Being a communication major is part writing and part producing, but it’s all about performing. For Elizabeth Stillman, a Seattle-bred 22-year-old, coming to Santa Clara not only meant beautiful weather, but also getting the opportunity to excel in this highly competitive and ever-changing field.
“It really starts with the professors,” says Stillman. “I really liked that it was so easy to talk to them and that they knew me by name.” Making student-teacher connections are a big deal at Santa Clara. And for Stillman, one connection really stood out.
“Professor Laura Ellingson made Qualitative Research Methods in Communications fun,” says Stillman, which she claims was “not an easy thing to do.” Whether it was clarifying research concepts, giving constructive feedback on drafts, or urging her students to never give up—professor Ellingson was always there.
“She really helps you get the most out of every class she teaches,” emphasizes Stillman. “And you want to go to her class.”
Though Santa Clara is well known for its dedicated professors, the tools it provides students for academic success are a well-kept secret. In a production class, Stillman had the opportunity to edit “a 30-second PSA, a photo slideshow, and a five-to-seven minute documentary,” all using an editing bay on campus.
Though the projects were time-consuming, Stillman says the intuitive tools were easy and interesting to use.
Gaining these abilities inside the classroom equipped Stillman for one of her biggest projects outside the classroom. “I had to do a real life branding pitch to a local band, complete with media and some research to back up the proposal,” Stillman recalls. “It set the bar for what to expect when I graduate.”
Now, as an intern at a fast-paced advertising agency called Muh-tay-zik | Hof-fer in San Francisco, Stillman is having no trouble keeping up.
“The classes I’ve taken have taught me how to write well, feel comfortable standing in front of a large group of people, and work efficiently in groups,” says Stillman. “I feel like I got a head start at Santa Clara.”
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