DC students win media awards for video and podcast produced in Guatemala

In February 2020, a group of Durham College (DC) students spent five days in Las Arrugas, Guatemala – a small, remote Mayan village – as part of a Faculty-led Classroom Abroad. During that time and following the trip, the students undertook media projects inspired by their visit – two of which were recently recognized with accolades from the 2021 Canadian Media Educators (CME) National Student Awards.

Ryan Beaton, a Video Production student, and Tara Sottile, a Journalism – Mass Media student, won in the Best Corporate/Client-Based Production category for their video We Are SOS, which was produced for the organization Students Offering Support. In addition, Meagan Secord, a Journalism – Mass Media student, won Best Podcast or Current Affairs Show for her powerful podcast Les Femmes: Strong Women Aren’t Born, They’re Raised, which looks at the impact of the Guatemalan civil war on the women who are now mothers in Las Arrugas. The podcast has also been shared online by Global Affairs Canada’s Fund for Innovation and Transformation

“These awards underscore the transformative impact that Faculty-led Classrooms Abroad and experiential learning opportunities have on our students,” said Danielle Harder, a former CBC journalist and a professor in the School of Media, Art & Design. “Their understanding of Guatemala, its people and its culture is reflected in the high-calibre pieces Ryan, Tara and Meagan produced, and I’m thrilled that their work has been recognized.”

Faculty-led Classroom Abroad opportunities at DC involve students travelling with a faculty member to another country. These for-credit programs are typically 10 to 12 days in length, and faculty members, in cooperation with DC’s International Education office, customize unique learning experiences that aim to bridge the curriculum with the local culture and teach students the skills needed to adapt, thrive and succeed in an increasingly globalized world.

The CME National Student Awards program recognizes and rewards the unique combination of creativity and technical excellence demonstrated by students in radio, television/video, new media/animation, game design and photography programs taught in CME member institutions.