With graduation on the horizon, Park Scholar seniors reflect on their time at IC
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Posted on behalf of Daniel Sitts '12
When I was younger, I always loved rearranging my room. If it stayed the same for more than a few months I got bored and wanted to mix things up. I would shove my bed closer to the window, get rid of a bedside table, take the bookshelf off my desk. I remember taking comfort in the constant change and the need to reacquaint myself with my surroundings. Now, as my time at Ithaca College and in the Park Scholar Program comes to a close, I have had to recall that comfort and remind myself that things will be okay. That I’m just shuffling around my furniture.
Luckily, I have been able to keep myself distracted with two projects that are incredibly meaningful to me. By the end of the year, I will have completed a thesis film for my major in Cinema & Photography and a capstone project for my minor in African Diaspora Studies. They are the culmination of so much of what I have learned in the past four years and a dedication to continue these passions in the future.
My thesis documentary is a very personal look at the possibilities of queer family. Throughout production I worked with other students I deeply respect and had the opportunity to meet an amazing and inspirational family.
Because this was my first documentary project, I was apprehensive. I sent an email to Park Scholar alum Jeremy Levine (I had interned with his company Transient Pictures in the summer of 2010), who quickly answered my questions and helped alleviate a lot of my fears. It was comforting to recognize the community of Park Scholars and filmmakers who are ready and willing to offer support. While it may be a number of years before I feel like I have useful advice to offer, I look forward to joining in on that conversation. My time in the Park Scholar Program taught me to be deeply connected to my work and to use communications to make a lasting impact on my community. I feel a very strong connection to this film and gratitude for the people, many of whom I met through the Park Scholar program, who helped me find the confidence to make it.
When I wasn’t working on my thesis film, I was helping carry out a research project on the Martin Luther King Scholars Program with other students in the Center for the Study of Race, Culture and Ethnicity (CSCRE) Capstone Course. The workload in this class was significant, but the camaraderie among the students and the professor, all of whom share a passion for the CSCRE, kept me on track. My individual research focused primarily on the factors contributing to the academic and social success of students of color at institutions of higher education. Along with other students in the course, I also conducted, transcribed and analyzed interviews with Martin Luther King Scholars about their experiences in the program and on campus. Ultimately, we will write up our findings in a data analysis report as our final project.
Hearing these interviews highlighted the importance of interaction with other people in one’s own community and the importance of listening, not just speaking, in the field of communications.
Both of these projects have consumed most of my free time these past few months. They will be among the most salient and transformative memories as I look back on my time in Ithaca and the Park Scholar Program.
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