Move over Match.com and eHarmony. The School of Journalism’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) online graduate program is helping singles find love, well, not officially.
But for two graduates of the program, that’s just what happened.
The WVU IMC program is the first integrated marketing communications master’s degree program in the world available exclusively online. It is designed to meet the needs of busy working professionals, giving its students the opportunity to continue working while receiving a master’s degree in the marketing field.
Finding love was just an added bonus for program graduates Phil Satterfield (MS-IMC, 2006) and Stephanie Camp (MS-IMC, 2006; BSJ, 2002).
Satterfield and Camp enrolled in the IMC program in Spring 2005. During their first course, IMC 610: Introduction to IMC, the two chatted frequently through the course’s discussion board, but those conversations were mostly limited to class topics.
“In the program, you’re given one or two questions a week that you have to answer,” said Camp. “We had to respond to at least three other students. I always thought Phil had good insight, so I often found myself responding to his posts.
“Once you were logged into the class, you could see who was online and who wasn’t,” she said. “You could even instant message someone if you wanted. When you’re online with people day in and day out, it’s a unique bond. It’s always nice to have the opportunity to actually meet them in person.”
That opportunity came when Camp and Satterfield participated in the program’s annual IMC Weekend and Student Reunion in June 2005, where they both attended a roundtable discussion.
After that, they talked on the phone and e-mailed through the IMC network. Then Satterfield asked Camp out to dinner.
“Suddenly, it was clear that the connection we made from talking online was developing into something more,” said Camp. “We had so much in common that we began dating.”
At the time, Camp, a Pittsburgh native, lived in Morgantown and worked for Sprint as a senior retail communications consultant. Satterfield, a native of Fairmont, W.Va., was working in Charleston, W.Va., for Gov. Joe Manchin as the governor’s liaison. The two had been dating since April and were traveling on weekends to see each other, despite busy work and school schedules.
“After about eight months of driving back and forth from Morgantown to Charleston, a position as senior retail communications consultant opened at Sprint in Charleston, so I took it,” said Camp.
A year later, the couple became engaged.
Both graduated in May 2006. Following graduation Camp worked for a medical device company as a territory manager, and Satterfield was employed by the Arnold Agency as a client service manager for the Subway account in Charleston.
In July, 2008, Satterfield began his new position as an after-sales marketing specialist with Audi America in their Herndon, Va., office.
While the couple’s story may be unusual, developing both personal and professional friendships is common among students enrolled in the IMC program. Despite the geographic distance among classmates, many students find that the online format allows for even more social networking connections than a traditional classroom.
“In a way, we really did meet online,” said Camp. “We made a lot of good friends through the program, too. I knew a lot of good things would come out of getting my IMC degree, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to find a husband.”
The happy couple married July 5, 2008, in Morgantown.