Students fast forward to their future

Do you think Bill Gates knew he would become what he is today? Do you think people like Katie Couric, Barack Obama or Michael Jordan knew what their success would be before it happened? Or, did they have doubts about their future and what they would accomplish?

SteinesMark Steines, University of Northern Iowa graduate, Iowa native, Emmy-winning journalist and now co-anchor of "Entertainment Tonight" joins this group of success stories whose futures were not laid out from the start.

Steines spoke at the sixth annual Fast Forward Workshop on Oct. 1, sponsored by the Iowa Broadcasters Association and Quarton-McElroy/IBA Endowment Fund, where communication students gathered to hear career stories and learn about the field from UNI alumni.

Working up the electronic media and communication ladder, Steines questioned if he had the skills to be on air as a broadcaster. He reminisced of his experiences sitting in Lang Hall classrooms with classmate Julie Kraft, current senior consultant at Frank N. Magid Associates, who also spoke at the workshop.

"I remember asking Julie, 'Do you think I have what it takes to be on air? I just don't think I do.' Never would I have thought I'd be an anchor of 'Entertainment Tonight.' I just wouldn't have believed it," said Steines. "It's really this simple: you just have to ask yourself, 'What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? And do I have what it takes to get there?'"

Joel Haack, dean of the Colleges of Humanities & Fine Arts and Natural Sciences opened the workshop by thanking the alumni and acknowledging the importance of UNI professionals coming back to offer personal experiences.

"Getting to experience our alumni coming back to speak about their successes provides you with a real head start; a fast-forward in media and electronic communications for the future," said Haack.


"I dared to dream and it happened. Your time will come. It takes will and luck, but you have to feed your career with experiences."

Mark Steines, UNI grad, co-anchor, "Entertainment Tonight"

Throughout the day, students attended workshops that offered tips on news releases, taught the ins and outs of branding, writing and design for the Web and addressed current issues in video editing.

While students ponder their future, advice from alumni professionals was welcomed.

Senior electronic media major Brittany Johanningmeier saw the importance of connecting with alumni. "Coming back to guide us is really significant because they're coming from UNI. The knowledge they're bringing from the field is so vital and they're all wonderful mentors. We're lucky to have them reconnect with us," she said.

Public relations and marketing major Karla Hansmeier said, "It's nice because you can relate to them. They dealt with a lot of the organizations and businesses that are around us so they have some relation to the types of places and people that we'll be dealing with. It's just really great that they take the time to come back."

Steines ended by saying, "I come back to offer some insight to my experiences. I dared to dream and it happened. Your time will come. It takes will and luck, but you have to feed your career with experiences."