Joseph Royall has thought of this moment for a long time. He imagines zipping the black graduation gown over his dress clothes. He wonders how it will feel to toss his cap into the air – a final hurrah to the four years he’s spent at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
But what Royall has dreamed of even more than that celebratory moment of graduation is taking the skills he’s learned and starting his future.
“My time at HU was just the beginning of something,” he says. “There were a lot of moments when it seemed like I couldn’t learn enough, and at some point I realized I was ready. It wasn’t just senioritis. It was this excitement to go out and do something great with what I’d learned.”
Royall, now 22, chose Harrisburg University for its close proximity to his home in Philadelphia – allowing him to live independently yet not be too far from his friends or family. When he decided to pursue a degree in Interactive Media Design, he quickly saw how his technical skills in graphic design and video production paired with his love of music.
“Everything we do today is so focused on technology,” Royall says. “What we love – our passions – aren’t just things we do in our free time now. Today, the two can be combined.”
Since he was 13, Royall dabbled in mixing beats. As a student at Harrisburg University, he took his skills as a music producer and combined his art with the technical skills to create music videos, documentaries and more.
He interned with Commonwealth Media Services, which provides professional communications products and services to the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of the Commonwealth, as well as to state-funded organizations and recipients of state grants.
It was there that Royall says he learned a lot about how graphics, advertisements and even music help keep an audience aware and attracted to what’s going on in the world of services, products and news.
Royall also used his skills to create a personal documentary for his senior project. Through the video, Royall linked his passion for music production to skills learned within his major. He also completed smaller projects through his Interactive Media courses, such as creating a comic book trailer that required him to link images from a comic book with audio that persuaded the user to go out and buy the book.
“This degree has given me the ability to design things, communicate with people and display what’s going on using imagery and audio,” he says. “The biggest thing HU did for me was help me realize my interests first. The environment here encourages creativity and independent thinking – and that was exactly what I needed.”
As he gets ready to graduate with the Class of 2016, Royall is grateful not only for the things he learned at HU but how the university shaped him.
“I was a bit of a hermit when I first came here,” he says. “It was the professors, my classmates and those in my dorm who helped me realize in my four years here that the world has a lot to offer. I look forward to continue learning and growing – and to explore what else is out there.”