This story is part of a series profiling leaders of SCA's student-run organizations.
What is the SCA Undergraduate Council and what is your role in the organization? The SCA Undergraduate Student Council aims to be the voice of the undergraduate students of SCA. The council endeavors to facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges among all SCA Undergraduate departments, as well as provide programming of special interest for the undergraduate students. The organization is also a protective body that endeavors to accurately represent the concerns and needs of SCA undergraduate students to the school’s administration. As the president of the organization, I am the primary contact for the council to the University, the liaison between the organization and the advisors, and represent the SCA undergraduate student body. Within administrating and leading the organization, my position also includes organizing meetings – both executive board and general open for all meetings – and overseeing the process of event planning.
What kinds of activities does your organization sponsor or support? The SCA Undergraduate Student Council is currently planning an interactive networking event with a goal to foster interdisciplinary communication between the multiple divisions of SCA, to showcase what makes each division special and to provide SCA students with a space for social gathering. In the general meetings and through the organization’s Facebook page, the council also shares information on upcoming SCA events or USC film-related events to help students to get more involved, to take advantage of what the University offers and to meet new people.
What are you, personally, studying and how has being involved with the SCA Undergraduate Council, enhanced your studies? Within the division of Cinema and Media Studies, I am interested in studying celebrity and feminist theories, as well as analyzing how these theories apply to new media and its effect in our culture. As the Cinema and Media Studies division requires a lot of readings and written assignments, being involved with the SCA Undergraduate Council has helped me become a more organized student, and better at managing my time wisely and focusing on priorities. It has also enhanced my studies by giving me the opportunity to meet people from all divisions at SCA, which constantly opens my eyes to different ways of exploring new media and exposes me to different opinions about the topics that I am interested in studying.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program? Cinema and Media Studies is the perfect program to explore new ideas about film, television, and new media, and to grow your mind. As an incoming student, knowing what topics interest you the most or having an idea of what you want to do for a career might help you to get you started, but the most important thing is when coming into SCA is to come with an open mind. This program offers countless opportunities to grow and to find yourself, so do not limit your options. SCA is unique because everyone in it has great ideas to share, thus, explore your mind and do not be shy about sharing your thoughts. Just be yourself and expand your mind.
How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you, so far, for a career in your discipline? One of my dreams is to do research and become a professor and SCA has helped me prepare for this career by not only allowing me to explore as many areas of study as I want but also by supporting and guiding my ideas. SCA’s incredible faculty is always available to assist in expanding on class material; they have helped me find my interests and are always encouraging and guiding me to become a better critical thinker. I could not have asked for better mentors!
What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? My biggest challenges at USC have been time management and figuring out what I want to focus on to help my career. There are so many opportunities for getting involved at USC that it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost. However, it was by attending as many events as I could, scheduling office hours appointments with faculty, and getting involved with multiple student organizations that I was able to find the path that I wanted to take at USC. At first, it was very challenging to stay organized and follow a schedule to balance my studies and extracurricular activities, especially because I am a transfer student, but as getting to know and working with other students is a big part of SCA, I learned a lot from the experiences of older students that helped and still help me today.
What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? What gives me a unique point of view at USC is my background. I come from a small town in Brazil where cinematic arts are not commonly thought of as an area of study. In the environment that I grew up in, cinema was not questioned and was not considered art; it was the main form of entertainment there and it shaped the culture and values embedded in the town. Since I was very young I was passionate about experimenting with moving images. I started by filming my feet with an old digital camera at age 9 and haven’t stopped exploring film since then. Interested in cinema in a small town, I developed an appreciation for it and a unique perspective of film as art and cultural agent. By experiencing the effects of the predominant American cinema in a secluded part of the world, I am now able to look at film, television, and other media critically through a unique perspective that combines cultures, and from the outside. It is rare for people from my town to study abroad, so I feel very blessed to be in the best film school in the world. I actually applied to SCA as a freshman and did not get in, but I did not let that stop me. That experience made me grow and value hard work and education, and it was my desire to grow my mind, to explore new ideas and to learn more, which still inspires and motivates me today, that brought me to USC as a transfer student.
What personal projects have you worked on and/or are currently working on either with the SCA Undergraduate Council, or on your own? With the SCA Undergraduate Council, I am currently working on planning an interactive networking event for the SCA undergraduate student body and on starting a conversation about students’ concerns during our monthly general meetings. As for personal projects, I am working on developing a research about celebrity culture on YouTube as well as creating a short musical film with original music, experimenting with innovative ways of using new technology to explore consumerism and popular culture creatively.
Some of my previous creative work is available on my website http://www.raphaelrosalen.com.