learn from them, but it was also great to learn about them and what inspired them to get to where they are now.

WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST • • • I spent long hours in front of the iMacs in all of the computer labs on campus. One semester I spent at least one, if not two, nights a week staying up all night to work on design or motion graphics projects. It was hard, but worth it!

ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • Get plenty of sleep. Study. Take your classes seriously, even if they have nothing to do with your major. A design student who only knows about design is not all that useful in the real world. Everything you learn in every class could be beneficial to you down the road.