Mark Benincosa – IMC 636 Capstone Project
Graduation Date – Summer 2012
Client – The American Red Cross
Residence – Fairmont, WV
Undergraduate Degree – Bachelor of Science, Sociology; Avid Certified Pro Tools Operator and Instructor, Music Production and Game Audio
Misc. Facts – I live in Fairmont, WV with my wife and best friend, Natalie. I am currently employed by West Virginia University where I recently created a minor in Music Technology specializing in Music Production and Engineering. I also manage the West Virginia University School of Music recording studio. I have production and engineering credits on a number of independent releases, and also have engineered and produced releases on major classical record labels including Delos Music, heralded as “the Great American Label”. Additionally, I am a musician performing and/or recording as a guitarist, electric bassist, vocalist, and electronic musician. I enjoy what I am already doing, and believe it or not, my IMC degree has been a major benefit to me in music.
Capstone Experience – While the capstone is difficult, I don’t particularly feel like it is something that should induce panic. Maybe that’s just me looking back in hindsight. My best advice would be to genuinely follow the plan for each week and try not to procrastinate. If you take things step by step, you can do it as long as you are dedicated. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to conduct some secondary research on your demographic before the start of the process either. I had a genuinely great instructor to advise me throughout the writing of my entire paper in the form of Dennis O’Connell. I would imagine that there are lots of other great instructors available to advise throughout the capstone/thesis process. I had some great, supportive friends and family as well. I’m sure they got tired of hearing “I can’t, I have homework.”, when they wanted to make plans. Of course, my wife was the most supportive of all. Definitely make sure that your friends and family understand a little bit about what you will be doing. The extra support is a big help.
A few of us in my capstone group, including myself, were intimidated or felt overwhelmed about the process of conducting a focus group. I had some difficulty getting a large enough group of 16-24 year old individuals in one place at one time. Since I am a gamer and I identified gaming as something that was important to my demographic, my first solution was to conduct focus group sessions online by using Microsoft’s Xbox Live Service. It was a great help because I was literally able to speak with people from across the country without inconveniencing them too much. With Xbox Live, they could answer all of my questions and discuss amongst one another without even having to stop playing their game. That was a major relief during the process and everyone was genuinely interested in being involved.