New technology links Fairfield University to "anywhere, world"

New technology links Fairfield University to "anywhere, world"

Image: satellite uplink truck

Fairfield University will introduce its newly acquired satellite uplink truck today, at noon, in front of the John A. Barone Campus Center. The new technology makes it possible for the Jesuit and Catholic university to reach far beyond its borders, even world-wide, by transmitting its signal to a geostationary satellite in space. That signal can then be down linked at various venues. Most universities and colleges, as well as other major institutions, have the down link capability, but uplinking to satellites for national and international transmission is relatively rare for a university campus, especially the size of Fairfield University. It is thought to be the first uplink satellite truck on a Connecticut campus.

This new technology was made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor, said James Estrada, vice president for information services and university librarian, in announcing the acquisition. "We anticipate that this new technology will not only give our Media Center and academic program in New Media, Film, Television and Radio, a dramatic boost, but will serve many segments of the university. It is a service often requested by local and national news agencies and will be a tremendous help in linking our faculty experts to national television outlets. This technology also provides a way for us to potentially share with others some of the conferences, special lectures and programming that goes on here at Fairfield."

Image: Uplink truck
The Media Center crew that operated the instruments inside the satellite uplink truck were (l-r) David Grazynski, audio operator, Brian Merry, TV producer/director, and Peter Sarawit, digital media designer/producer. Standing is Casey Timmeny, external projects producer, who produced theĀ program.

Fr. James Mayzik, S.J., director of the Media Center, which will operate the satellite uplink, said, "I am thrilled that we will have this technology to incorporate into our academic program which has seen such growth over the last three years. Our students who major in new media at Fairfield already have hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment, from freshman year on. Being able to introduce them to such high-powered and sophisticated equipment will greatly enhance our program."

Fairfield University has a fully functioning media production operation that works in tandem with its academic program. Students frequently work with the Media Center's professional team on developing projects that go on to win awards for creativity and execution. Some of the most recent honors have included the Crystal Award of Distinction from the Communicator Awards 2005 Print Competition; two Awards of Excellence from the Videographer 2005 Awards; and the Platinum BEST of Show from The Aurora 2005 Awards.

Fr. Mayzik, who has taught at Fairfield since 1993, was named director of the Media Center in 1999. A producer and director of film and television himself, he saw the value in wedding the production arm of the operation with the program's academic program. "There was such enormous potential among the talented producers, directors, cinematographers, editors and audio specialists already working at the Media Center, and it was a natural fit to bring them into the classroom and let our students learn from the "masters."

One of those "masters," Television Producer/Director Brian Merry, has received special training and will be in charge of the operation of the uplink equipment. "We are so excited about the opportunities that the uplink makes possible for the entire university," he said. "One of the options we wanted from the beginning was to have the technology portable, and that's what the truck provides. We can use this technology anywhere on campus, and for that matter. anywhere off campus."

Image: uplink truck
As part of the introduction of the satellite uplink truck to campus, Carol Costello, right, CNN anchor and reporter, was interviewed on the Fairfield University set by Tom Zingarelli, director of the Regina A. Quick Center for theĀ Arts.

In 2003 Fr. Mayzik brought on board two other Jesuits, Mark Scalese, S.J., who holds an MFA in filmmaking and television production from Temple University, and Mark McGregor, S.J., a Master of Fine Arts graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, known for its film program. The three Jesuit filmmakers take seriously their mission "to produce, aid, and encourage creation of the beautiful and the true."

A minor in New Media: Film, Television, and Radio was introduced in 1997 and quickly grew from 11 students to 100. Last year a major in New Media was added and already 50 students are enrolled.

Posted On: 04-20-2006 10:04 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 235