General Sessions

We are excited to announce the full slate of 2021 Summer Media Institute general sessions. Join scores of high school students from across the country for these virtual keynotes, panels and information sessions held each Tuesday morning and Thursday evening between July 8-29. Learn from UF College of Journalism and Communications instructors, college students and storytelling influencers. On-demand lessons during SMI ’21 will also be available to watch at any time between July 8 and Aug. 31.

What follows is the list of the keynoters and what they will discuss.

Become a next-gen storyteller
Malick Mercier, one of journalism’s rising stars, will keynote the SMI ’21 opening session from 7-8:30 p.m. on July 8. Malick is best known for his coverage of the student-led March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington back in 2018, when he reported for Instagram’s more than 200 million viewers. Join us as he shares his latest reporting experiences, new tips for social media storytelling and how to create your personal, authentic brand.

Sharpen your college admissions essay
Professor Moni Basu, a CJC lecturer, will discuss from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 13, how to write a powerful essay that conveys the essence of you. Your personal essay can help you connect with strangers and create a strong – and lasting – first impression. Basu will help guide you in choosing and organizing your content so it tells an engaging story. She will also discuss the tools of narrative storytelling and how to apply them to your work.

Navigating college admissions
Kat Webb, a UF admissions representative, will offer expert advice on what it takes to get into a top 10 public university – and or another school of your dreams – from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 15. She will reveal tips on applying for college as well as what you can do to make yourself stand out from thousands of other applicants.

Environmental storytelling for people and the planet
Professor Cynthia Barnett, CJC’s environmental journalist in residence, will lead a general session from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 20. She will focus on how to find your place along the environmental storytelling spectrum — but also how to do so if you also care about human rights or any other worthy cause.

Get the ‘real deal’ on college
Come get an advance peek at what college life is really like from a panel of UF CJC students who have been there and done that, from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 22. These students will offer the “real deal” on university living and talk all things relating to college: What classes to take and when? Organizations to join? How to apply for jobs, etc.

Storytelling: It’s all in the delivery
Professor Joanna Hernandez, a CJC lecturer, began her journalism career when computer work was saved onto floppy discs – but she continues to update her skills with the latest technology. In her keynote at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 27, she will share best practices for using the newest storytelling tech tool: Adobe Spark.