Every semester, one student from each HECUA program takes on the role of student blogger, sending regular dispatches from the field. Syd Stratman will be HECUA’s student blogger for the Making Media, Making Change program this spring semester. Syd is a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Studies in Cinema and Media Culture and minoring in Art. Syd completed the Making Media, Making Change program in the fall, and then chose to enroll in the program’s optional credit-earning internship component this spring. For more information about Making Media, Making Change and how internships for this program are structured, click here. Read on for Syd’s final reflections.
My internship at the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) has come to an end. It was a wonderful experience and I’ve grown so much over the past four months. Through SPNN and the structure of HECUA’s internship I feel better prepared to enter the Twin Cities job market.
While working at SPNN I was able to network with the media makers in my community and become a part of the surrounding community in general. When it comes to media-making, the more people you know, the easier it is to get work. Working in community productions also allowed me to build my portfolio, which I am using to apply for jobs. With the internship projects provided by HECUA I was also able to prepare for post-graduation life. I made a demo reel to show off my editing skills and the projects I worked on. This video is essential to getting work in video production.
I was also able to visit Springboard for the Arts. Springboard for the Arts is a great organization that helps with the logistical and business side of being a working artist. Meeting the people who work for Springboard and learning about what they do helped me feel more confident because I know that I can go to them to help me with things like creating my own business, getting health insurance, and working on grants. Another project I completed for HECUA was an informational interview with Line Break Media. Talking to Eleonore Wesserle about working with communities that you are not a part of and how to make a living with an ethical media practice was a valuable conversation. I’ve talked to people at SPNN about this topic but it was interesting to see how media makers outside of community media work with different groups of people.
Outside professional and technical development I also grew as a person. Working with SPNN for an entire semester allowed me to cultivate connections with the staff and the community members with whom they work. I am so grateful for the friends and mentors I made at SPNN. They helped challenge me, helped me when my personal life was unstable and encouraged me to take care of myself. It can be difficult to join new communities as an adult but SPNN was very welcoming and it quickly felt like a second home. The HECUA reflection assignments allowed me to take a step back and think about how much I’ve grown and helped keep my enthusiasm up while going through the program. The HECUA staff are incredibly encouraging and with the SPNN staff helped me achieve the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the semester.
Taking HECUA’s Making Media Making Change (MMMC) program and following it with the optional internship was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my academic career. The HECUA and SPNN community is supportive and this experience has prepared me for my post–graduation life more than a traditional class or internship ever could. The hands-on learning of HECUA’s MMMC program has been invaluable as a media maker. I am also really excited to continue to partner with SPNN. I will continue my relationship with SPNN as a member, volunteer and working on freelance projects. If anyone is contemplating the program and is on the fence, do it. Jump into the deep end. I promise you won’t regret it.