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What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Since graduation in August 2013, I spent a year running my own production company, creating videos and photography for a variety of Michigan clients. I worked on everything from promotional documentaries to portrait photography to music videos. Then, in September 2014, I moved to Oakland, California to take an internship with Fleishman-Hillard, a public relations agency, in their San Francisco office. I now work at Fleishman-Hillard full time, creating videos, photography, and motion graphics pieces for a variety of clients.
How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
I think the biggest things that RCAH taught me were communication skills. In RCAH, you're often working across disciplines and with a diverse group of people, and it's crucial that you're able to communicate effectively regardless of who you're working with. In my post-grad work, I've had to wear many different hats and work with all kinds of people in various roles. To do so, I've need to be able to think quickly and communicate effectively, and RCAH definitely set me up with the tools to do that.
What were your academic interests in RCAH?
Much of my focus at RCAH was related to visual communication. I'm interested in how people can use technologies like video and photography to communicate to a wider audience, and in particular how they can use those tools to educate that audience. As those technologies, along with things like comics, printmaking, and music, became more and more accessible, and it becomes easier to distribute the work you make online, I think it's important to understand how we can most effectively use all those tools, particularly in relation to activism. Outside of RCAH, I also pursued a specialization in documentary studies, honing my knowledge in skills in documentary film production.
What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
I loved the closeness I felt with my community in RCAH. I loved that I could have an engaging conversation at any moment with a professor or a student, regardless of how well we knew each other beforehand. It's a community that is just really engaged and interested in the world around them, and can always bring a new perspective to something you've been thinking about. I also loved the close relationships I was able to develop with professors and staff members. That mentorship was absolutely invaluable personally and professionally.
Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
I did study abroad at MSU, I traveled to Israel in the summer of 2013 with Eric Aronoff for the "Nature and Culture in a Green Israel" program. It was an amazing experience, absolutely one of my best college experiences.
What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
I think it's really important to spend time developing close relationships with the people around you while in RCAH. The people that I met while in RCAH have been instrumental in getting me to where I am today, whether it be introducing me to someone I could work with or just providing me with advice and guidance on what my next step should be. It's definitely worth it to take the extra step to get to know someone better, you never know when that connection might lead you to an incredible opportunity.