Like most young millennials, Alex Way ‘18, ‘20, developed an interest in video editing, recording, filming, and photography in high school. The rise of social media and prevalence of digital media-based assignments in class created a spark that would grow and develop as Alex transitioned into life at Mount Aloysius College.
“Finding out that there was an entire dedicated branch of student workers at Mount Aloysius for maintaining the college’s communications and social media presence made the decision to reach out to them a no-brainer,” said Alex. “It would be a great opportunity to get my hands in all kinds of Mountie activities, as well as build up my skills in the digital mediums.”
An information technology major, Alex spent plenty of time in the Mount’s “Digital Grotto,” an office in the Bertschi Center home to the College’s Communications Department. While his main tasks in the department mostly revolved around video production and editing, he also would edit the website, photograph events, and help manage the College’s social media accounts.
Now, Alex works as the Multimedia Coordinator for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown thanks, in part, to his work in the Digital Grotto.
“In a lot of ways, finding myself where I work now is almost a case of history repeating itself,” Alex said. “The diocesan director of communications was shown a piece that I had worked on during my time with the Grotto that I had set as my Facebook cover photo, and I later received a phone call from him. This job has given me another chance to not only develop my skills with digital media and broaden my creative horizons, and I can do it in a sizable, local organization with tons of both financial and professional support.”
The photo project that drew the diocesan director’s attention to Alex? A photo of a meeting with six versions of himself in attendance.
In his new position, Alex helps to maintain the diocesan website, posts to their social media accounts, and helps to film and edit interviews with prominent individuals in the diocese. Whether it’s an advertisement for the newest edition of the diocesan magazine or maintaining a database of daily Mass times throughout the diocese, almost anything that goes on the Internet for the diocese passes across Alex’s desk at least once. But that doesn’t mean he has entirely abandoned his information technology background.
“If I have some spare time, I help office staff with troubleshooting, minor hardware issues, and new equipment setup. There has been a big change in the varieties of technology we use in the office in the last few months, so there’s been a nice balance of tasks between these two departments for me to tackle.”
Alex says that his experience working for the communications department at the Mount helped teach him the skills he needed to succeed at his job.
“Taking part in so many different events on behalf of Mount Aloysius teaches you pretty quickly that the world and those in it are infinitely diverse in terms of opinion, preference, and attitude,” said Alex. “Being one of the key central figures of communication for an entire diocese that spans over eight different counties requires that you understand those that you communicate and collaborate with, at least on a basic level. With the Grotto, I learned to have patience, be accommodating, and respect others’ time and visions.”
Alex also believes his experience went beyond skill growth.
“It’s pretty universally difficult to break out of your social shell as a college freshman, and despite the wealth of social events offered, it takes just as much energy and time to commit to attending one of your own accord. Working for the Grotto allowed me to insert myself into all kinds of college events, and I met a ton of people during that time, even a few celebrities. I was able to make as many memories for myself as I did photographic memories for other people, and I think that speaks volumes for the department’s potential and impact.”