Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Adeesha Ekanayake grew up in Sri Lanka, an island nation off the coast of India. When political tensions closed the university he was attending, he wanted a more stable educational environment. So he flew 9,000 miles away from home to go to Ithaca College.
“Sri Lanka is a small country,” he said. “Getting off the plane at JFK, I’d never seen such scale. I felt cut off from my moorings.”
Fortunately, he’d enrolled in Ithaca College’s HOME program, a multicultural housing arrangement for international students. “The best thing I did was keep my door open. I met a lot of international students as homesick as I was. Plus, we were serious about our studies. We clicked. We got over our culture shock.”
A computer science major, Adeesha and three other students came up with an idea for an app that can scan garments in clothing stores to show negative environmental impacts regarding how the clothes were made. The team decided to enter their idea in the Business Idea Competition held by the college’s School of Business—and finished first in the software category. The team enjoyed splitting the $5,000 prize, but it was the “idea” part of the competition that sparked Adeesha’s passion for research.
“I helped a faculty member with her research, and she encouraged me to start projects of my own. At a lot of larger institutions, you wouldn’t get a chance to spend time with your professors and get to know them personally. At IC, that’s a given.”
Another one of Adeesha’s projects is a video game for physical therapy patients. Exercises recorded by the therapist are performed by a virtual figure on a Microsoft Kinect system. Appearing as a second figure, the patient is challenged to mimic the virtual one. The more accurately the exercise is performed, the more points the patient earns.
Adeesha also worked with assistant professor of computer science Doug Turnbull on MeUse, an Internet radio recommender. When a listener uses MeUse to search for an artist, it recommends three Internet radio stations and provides information to help the user choose. A paper on the project was accepted for presentation at the 14th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference.
“I’d originally planned going back to Sri Lanka after graduation, but there are too many employment and research opportunities in the U.S. to pass up, and IC opened my eyes to them.”
School of Health Sciences and Human Performance | Sport Media
Viewers of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown regularly see Chris Berman, Keyshawn Johnson, and Mike Ditka analyzing that day’s upcoming games. But before any game highlights can make it to viewers’ screens at home, producers and production assistants work behind the scenes to select the best shots, plays, and clips. For IC sport media graduate and ESPN associate producer Gavin Cote ’12, it’s a team effort.
The production process, Gavin said, starts with a Thursday morning meeting and heats up as the wee hours of Sunday morning approach. That’s when Gavin and his colleagues start putting the final touches on their shot selections, voiceovers, edits, music, and sponsor messages.
“A three-hour show doesn’t come together by trying to be a hero and doing everything yourself,” Gavin said. “You can’t be afraid to ask for help. I learned that at IC.”
Some of that learning came from doing basketball play-by-play for ICTV and hosting Gridiron Report, a weekly update on Bomber football.
“It was awesome to host a show my junior year, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. Fortunately, a lot of great people helped me with editing and production decisions.”
And, because IC’s sport media major includes courses in liberal arts, sport theory, advertising, and sport video production, help also came from the classroom.
“I wouldn’t have gotten my foot in the door at ESPN without the background I got doing Gridiron Report and taking production classes in the Park School and writing classes in the sport media department,” Gavin said. “Having all that on my resume led to a production internship at ESPN the summer before my senior year.”
The network liked his work and offered him a full-time job the following spring—a month and a half before he graduated. After doing NBA highlights for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, Gavin now helps decide what weekly highlights NFL fans get to see.
“Production skills, working under deadline pressure, focusing on internships, developing writing skills, making contacts—everything I experienced at IC was relevant to what I’m doing now. Don’t think you can’t work at a certain place because it’s ESPN or NBC. I’m building on the skills I went to college for, and I’m getting paid to do something I love: watch sports.”
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