My Unsolicited Advice to the Class of 2017

It’s hard to believe that it was ten years ago that I stepped onto the Salem State College (now Salem State University)  campus as a freshmen. I honestly went into that first year with no idea who I was, what I was doing, or where I was going. It took that entire year to being to put the pieces together and it was the end of the year I learned the secret to success in college and beyond:

Get involved!

My first real involvement on campus was when I auditioned for Human Action Theatre. Being an English major it was a bit of a long-shot but the director took a chance on me and sure enough I found myself on stage for the 2004 orientation. It was a thrill.humanaction09

From there I joined the, now disbanded, Students’ Works Theatre Project, an independent theatre group that gave opportunities to students to write, direct and perform 10-minute plays. It was a chance to stretch my wings and get to know people on campus.

I had found myself a niche in the theatre world and even began taking classes in the department. This lead to my applying to direct the 2005 Human Action Theatre (a position I held until my last summer at Salem State in 2009) while serving as assistant director for Summer Theatre’s Return to the Forbidden Planet.

From one simple audition, my entire world was changed.

Following my summer being immersed in the theatrical world I added on a second major- theatre. This found me in a whole new world and soon I was the publicist for the Student Theatre Ensemble.

At this point I must also caution against limiting yourself to just one area of involvement. While the theatre world at SSC was great, there was a world beyond that. Thankfully, because of my involvement with orientation and Human Action Theatre, I had made a lot of connections in the Student Government,  Student Commuter Association, and more.

These connections lead me into a new world with the residence halls as I signed on to become and academic mentor in the freshmen hall and a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. My position in the hall gave me the unique opportunity to get the underclassmen involved as I was constantly chatting with them and letting them know about events on campus.

My final year at Salem State proved to be one of the busiest as a was elected into the Public Relations position for Program Council, a group responsible for some of the biggest events on campus. It was a crazy and amazing time and though there were a lot of long nights, close calls on getting assignments in and very little free time, I regret none of it. My schedule was always full but for all the right reasons.

I am deeply indebted to Bruce Perry and Becky Jimenez in the campus center for all the opportunities they gave me. If you are looking to get involved and don’t know where to start, these are certainly the people to talk to. They believed in me, helped me learn to push beyond my limits, and turned me into a leader. I can’t leave out Jeff Smith and Helene Collins who put up with so much from me and were great shoulders to lean on.

I can’t promise that your college experience will be the same as mine but I can promise that if you go through the next four years without checking out what is going on beyond the classroom, you will regret it. During my time at Salem State my professors taught me a lot about the world, getting involved on campus taught me a lot about life.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit

You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.

Pictured Above: The 2009 Cast of Human Action Theatre. Photo Courtesy of Stu Grieve.

Where Did the Summer Go?

It was just two months ago that I was joining so many in welcoming the warm weather to Boston and making such wonderful plans for the summer. It was also at this time that I was looking forward to the fall. I began my weekly visit to a local Starbucks to begin writing my first book and working on my all new blog.

Now I find myself reaching for a light jacket in the morning and enjoying the lack of humidity that can only mean one thing, fall is coming.

I have to admit that 95% of the things I wanted to get done in the last two months still remain on my to-do list. I never made it to Six Flags this summer which is kind of disappointing. On the plus side, next week I head down south for some pretty fun events like my sister getting married and a mini-vacation at Disney World. I guess I can’t complain.

Today, I put the summer behind me and continue to looking forward at what the fall has to offer! My calendar is starting to fill with amazing new opportunities. I will be returning to Hawaii to meet with students and parents, visiting states I have never been to before, and so much more. To see where I’m going, check out my Tour Page. More dates are being added every day and I can’t wait to see where this year takes me.Josh Gunderson20130225_013

I am also welcoming some new programs into my repertoire. Early this year I introduced “Your Digital Life” a much needed update to my “Hooked on Facebook” program. In addition, I have developed all new workshops and programs for Parents and Educators.

For Parents I have “Breaking Down Digital Walls“, a look at what parents should know about the world of social networking and how to raise the best digital citizens possible. For educators I have “Social Networking in the Classroom” based on my blog series of the same name. The workshop helps educators learn to work with social networking in schools to better educate students on creating a positive digital footprint and creating more engaged learners.

I will also be continuing my blogging along with the help of occasional contributors. Blogging over the past two months has been nothing short of amazing. Since my first post in June, my blog has been viewed in 49 countries by thousands of readers! Knowing that I have been able to impact so many with what I write is rewarding in ways I can’t even begin to describe!

I look forward to sharing my insights and adventures in the near future.

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Thank you so much for reading!


Josh Gunderson is an award-winning speaker specializing in Internet Safety and Cyberbullying. For more information on Josh and his educational programs please visit

It’s Never Too Soon To Plan!

Last week I talked about how I’m already thinking about the fall and it’s totally true on a number of levels! A lot of work goes into putting together not only educational programs but all the traveling that comes along with it! Now, I’m not workaholic, but I’m a realist- THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS COMING! While I encourage all to relax and take in the sun, I also want you to start thinking about fall programming!

