April 12-13, 2015

The annual Freelance-A-Thon each spring provides advice and resources to students interested in career options that help put them in control of what they do with their communications skills.

Register for Freelance-A-Thon

Along with a series of events, this year's includes two featured presenters:

  • Cindy Ross (2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12 / Carnegie Cinema)
    Cindy RossAn author, blogger, illustrator and, most importantly, traveler, Ross has written six books. Her most recent, "Scraping Heaven -- A Family's Journey Along the Continental Divide" (McGraw-Hill) is the rousing adventure of a family's incredible five-summer, 3,100-mile trek over the rooftop of North America. She blogs at online.
    Along with publishing six books, Ross has written more than 500 magazine articles for magazines such as Backpacker, Paddler, Outdoor Life, Outside and many more. Her travel stories have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, among many others.
    She lives along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania with her husband Todd, their daughter Sierra, 22, and their son Bryce, 20, in a log home they built themselves fom raw trees. They grow much of their on food on their rural property.
  • Jill Knight (3:45 p.m. Sunday, April 12 / Carnegie Cinema)
    Jill KnightA staff photographer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., Knight has also freelanced long-term documentary photo essays to various publications and runs her own destination wedding photography business. Prior to being hired by The News & Observer, Jill completed interships at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Charlotte Observer. She was named the 2013 North Carolina Student Photographer of the Year by the North Carolina Press Photographers Association.
    In 2013, two of Knight's long-term photo essays, "Special Delivery" and "Duty, Honor, Gay Marriage," appeared on the New York Times Lens Blog. "Special Delivery" was later published in Marie Claire Australia and the Penn Stater alumni magazine. It also placed first in the National Heart Journalism Awards Photo Essay category.
    Knight has worked as a freelance photographer for Polaris Images, ZUMA, the Centre Daily Times, the York Dispatch, the Fayetteville Observer and as a student contributor to Penn State’s CommMedia.
    When she is not taking photos, Knight enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time outdoors with her husband and dogs.

Full Freelance-A-Thon Schedule 

SUNDAY, APRIL 12 - Carnegie Building

  • 2 p.m., Registration (Lobby)
  • 2:30 p.m., Keynote I: “The Life of a Freelance Travel Writer ... the REST of the Story” -- Cindy Ross (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 3:15 p.m., Break, Door Prize Drawing (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 3:30 p.m., Keynote II: “Jillography: How I Got My Start” -- Jill Knight (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 4:15 p.m., Break, Door Prize Drawing (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 4:30 p.m., New Leaf Initiative -- Galen Bernard (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 4:30 p.m., Hands-On Workshop: Start Freelancing Today on ODesk -- Ebony Martin (19 Carnegie)
  • 4:30 p.m., Film and Video Freelancing -- Anita Gabrosek, Richie Sherman (24 Carnegie)
  • 5:30 p.m., Pizza, Door Prize Drawing (Lobby)
  • 6 p.m., Business and Legal Matters for Freelancers -- John Beale,Curt Chandler, Linda Feltman, Jill Knight, Rex Martin (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 6 p.m., A Day in the Life -- Tara Caimi, Deb Norloff, Cindy Ross, Cindy Simmons (24 Carnegie)
  • 7 p.m., Break, Door Prize Drawing (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 7:15 p.m., I Graduated. Now What? – Dave Cole, Ebony Martin, Eric Zimmett (3 Carnegie)
  • 7:15 p.m., Pitch Clinic for Writers and Filmmakers -- Pearl Gluck, Pam Monk (24 Carnegie)

MONDAY, APRIL 13 - Carnegie Building

  • 3:30 p.m., Online Branding for Freelancing -- Marcia DiStaso, Will Yurman (121 Carnegie)
  • 6 p.m., “How To Freelance: Preparation, Promotion, Process” (on freelancing in design and advertising) -- Joe Radding (Carnegie Cinema)
  • 6:35 p.m., Hands-on Workshop: Start Freelancing Today on ODesk -- Ebony Martin (206 Carnegie)
  • 6:35 p.m., A Freelancer's Guide: How to Find Information and Build Contacts -- Jeff Knapp (8 Carnegie)
  • 6:35 p.m., Freelancing in Graphic Design & Video Gaming -- Rex Martin and Garrett Weinzierl (24 Carnegie Building.) 


Registration: In the lobby during scheduled breaks.
Door Prizes: Obtain a ticket, fill it out, keep your stub and put the other half in the box. Drawings for door prizes will occur during breaks. You must be present to win.
Attendance Receipts: Your door prize ticket stub is your attendance receipt.


Register for Freelance-A-Thon

The Freelance-A-Thon is part of Penn State Start-Up Week ( with support from the College of Communications, ENTI, Sage Publishing and the Graphic Arts Guild.

In addition, faculty members and communications professionals have recommended a variety of technological skills that all students should be able to harness as they enter the professional world. Those areas of emphasis and links to tutorials for each are below.

Multimedia, Technology Readiness Skills

Analytics: Google Analytics

Audio Editing: Audacity, Hindenburg

Coding (Javascript, HTML/CSS, Ruby): Code Academy


Productivity Apps: Evernote, Eventbrite, Salesforce

Video Editing (Premiere):




Page last updated: April 10, 2015