Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Elizabeth Fitzgerald is PCC’s Multimedia maven

Story by Christina Holmes.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald’s winding path to the Multimedia Program mirrors the journey many of her students take.

Fitzgerald didn’t exactly see a future in digital media when she graduated high school at a time when electric typewriters were all the rage.

A Washingtonian who grew up on a Clark County farm, traveled the world with her military husband, and later followed the Grateful Dead across the country. Once Jerry Garcia died, Fitzgerald and her husband John stopped traveling to the concerts. “So we cut our hair and got jobs,” she laughed.

It was after a layoff from the comfortable job she had in the paper industry in North Portland that Fitzgerald realized she needed a new career. “I remember driving across the Interstate Bridge and crying thinking about how we were going to pay the mortgage,” Fitzgerald recalled. “I was working on different safety committees in the community and I figured I could go to school to make safety videos for different companies. I did my research. PCC was the best place to go.”

Today Fitzgerald is chair of the Multimedia Program at the Cascade Campus in North Portland, the place where she earned her associate’s degree and the department she’s helped build into an award-winning program.

Today Fitzgerald is chair of the Multimedia Program at the Cascade Campus in North Portland, the place where she earned her associate’s degree and the department she’s helped build into an award-winning program.

At PCC she learned to film on three-quarter-inch tape. She was always in the lab whether she had classes or not, and started answering questions from her classmates when the instructors were busy. “I just never left,” she said.

Today Fitzgerald is chair of the Multimedia Program at the Cascade Campus in North Portland, the place where she earned her associate’s degree and the department she’s helped build into an award-winning program. Graduates typically find work as media artists, animators, art directors, graphic designers in electronic media, digital video editors, desktop publishers, web designers and specialists in mass media production.

Many PCC students and grads currently work or have worked on movie and television productions filmed in and around Portland such as “Grimm,” “Portlandia,” “Little People, Big World” and “Leverage.” They get hired by local multimedia and production companies such as Bent Image Lab, Second Story and Picture This, she said.

There are about 350 students in the program, a huge jump from the 50 students taking classes when Fitzgerald first arrived at PCC. The average age of students is 34, and they come from all walks of life and experience.

“PCC offers intimate class sizes, access to industry standard equipment and applications, and approachable instructors,” said Evan Applegate, 25, a current student who lives in Southeast Portland. “PCC has definitely helped prepare me for the industry with a comprehensive focus on technical and theoretical knowledge. There are a few things I’ve learned here that just are not studied anywhere else.”

In 2009, Fitzgerald spent a week in Hollywood as a fellow for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was the only fellow representing a community college, impressing her university counterparts with PCC’s well-regarded model.

“I tell our students that being perfect at something doesn’t get you the job,” Fitzgerald said. “What gets you a job is being able to diagnose a problem. You need these diagnostic tools in this global economy and you need to know how to execute a plan.”

For more information about the Multimedia Program, visit pcc.edu/programs/multimedia or call (971) 722-5398

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x by Melanie Montoya 1 year ago

Great work in all you do, Beth! The multimedia program is doing some great things.

x by Tanya Mead 1 year ago

Way to go Multimedia! Beth rocks!

x by Roberto Suarez 1 year ago

Great work, Beth! A shout out also to Michael Cleghorn, former PCC instructor who started the MM program and mentored Beth!

x by Michael Sturgill 1 year ago

congratulations Beth on your accomplishments! The multimedia department is lucky to have such a dedicated associated.

x by Collette Keele 1 year ago

As always, great work Beth!! You are amazing and PCC is so lucky to have you leading the multimedia department!

x by Devoy Peters 1 year ago

I just took the MM110 class this last weekend before spring term started, and I have learned so much already !!
Thank you Beth! I am looking forward to future Multimedia classes @ PCC Cascade.

x by Traci Simmons 1 year ago

You are the bees knees Beth! I am so happy to work with you and continue supporting students. You have a special way of mixing the technical with the practical, adding a bit of humor to teach skills that are necessary for anyone in this business. May the Multimedia program continue to flourish!!!

x by Iana Amauba 1 year ago

You’re awesome Beth and thanks so much for being such a great introduction to Multimedia program. It’s always great seeing you around!

x by Sonal Dhingra 1 year ago

Very well described. Beth is a great mentor.

x by John d. Fitzgerald 1 year ago

A long and winding path it was Elizabeth and you are so deserving of all you have accomplished and all that you have perservered through. Don’t stop now, enjoy the view, catch your breath and keep showing ’em what you are made of. Proud to be you Father (in-law.

x by Tara Foster 1 year ago

Mad props to Beth! Thanks for all you do at PCC!

x by Goutam Saha 1 year ago

Beth is totally great. She is one of my great teaches…..”I will forever be grateful to you.”

x by Paul Lyman 1 year ago

You are are huge inspiration, and a great person you made me feel comfortable coming back to school.

x by James E. Ross 1 year ago

Greetings from the city of lions.
In Ponce Puerto Rico, thank you Beth, I’m thankful for the blessing of PCC for my experience on the Cascade campus and look forward to great things in my very near future. My classmates and instructors have all made valuable contributions to my education.

Much love and respect from down on the Carribian Sea

x by James E. Ross 1 year ago

My directing class was all that and a bag of chips. Multi-media is quite challenging with a wide variety of classes to prepare the student to be the innovators in there chosen fields. Beth is one of us, with an outstanding team of instructors in her department. I’m sorry I’m not able to be there in person, I reside in Ponce, Puerto Rico and will be continuing my education at PCC online.

x by Lynn Oylear-Shields 1 year ago

How can I say thank you Beth, I remember when I came to multimedia “just to look around” never in a million years did I think I would be doing all the things I do today.

You have been such an inspiration, words cannot describe you- ” save, save save” LOL, or perhaps it can… you ROCK Beth much love.


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