SUNY Oswego junior technology education major Margaret Romano and her team placed second overall in the National Communications Challenge for their video submission that showed range in technology education for a large national conference in March in Orlando.

The ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association)/TEECA (Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association) Conference's communications challenge provided students a fun and creative way to showcase not only their technology skills, but also the communication skills they are taught through the technology education curriculum, such as from the communications course which teaches them fundamentals from Adobe. 

Romano’s team consisted of Romano serving as the director; Bryleigh Beauchat, who served as the assistant director and handled animation; and Taylor Mackowiak, who also served as assistant director and managed the graphics. Romano gave a special shout out to student Samuel Solomon who provided the voiceover and happily assisted with the project up until 4 a.m. the night before their flights left for the conference. 

The video was modeled after the 1980s game show “Supermarket Sweep,” which has recently made a comeback on Netflix. Students not only needed to submit their final video to the judges, but also a film treatment, storyboard and shot list. 

The video format strictly required the following: 

  • :06 seconds, animated logo of the school or department
  • :50 second video that showed range 
  • :10 second credit scene
  • Animated logo of the school
  • Fade out

Romano notes that the credit scene, spearheaded by Mackowiak, was more creatively handled than the other participants. 

“I couldn’t have done this without Bryleigh and Taylor,” Romano said. “It’s one thing to say that I edited the video, but it really took a team of three.” 

Placing second overall, the team successfully showed range to the judges while showcasing the skills they learn at SUNY Oswego. Not only was this a great opportunity to practice their education, but it was also a superb way to connect with other students and work together across their major. 

“The tech ed department is big, but it’s small,” Romano said. “We all know each other, we are in Wilber and Park every day – that’s our stomping grounds. When we do something together like this, it feels really good to be recognized.”

Conference experience

Due to COVID-19, many students are only beginning to experience the benefits of attending conferences for the first time. Romano said this is her first conference since she started at SUNY Oswego, but she wasted no time connecting with other students and professionals. 

“You were immersed from the get-go in a friendly, learning-filled atmosphere,” Romano said. “Everyone was eager to share who they were, their experience and things that they’ve found. As a student it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re doing because of the stress of school and classes but being at the conference I was like 'This is it, this is the professional world that I signed up to be in and really do love.'” 

Conferences not only contain educational sessions that students can benefit from, but they also provide unique networking opportunities for students and professionals alike to engage in. Romano said that this was one of the best aspects of the ITEEA/TEECA conference, as she was given the opportunity to join the ITEEA - The Elementary STEM Council as a student representative. 

“The council is a group of educators that work with elementary STEM, which can be grades K-6 or K-5.” Romano said. “I knew I wanted to go into elementary STEM so this was a great networking opportunity –- I would do that once a month if I could!” 

Overall, Romano would recommend conferences to SUNY Oswego students and peers alike.

“For the STEM council, I just showed up, shared what I’d like to see from the council, and they asked me if I’d like to write for them and be the student representative,” Romano said. “It just goes to show that you go to these conferences and a million doors can open up for you.”