Profile:Dustin Senger

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Dustin Senger
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Current Position Digital communications specialist
Status support staff
Location(s) central office
Phone 719-499-5982 (cell)
Started in District 49 April 1, 2012
Prior Position(s) None
Board Certified? No
Dustin Senger is the digital communications specialist for Falcon School District 49. He began working in this capacity April 1, 2012, transitioning from an international career in media relations and public affairs. In February 2012, he earned a bachelor's in journalism with an individualized concentration in social media studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He's now working toward a master's in critical and creative thinking at UMass, Boston.

Work Experience[edit]

  • Graduate Assistant for Studies in Critical and Creative Thinking, UMass Boston, August 2013 – Present
  • Digital Communications Specialist, Falcon School District 49, April 2012 – Present
  • Public Affairs Site Lead, Eagle Support Services Corporation, October 2010 – February 2012 (Fort Carson, Colo)
  • Public Affairs Coordinator, ITT Systems, June 2006 – September 2010 (Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar)
  • Force Protection Specialist, DynCorp International, July 2003 – June 2006 (Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar)
  • Sergeant/Combat Photographer and Photojournalist, United States Marine Corps, October 1997 – June 2002 (Camp Smith, Hawaii)

Education[edit]

  • University of Massachusetts Boston, Master of Arts (M.A.), Critical and Creative Thinking, 2013 – Present
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Journalism with Individualized Concentration in Social Media, 2009 – 2012
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Journalism Certificate, 2009 – 2010
  • Defense Information School, Intermediate Photojournalism Certificate, 2002
  • Defense Information School, Basic Still Photography Certificate, 1998

Presentations[edit]

  • National School Public Relations Association Summer Seminar Session, "Social Media Use by School Districts: Online Behaviors for Public Relations, Enabling Community Thinking," July 2014
  • Colorado Association of School Executives Winter Leadership Conference, "Social Media Use by School Districts: Online Behaviors for Public Relations, Enabling Community Thinking," February 2014
  • NSPRA Power Hour Webinar, "Emerging Trends in Social Media," December 2013
  • National School Public Relations Association Summer Seminar Session, "Social Media Use by School Districts: Social Media Use by School Districts: Diving Beyond “Should We?” Discussions," July 2013

Ambitions[edit]

Senger's academic and career tracks recognize that participatory media will endure to render broadcast media irrelevant. There’s a radical convergence happening, a combining of rapid progress in information technology with calls for more public discourse, concerning daily issues to political debates. This phenomenon is empowering people by expanding the venues in which they may express themselves and lead efforts to spread ideas. While there’s clear evidence of its impact, there’s much left unknown. It's known that mankind's material culture evolves based on changing environmental conditions and interpersonal influences, but it takes a skillful critical and creative thinker to forecast exactly how communications platforms and expectations will reform for 21st century lifestyles.

Participatory media isn’t going away – it’s arguably the greatest change to human communications in more than 500 years, since the inception of the printing press. Facebook is now hosting more than 1 billion users who, on average, upload more than 300 million photos per day. Twitter’s more than 200 million users post more than 340 million Tweets per day. YouTube users upload 72 hours of video every minute and view 4 billion hours of video every month. LinkedIn’s business-centric network connects more than 200 million professionals and 2.6 million companies around the world. These domains and other participatory websites are presenting a seemingly endless source of research possibilities for marketers, scientists and data miners. Knowledge is a freely traded commodity today – the world doesn’t care what you know, but what you can do with it.

Early Life[edit]

In 1997, Senger graduated high school in Burnsville, Minn. At 19 years old, with a couple of classes in fine arts and desktop publishing on a college transcript, he enlisted in the Marine Corps with a plan to earn more money for college and improve his career opportunities. During nearly five years of service, he received the combat photojournalist occupational specialty, after graduating top of his classes in both basic still photography and photojournalism. While stationed in Hawaii, his portfolio of experiences swelled. He documented field exercises and combined-arms training. He traveled to Vietnam for a KIA excavation mission, and visited Alaska twice for cold-weather exercises. He was temporarily stationed in Macedonia, where he established visual information procedures for an Operation Kosovo Force press center, traveling between Kosovo and Greece.

As a maturing technology enthusiast, Senger continued to study computer workstations and infrastructures, as well as HTML, XHTML, mySQL, CSS, PHP, Java and Web content management software. After 9/11, he took note of the rise of participatory media in national discourse. The movement to decentralize information was underway, as people seized new collaborative communications tools to achieve a greater understanding of their world, build relationships and increase connections. The concept of social networking was seeded. Blogs became popular, giving rise to citizen journalists. Within commercial industries, online auction sites introduced a different marketing dynamic: consumer-to-consumer transactions. Apple operating systems excelled at desktop publishing, as intuitive and secure systems.

Holding honorable discharge papers, armed with the Montgomery GI Bill, he started researching colleges. But instead of immediately heading back to school, he joined a defense contractor in the Middle East. From 2003-2010, he lived in Qatar and vacationed in Cyprus, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. During his travels, he studied the interactions between Arab, Persian and Asian societies. Qatari friends offered intimate explanations of Arab falconry, Islamic traditions and local business and government practices. While employed as an Army public affairs coordinator, he explained installation activities and networked with military units and embassy personnel. He authored hundreds of news and feature stories, producing thousands high quality photographs for hometown, national and international media. He redesigned and reorganized an Army installation magazine, improving community contributions. By using distributed reporting services and social media, he accelerated the circulation of information around the world. His work earned top ratings during Army organizational inspections.

In late 2010, as an online undergraduate student at UMass, he relocated to Colorado Springs. He had accepted an Army public affairs site lead position at nearby Fort Carson, and moved 7,000 miles west for it. He coordinated contractor journalism, photography, media relations and administrative services. He also wrote news and feature stories, supported by photographs with detailed cutlines. His topics mostly covered the Army’s readiness for overseas contingency operations and contributed to the production of a weekly Army newspaper. He continued to share stories using distributed reporting services. His team earned outstanding performance remarks, critical to the award of ongoing contractual services. They had limited resources, due to steep defense budget restraints, but produced praiseworthy products. However, lay offs started in January 2012. And he was cut.

Due to hard work and discipline, the month he was laid off, he finished his bachelor of arts in University Without Walls from UMass, Amherst. His studies focused on journalism with an individualized concentration on social media. He explored newswriting and public relations tactics that taught ways to think critically about people and organizations. To expand his understanding of the human landscape, its cultures and interactions, he carefully selected courses from the departments of anthropology, geosciences, linguistics and comparative literature. As he wrote essays for experiential reflections on public policy and technology, he dived into issues related to public information and social media. With his degree in hand, he qualified for an opportunity with his local school district, based out of Peyton – roughly five minutes from his house.