samford jmc monday morning memo… my story.

JMC Alumni and Friends,

Personal Note from Dr. J — It’s Christmas. Please enjoy this last Monday Morning Memo this semester. All of us in JMC are embarking on final exams next week and beginning to get ready for the holidays. I hope you have enjoyed the “stories” JMC alums have shared this semester. I have an exciting line-up scheduled for the spring 2012 semester. Thanks to all of you alums, who have volunteered to share your “stories” with the more than 700 regular readers of this email. I still have some room on my schedule, if you are want to write. I can give you an audience.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. We in JMC love hearing from you. “Keep those cards and letters” and emails and blogs and tweets “coming.” We wish you the best Christmas ever. Now, here’s Robyn. Enjoy the read.

‘I’ve soaked up and wrung out
every lesson I learned at Samford’

By Robyn Blaike Collins (JMC ’96)

If you’d told me in 1996 I’d be working at a church, I’d have laughed.

If you’d told me I’d be using my JMC degree every day, I’d have said that’s what I expect to do.

I came to Samford in 1991. I dabbled in JMC for two years while taking required courses. In 1993 I decided to go to Florida State University.

It wasn’t the best decision I’d ever made. After a year of getting no closer to graduation and repeatedly making bad decisions, I called Dr. Jones. He heard my voice. He remembered my name. He asked me to come back to Samford. That, I believe, saved my life and set my course.

I returned and continued my JMC education — but with more appreciation and a greater understanding that I was on the right path. I graduated in 1996. (It would’ve been 1995, but there was this little issue with not having enough convo credits that “allowed” me to experience a little more bulldog-time.).

I was in a print-design class held in the Mac lab over in education when I began seeing how I was going to use the tools I was gaining. We were learning PageMaker. (Oy vey, we’ve come a long way baby.) I was now able to strategize, write, design and control the way my messages were presented. I was freed.

So I put my new tools to work as a:
— graphic designer and copywriter for a travel agency in Birmingham (CV Travel).
— newsletter designer for an international health products company (Quest 4 Health).
— assistant editor, writer, photographer for a women’s magazine in Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Woman).
— freelance photographer and graphic designer out of Plano, Texas.
— graphic designer for Bellevue Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
— writer and editor for Millionaire Blueprints Jr., and Millionaire Blueprints Teen.
— author, Prepare to Be a Teen Millionaire.

All of it used the tools I learned at Samford. Then the church I was attending, Prestonwood Baptist, in Plano, came calling.

I was invited to a kids’ ministry creative meeting. My friend said, “You’re the most creative person I know. Please come work here.” I left that meeting and wrote my first script for live theater.

The difference between this script and all the other projects I had done was the content had eternal value. ETERNAL. What better way to use the gifts God has allowed me to have. Right?

I wrote more scripts as a volunteer. Then I joined the Prestonwood staff and hired two creative directors, several support staff members and served as a writer and designer.

During my sixth year at Prestonwood, I was asked to get my writing team to write a TV show for “tweens” with Bema Media. The team agreed. We wrote season 2 of iShine KNECT, which airs every Saturday on TBN’s Smile of A Child TV. While visiting Nashville for the show’s taping, I met the kids’ pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church. We connected. Since July 2010, I have been serving as Kids’ Creative Minister at Long Hollow. We have 10 live shows per weekend. And I get to do the branding and planning for special events, like camp and VBS…

I have soaked up and wrung out every lesson I learned at Samford. I tell anyone who will listen how grateful I am for a school with professors who really care about our lives.

Over the years Dr. Jones and Dr. Clemmensen have become morethan my mentors, they are my beloved friends. I have been honored to serve as co-chair of the JMC Advisory Board. I love dreaming about a bigger vision for JMC with Dr. Bernie Ankney. I hope we will be able to lead the charge among schools of our type in many areas, including Church Media.

It is an honor to say I studied JMC at Samford University and all that it represents.

My hope is that my kids will one day be so blessed. I have four — Quint, 14; Jackson, 13; Kavi, 11; and Blaikie, 7. I want them to be loved like I was, while they learn like I did.

You can contact Robyn via email, rbcphotogirl@gmail.com; on twitter, http://www.twitter.com/robynbcollins or follow her blog, http://www.dearheartists.wordpress.com.

Painting a great family portrait. From Left, Quint, Robyn, Blaikie,
Alex, Kavi and Jackson.

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