For broadcasting student Jeremy Zimmerman ’14, a year in Philadelphia has provided countless opportunities to “get plugged in.” Now in his second semester at the Messiah College Philadelphia Campus, Zimmerman has made a commitment to community life, inner-city living and, most of all, a practical education. “It was easy to see myself develop with skills related to my major,” Zimmerman began. “My courses have focused on projects rather than theory or process… I’m more of a hands-on kind of guy, so these classes are really where I start to shine.”
When Zimmerman arrived at the Philadelphia Campus last fall, he enrolled in four courses, including Media Production and Advanced Editing. The latter course tested Zimmerman’s flexibility, requiring the broadcasting major to work with Apple Final Cut Pro, an unfamiliar video editing software. “Advanced Editing, in particular, really pushed me to my limits, because I had never really worked with video editing before,” Zimmerman said. Several weeks later, during a series of interviews for a spring internship, Zimmerman started to notice the benefits of his perseverance. “Both locations that offered me internships said they wanted me because I had put ‘film editing skills’ on my resume,” Zimmerman said, “a result of taking Advanced Editing and going outside of my comfort zone.”
For Zimmerman, this journey away from comfort resulted in a spring internship with Clear Channel Communications, a firm that operates five radio stations in the greater Philadelphia area. Zimmerman focuses on alternative-rock station Radio 104.5, where he assists DJ Wendy Rollins, welcomes visiting bands and creates advertisements for the station’s production department. The diversity of tasks, he believes, has proven highly beneficial. “Monotony isn’t really good for anyone, and I’ve found myself to be no exception,” Zimmerman continued. “Having something new to do almost every day has been both very fun and extremely rewarding.”
In early February, Zimmerman welcomed a childhood icon to the Radio 104.5 studio: Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, and his side project, Fiction Family. Although Zimmerman savored the opportunity to meet Foreman, he connected most with percussionist Aaron Redfield, who conversed with Zimmerman over coffee. Redfield closed the conversation by adding Zimmerman to the guest list for Fiction Family’s evening show. “I can honestly say Fiction Family was the kindest band that I’ve worked with,” concluded Zimmerman.
Although Zimmerman speaks highly of Philadelphia’s professional opportunities—he believes the city offers “an absolutely mind-blowing number of internships”—his development as an individual has taken on a path of its own. As a child of the suburbs, Zimmerman entered the fall semester with a basic understanding of Philadelphia, though the transition from visitor to resident has provided a rewarding next step. “I found that getting plugged in and building connections in Philadelphia is really as easy as investing your time,” Zimmerman said. “I have really started to make the Messiah community a priority in my life.”
Within his Messiah-bound community, Zimmerman has found a way to develop practical experience, build significant relationships and savor the multitude of experiences Philadelphia has to offer. “I really value the Messiah aspect of city life—and the community of it all,” Zimmerman continued. “Having the Messiah home as a foundation to come back to has made the experience that much more amazing.”
By Nick Hemming `13. Original profile appeared in the January/February issue of Commraderie, the newsletter of the Communication Department.