Yeager provides learning opportunities



Brianna Schreurs, Editor-in-Chief

This story was sponsored by Yeager Media Center.

When Luke Cardona started working with Lowell Haag and Brian Stemwedel, he expected to gain knowledge on television production. And he did, but he also gained mentorship.

 Cardona was a 2011 SDSU alumnus in journalism and mass communications who started working with the two on a show “On Call with the Prairie Doc” which is now on its 17th season. At the time, the show was produced in the then Ag-Bio Communications Unit.

 Since graduating, Cardona has worked multiple jobs and has consulted Haag on every single one of them. Currently, Cardona is the marketing communications director for the town Fridley, Minnesota.

 “I don’t think it’s common that 10-11 years later that I am using the same reference,” he said. “Every single one of my bosses has called Lowell [Haag].”

 A key component of Yeager Media Center is its students. The studio offers journalism students a space to get hands-on, real-world experience in the field.

 Together, Stemwedel and Haag have worked in production for decades. Stemwedel, a 1996 alumnus and current assistant director at Yeager, learned from Haag, now media center coordinator, first-hand when working at the then Ag – Bio Communications Unit.

 “Lowell and I used to have post-show critique meetings and talk about how we could do things better,” Stemwedel said. “Lowell’s a great director because he’s been through it all. His ability to remain calm and continue with the best path forward is huge.”

 Cardona agrees. One of the most valuable things he learned from working as a production assistant is how to be patient and teamwork. Right now, Yeager employs 10 students to help with the production of “On Call with the Prairie Doc.” Production assistants learn how to shoot, interview and produce a live television show that’s all essential for making the show happen. 

 Stemwedel has worked with about 100 production assistants in his time at SDSU and is proud to see where they’ve gone.

 “I love working with students because they keep everything fun, young and exciting,” Stemwedel said. “It’s fun to help them learn about production and see where they go after they get out of here.”

 Dylan Monson, a 2018 alumnus, worked at Yeager Media Center throughout his entire college career. Now he works in videographer and multimedia coordinator at Daktronics and runs his own videography business.

 “I’ve picked up so many skills working in different positions on a live television show. You learn a lot through hands-on work, in a real studio environment, and with professional staff,” he said.

 Working at Yeager sets students up for success. Whether students go into journalism or beyond, they are ready because they’ve been mentored well.

 “Everything I’ve learned, I’ve used,” Cardona said. “It’s tough because not a lot of majors get out of college with hands-on experience and not everyone gets to have a person to vouch for you as they’ve vouched for me.”

The student opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Healing Words Foundation and Rick Holm, the host of “On Call with the Prairie Doc.” The foundation values student involvement and tries to involve students in as many aspects of the foundation’s activities as possible.