By: Hailey Temple

Recent School of Information Studies (iSchool) graduate Jillian D’Onfro '12 is combining her love of technology and storytelling to create a documentary series that chronicles the anthropogenic impacts on fishing communities across the country.

D’Onfro, who earned a dual degree in information management and technology and magazine journalism, is teaming up with friend and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry graduate Cody Dieterle, whose studies focused on aquatic ecosystems. By combining their skills and passions, D’Onfro hopes to reveal the stories behind suffering fishing communities and show the faces of those affected by these changes.

“Fishing has been a big part of both of our lives, so we wanted to do something we are passionate about together. We ultimately hope to share the story of these fishermen and hope to spread awareness to make change,” said D’Onfro.

Once D’Onfro and Dierterle agreed to the project, titled “Reel Impacts,” they posted the proposal on Kickstarter to seek funding and support. Although D’Onfro notes that funding trickled in slowly at first, they were able to get 56 backers during the 15-day funding period. Although they only asked for $3,000 to support transportation and video equipment, D’Onfro collected more than $3,300 for their efforts.

“We had seen other Syracuse students use Kickstarter to successfully fund their projects and decided to give it a try. Although we were a bit nervous to start, we are excited that we exceeded our goal. It shows us that people are excited about our project,” said D’Onfro.

By filming the documentary series, D’Onfro has the opportunity to combine skills from her dual degree with her interests. “It’s great to be able to use my journalism skills with techniques I learned at the iSchool to raise awareness about this issue. I would have never known Kickstarter existed had we not discussed its benefits in class. By taking Social Media and the Enterprise, I also learned different ways to use social media and connect with others. Thanks to Syracuse I feel very prepared for this project.”