July 23, 2024

Summer Humanities Institute Preps Students for Life After Mary Wash

[caption id="attachment_239694" align="alignright" width="300"]From left to right: UMW students Stephen McClanahan, Rob Willcox and Katie Reif adjust lighting and camera equipment. With their mentor, Assistant Professor of Communication and Digital Studies J.D. Swerzenski, the trio conducted interviews, scouted locations, got familiar with equipment and the editing process, and honed other skills. The five-week filmmaking session was part of UMW’s Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Institute. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi. From left to right: UMW students Stephen McClanahan, Rob Willcox and Katie Reif adjust lighting and camera equipment. With their mentor, Assistant Professor of Communication and Digital Studies J.D. Swerzenski, the trio conducted interviews, scouted locations, got familiar with equipment and the editing process, and honed other skills. The five-week filmmaking session was part of UMW’s Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Institute. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.[/caption] University of Mary Washington senior Stephen McClanahan spent five weeks this summer practicing filmmaking. A psychology major, he saw the session as the next step in carving out the career he’s hoping to build. “It’s an incredible opportunity to have access to this technology the university offers while also getting hands-on experience with filming and editing footage,” said Rob Willcox, an anthropology and theatre major who also took part in the video project. Led by Assistant Professor of Communication and Digital Studies J.D. Swerzenski, the summer filmmaking course – packed with interviews, location scouting, lighting set-up, editing and more – was part of UMW’s Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Institute (AHSSSI). The collection of immersive hands-on learning experiences, designed to give students real-world expertise they can add to their résumés, also included psychology, environmental sociology and 3-D design work, all done side-by-side with faculty mentors. “Lots of universities offer research opportunities to students, only to have them end up doing menial work. That isn’t what happened this summer,” Tobias Conner, a senior psychology major who plans to pursue a Ph.D., said of AHSSSI, for which students receive free room and board, as well as a paycheck. “We were doing real research every step of the way, from researching our primary sources in week one, to building the study, running participants, and assessing data by the end.” Read more.