Having spent some of my time in college on the program planning board, I know how stressful planning events can be! My goal as a speaker has always been to provide the most stress free process possible- from the first e-mail to the final bow. Enough about me, here are some things that I hope will help you plan your upcoming fall events!


My Calendar Fills As Fast As Yours!
Don’t be fooled by my tour calendar! Behind the scenes I am working with school administrators and organizations to plan and schedule events. Get in touch sooner rather than later to get the ball rolling on your event! Have the perfect date in mind? Let me know and I’ll place a hold on it. These holds are left in place for up to two weeks while you finalize details! After that, all you need to secure the event date is a signed contract confirming the event!

Work Together To Save!
One of the biggest costs when it comes to booking assemblies comes from the travel fees. Speakers do the best they can to travel as cheap as possible but we can only do so much when it comes to travelling to certain areas of the country. One thing I always recommend is communicating with other schools within your district as well as surrounding districts to book programs together. This is why planning ahead is key! The sooner you have a date in mind, the sooner you can plant the seed in the minds of your fellow educators. If you are able to work together to book multiple programs in the same time frame, you’ll see your costs decrease!

Get Creative With Funding!
There are two mindsets when it comes to the world of speaking- you can charge more and work less or work more and charge less. I’m in the charge less category. I love to be on the road, educating as many students as possible. That in mind, there are still costs involved (see above re: Travel)! There are many ways to secure funding for educational programs! Rather than typing them all out here, you can visit the Tips for Funding Your Assembly page of my web site for all sorts of ideas!

Let’s Talk About #3
Now that you’ve checked out my Tips for Funding Your Assembly, let’s talk about number three on that list. You wouldn’t believe the number of Awareness Events/Months there are! September alone is Back to School Month, Campus Safety Month and hosts Suicide Prevention Week. There are a number of ways to create something more out of your assembly experience. Please feel free to take a look at the 2013 Prevention Programming Planning Calendar on my web site for ideas!

Let’s Work Together
My job is not only to provide you with the best assembly/workshop possible, but to make sure that it is everything that you hoped for and more! I mentioned it before, I am a veteran of event-planning and I want to help make yours the best is can be! Whether you’re looking for just a simple assembly or hoping to create a weeklong event for your school, let’s work together! Please feel free to e-mail ( me at anytime to get started!

Until next time,

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning speaker specializing in Internet Safety and Cyberbullying. For more information on Josh and his educational programs please visit

Hello Summer! Time to Start Thinking About The Fall…

Hello Summer! Time to Start Thinking About The Fall…   

If I ignore last week’s heat wave in Boston, I’m pretty excited that summer is here. With the weather finally under control kids and educators alike are counting down the days to freedom (some of you are already free but we’ve had an INSANE number of snow days this year). While most are thinking about how to spend the lazy days of summer, I’m already thinking about the fall.


The first step in gearing up for the new year is getting an all new planner! Out with the old and in with the new. It’s a bit sad how excited I am to starting filling this up with all new adventures!

I’m really excited for what the 2013-2014 school year has to offer. This fall marks the beginning of my fifth year of touring around the country talking with students and educators about issues surrounding social media. Wow, just typing that blows my mind! I can’t believe it! It seems like yesterday that I was stuffing envelopes and mailing postcards all while hoping for the best! I couldn’t have predicted how amazing this journey has been. And it’s only beginning.

For the 2013-2014 school year I’m doing more than ever. For the first time since I started touring I am creating all new programs for students, educators and parents. During this past year I said good-bye to “Hooked on Facebook” and welcomed “Your Digital Life” into my repertoire. While this new program holds true to many things discussed in its predecessor, all new topics are addressed including SnapChat, Instagram and so much more. Even I have to acknowledge that Facebook is falling out of favor with students today!

In addition to “Your Digital Life” I am adding some all new assembly programs into the mix. Much like my previous work, these programs are designed as a framework and allow for full customization to make for the best experience possible for students and educators alike. These programs include: “Digital Breadcrumbs” (for middle and high school students) a lesson on what it means to leave behind a digital footprint and what it means to your future.

In preparation for the upcoming conference season all new workshops have been created and added into the mix! I am a big fan of large audience presentations but nothing beats the one-on-one feel of a workshop. I love teaching! For high school and middle schools students we have “Your Digital Resume” and “I’m Going Viral” two programs developed to get attendees to ask themselves some serious questions about what it means to be a digital citizen as well as the pros and cons of the digital world.

I could keep going (and I just might in next week’s entry) but I’m going to leave it there.

So, even though I am hanging out at Starbucks rocking shorts and a t-shirt, soaking up as much Vitamin D as possible, I’m working hard for the upcoming school year. I have a lot of pretty awesome updates coming in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled. I also encourage people’s input on what kind of programs you’d like to see in the next school year! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail at anytime at info@joshgunderson!

Until next time,


Josh Gunderson is an award-winning speaker specializing in Internet Safety and Cyberbullying. For more information on Josh and his educational programs please visit