Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
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Fairy tales are woven around nuggets of wisdom or truth. When Christina Bryant crafted a fairy tale during her senior year at Ithaca College, she folded in themes that explore her own revelations in life.
Jemila’s Tale is a 10-minute short that Christina wrote, directed, and edited as her senior thesis in the cinema and photography program. It’s about a 6-year-old girl who creates her own fairy tales after her local library runs out of the genre, and it explores themes of identity and ethnic representation through Jemila’s imagination.
“I was inspired to write the short after I'd finished a documentary about black Barbie dolls,” Christina says. “I thought about what it would look like if a young black [girl] created her own images of herself in places she felt excluded, like fairy tales for example.”
Those projects came together after Christina hit her stride as a film student, which she says happened during her last two years at IC. “Once you know the films you want to make, or you know you want to work with a camera, or you want to write, or do production design, your path becomes clear,” Christina says.
Jemila’s Tale was shown in three different film festivals after Christina graduated. She also took a two-month fellowship in North Carolina, followed by volunteer work at several other film festivals, including Sundance and SXSW. Her natural drive meshed well with her IC experience.
“Over the semesters, I actually began to crave a busy schedule because it brought out my best creative work,” Christina says. “Why not take non-major classes like African American Popular Music and Sociology of Sexualities, co-lead a non-profit video project with my fellow Park Scholars, paint a shed during a weekend Habitat for Humanity Build, and find local actors to be extras for a web series about Finger Lakes wine?”
Though she’s left IC, she thinks that work ethic is especially important to her budding film career. “By wearing different hats as a screenwriter, producer, set designer, social media guru, even holding a heavy light or two, I am still just as committed to the larger mission at hand: to tell a good story using film,” Christina says.
“That's how real life is. You have to find your passion in everything, no matter how small.”
>> More on this story: Park Scholars Program
Original photo of Christina and her young actress by Allie Taylor '11, producer of Jemila's Tale.
Offering a good grounding in communications, marketing, and business, IC’s integrated marketing communications major is one-stop shopping for prospective public relations and advertising professionals. Christianne Enos couldn’t find a similar program at any other school. She wasn’t thrilled, though, with central New York’s less-than-balmy weather and its distance from her home near New York City.
“I knew that once I graduated from IC, I’d be able to do public relations, advertising, and marketing,” Christianne said. “So, I picked the college for its curriculum and planned to deal with whatever else came my way.”
“Whatever else” turned out to be an unforeseen chain of events that started her freshman year, when Christianne joined IC’s student chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). That led to Christianne’s election as the organization’s secretary, which positioned her to answer “yes” when faculty adviser Scott Hamula asked if any AAF officers cared to try for a Stickell internship, a paid, 10-week, hands-on opportunity available only to student members of the AAF. After a demanding selection process, Christianne was one of 15 applicants chosen from 200 student chapters nationwide. Assigned to IBM’s corporate headquarters, Christianne worked with the company’s advertising team and its agency, Ogilvy & Mather. From that experience came contacts, and from those contacts, a job. Christianne is now an assistant account executive at Ogilvy. Her account? IBM.
“The internship got me into the real world,” Christianne said. “My bosses and team members pushed me to challenge myself, and as a result, I learned the ins and outs of business-to-business marketing and how to maintain a client-agency relationship. A lot of advertising is learned once you get there.”
And getting there meant taking that first step into the unknown.
“Everything I experienced at IC prepared me for this job,” Christianne said, “and for my next job and the job after that. At IC, I learned to be ready for the unexpected.”
More on this story: AAF Student Chapter
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