As a MA+P student, what is your primary interest and how has the School of Cinematic Arts (and the Division) helped to shape that interest? My goal is to use the power of storytelling to create an impact on the world. The cinematic arts courses I’ve taken have helped me realize the power of messaging. Whether the particular content leaves me smiling or crying, empowered or hopeless, media messages allow me to feel in a way that other forms of communication do not. I internalize these messages, making them impossible to forget.
I believe that one cannot fully understand the world without being digitally literate: being able to analyze content from its creation, execution, and impact on different audiences. SCA has given me a broad look into so many types of digital tools and areas that can be used for storytelling, such as HTML/CSS, Processing, Arduino, virtual reality, augmented reality, and more. The MA+P program gives me a comprehensive understanding of the power of media arts as well as the opportunity to create content that communicates ideas effectively—a skill that is essential to success and can change the world.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying for MA+P? My advice is to talk to as many people as you can that are involved in the program and really get to know all that you can about the requirements for the Degree including the combination of general education courses and the courses offered specifically in the MA+P program. What is particularly exciting for me about the program is that (1) all of my professors are not only experts in the field, but are still active in their respective disciplines teaching us both theory and best practice, and (2) the curriculum taught in this program is varied, interesting and unique. Be sure to look at the list of courses that you would take as well as sample projects created by students in the major to get a comprehensive view of what you have to look forward to.
How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in your discipline? I am honored to say that I had the opportunity to attend the best cinema school in the country, with the most qualified faculty and the most intelligent and creative students that I have ever met. I am confident that I will enter the working world prepared, passionate about making a positive impact, not only for the company I work for, but for the world. When I first looked into this major I was particularly excited about the subject matter as it complemented my passion to use technology to give others a voice. Upon entering this major, what I quickly learned was that the knowledge, skills, and abilities learned could be applied to a variety of different types of jobs. At first, the career possibilities seemed endless—and, in fact, a little overwhelming—but through my own research and personal development, I was able to narrow down my options into areas that would be the best fit for me.
Through my involvements at USC, I recently had the amazing opportunity to apply for a BOLD internship at Google and was hired for my dream position with the Associate Product Marketing Management team. During the interview process, I asked one of the interviewers what specific suggestions she had for me so that I could better prepare myself for work in the technology industry. Her response was that “you have already done what you need to do; you have not only gained a breadth and depth of knowledge in this field, but also have a deep understanding of the language used by not only the engineers and salespeople that you will be working side by side with but with the clients as well.” The interviewer’s response to my question, and the fact that I secured a very competitive position with Google, reinforced for me that I am well prepared for what’s ahead in my professional career.
What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? Finding balance has by far been my biggest challenge while at USC. The things that I liked about USC when deciding to enroll here also became my biggest challenge, but contributed to my biggest accomplishments in and out of the classroom. I love that USC has numerous majors and minors and that you can design an academic program that meets your individual interests/needs. Along with my Media Arts + Practice major, I am minoring in Web Technology and Applications in the Viterbi School of Engineering, though there were so many other programs that I was interested in being a part of as well. However, even though I am constantly trying to figure out how I can be exposed to and learn more, there just aren’t enough hours in the day and days in the week to study everything I would have liked to study while attending USC.
At the same time, I believe that it is important to give back to your school and get involved to make the most of your educational experience. From the second I stepped foot on campus as a freshman I researched the over 900 clubs/organizations on campus and which ones that I wanted to be a part of and ended up trying everything I was interested in and/or possibly could do. That worked for me in the beginning of my USC journey, but when I was elected Vice President of Undergraduate Student Government (USG) I had to make choices because I knew I couldn’t possibly continue to do everything that I was doing and be an effective undergraduate student leader. I knew I had to cut back, but it was so hard for me to do that as I thoroughly enjoyed everything I was doing, developed true friendships with those that had similar interests, and just didn’t want to let anything go. Instead of completely letting go of activities, I was able to find balance by figuring out which activities required me to serve in a leadership role and which activities I could serve in more of a support role.
Now, finishing up my junior year, I again need to find balance going into my senior year. There are more and more opportunities being offered to me outside of USC, but at the same time I know that I only have one more year at USC to do everything I want to do at both in and out of the classroom. My advice to myself and others is to “fight on,” get involved, make choices that work for you, and know that one way or another it will all work out in the end.
What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? I believe that my diverse background and upbringing have given me both my inspiration and unique point of view that I bring to USC to make a difference. My father is a Black Baptist Jamaican (now having dual citizenship in Jamaica/America) while my mother is a Caucasian, Jewish, American. My father grew up in a lower class community and came to America looking for opportunity, worked hard to earn an AA Degree, and currently works for a technology company as a software engineer. My mother grew up in a middle-upper class community, earned her MBA Degree, and currently works in education as an Advancement Director. I like to think that I make up the best of all worlds and credit my background and upbringing for instilling in me the importance of acceptance and inclusion, the responsibility to help others whenever possible, and a deep appreciation for being given the opportunity to attend college. As a result, I am determined to make a difference at USC, in the School of Cinematic Arts, and for the larger community as well. Currently, as Vice President for USG and Program Manager for Late Night ‘SC, I work to improve the student experience for all undergraduate students. In the School of Cinematic Arts, I serve as a role model and mentor, encouraging all students that regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and economic status, to reach for their dreams because with opportunity, hard work and determination, anything is possible. And, in the larger community, I am passionate about volunteering my time with Best Buddies and the Miss Amazing Pageant to support people with disabilities in order to help others build their self esteem, expanding opportunities and encouraging independence for them whenever possible.