I don’t film to win awards. I film to tell stories with the hopes of impacting others for a greater good.

However, I’m not going to lie and say being awarded an Ohio Valley Student Production Award isn’t the icing on the cake, because it truly is.

As a young professional and a recent graduate from Xavier University, nothing is more satisfying than being recognized by a prestigious association for one’s work. Long and 11754772 10207724131999998 550112617297757800 ohard hours have been put towards improving my craft, and my winning piece, “The Competitor,” is an example of that. Xavier’s grueling Electronic Media program, advised by Blis Devault, pushed me to learn all aspects of production. From fictional and news script writing, to camera operating and editing, to even anchoring weekly news segments, we learned it all. So when myself, and two of my classmates, was told our short films were receiving honors, you can only imagine how ecstatic we were, because it’s not everyday one wins such an award.

The crazy thing is, I had no idea entering college video production was going to be my future. Growing up, my life was sports. So when I decided I wasn’t playing tennis at Xavier, I had to find an outlet to fulfill my competitive nature, and at the time, that outlet happened to sports broadcasting. Blis convinced me one sunny afternoon that if I wanted to be the next Erin Andrews, I had to become part of the e-media program and get experience in front and behind the camera. So that’s what I did. Next thing I knew, I picked up a passion I never knew I had.

I learned the power of storytelling, and the power it has to move and to influence people. My experience producing “The Competitor” simply made me realize I’m exactly where I need to be, telling real stories of real people.

Not to mention, the Production Award was the cherry on top, and the ceremony was a night to remember. A week prior to the event, all I could think about was what dress I was going to wear. I’m a tomboy at heart, so the concept of black tie was tough for me to wrap my head around, but looking back at my red carpet photos, I think I cleaned up okay. It was also my first experience with live-streamed interviews and a 30 second acceptance speech, in front of who knows how many people. And even though my speech was probably a hot mess, I know I’ll be up there again to make up for it.

Nonetheless, what really hit home that evening was my opportunity to network. I met incredible people who have produced incredible work. Many of them, if not all, interested in my future plans, and as a recent graduate, I’ve learned through my four years of school that networking is key. Never be afraid to ask for help or advice and actively pursue every opportunity, because in the end, what do we have to lose? So thank you NATAS for acknowledging my hard work and giving me such an incredible experience.