Anthony Salas noticed an email that arrived late that evening announcing a partnership between the United Negro College Fund, also known as UNCF, and the Walt Disney Company.
The Kingsport native went to work. He connected with professionals on LinkedIn, applied for an internship, interviewed for a position and finally learned that he would be a member of the first class of 2021 UNCF Disney Enterprise Scholars. .
The East Tennessee State University student, who is slated to graduate this spring, has gained experience that even seasoned film producers might envy.
He has done production and development with ESPN films. He attended a movie premiere in New York. He will also serve as a mentor to the next group of scholars.
One major plus: Salas already has a movie production job aligned with Disney when he graduates.
“My instructors here at ETSU have given me great guidance and mentorship,” Salas said. “They view our classes not just as periods of academic learning, but as times to prepare you for a professional environment.”
Preparing students like Salas to be ready for the job market is one of the main goals of ETSU’s Department of Media and Communications.
The investments made by the department confirm this. Students have access to $1.5 million of experiential media facilities. More than 40 industries have partnered with ETSU to offer collaboration, training and internships. Dozens of professional counselors offer consultations to students.
“We work hard to ensure that students not only learn new critical skills, but know how to apply them once they leave our campus,” said Department Chair Dr. Andrew Dunn. “You learn soft and hard skills. As a media and communication student, you will learn best practices. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned through internships or working for student-run media outlets like BucTV, The Edge radio station, East Tennessean newspaper, and Overlooked in Appalachia magazine.
Salas’ involvement on campus clearly shows the possibilities for media and communications students.
He was the 2020-2021 president of Alpha Sigma Iota, a group that conducts community service activities and promotes departmental events and facilities on the larger campus. He is part of BucFilms, a club that creates video content and participates in film competitions and events. He was an arts and entertainment reporter for the East Tennessean, the college newspaper.
“Anthony is an inquisitive and engaged learner who has studied film, journalism and black American studies and has engaged in countless entities and activities on campus,” said Dr. Shara Lange, associate professor and head of the Radio/TV/Film program at ETSU. .
For students like Salas who want to make films, critical skills and experiences are needed, Lange said.
“My passion is supporting student voices and helping them cultivate the stories they want to tell, but by learning the language of filmmaking, students learn a much-needed skill that can be applied in so many ways,” he said. she declared. “Most of our students leave our program with a general skill set in video production, which includes understanding and using digital video cameras, audio recording and editing, exposure to radio and television. , storytelling basics, and familiarity with Adobe Premiere.”
When Salas graduates in May and begins working full-time with Disney, he wants a message to be clear to potential students interested in media and communication studies.
“I don’t want to be seen as an outlier,” Salas said. “It’s an achievable goal for a lot of people if you’re willing to work hard. Our department wants you to succeed and the instructors will do whatever they can to help you.