Alumni talk RTF

Nikki Brahm

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UW Oshkosh radio/TV/film students gathered in Titan TV studio Friday to ask questions and learn from a panel of alumni speaking on their careers and experience in the industry.

RTF major Garahbrie Wesley-James hosted the panel, which was aired both on the student-run radio station WRST and Titan TV.

Alumnus Eric Balkman, a media coordinator for the Fantasy Football Players Championship, participated in the panel.

The panel also hosted alumna Brenda Lee Lau, who works for ABC Entertainment as a creative director, senior writer, producer and has marketed various shows such as “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Revenge,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and more.

Another panel member was alumnus Rubin Whitmore II, a media maker that has earned numerous awards for music videos and short films.

The event was organized by both Academic Department Associate Claire Armstrong and Director of Television Services Justine Stokes.

Armstrong said the panel has been organized for nine years now, where she has looked into potential panel members that are personable and good on TV.
Armstrong also looks for members that have different types of jobs in RTF that live in different places.

“I think students feel pressure; they think they have to go to Los Angeles and they don’t,” Armstrong said. “You can have a wonderful career in the Midwest and go to Atlanta. You can go to Chicago, you can go to New York, You can stay right here, you can go to Fox Valley.”

Stokes said many students want to host or direct the show, but also want to come back as a guest once they graduate, which was the case this time with Balkman who hosted the panel when he was a student.

“I think it represents the very best of radio/tv/film, the student-driven experience,” Stokes said.

Stokes said the students seem to have more of a pep in their step after the event because they see the longer trajectory in their careers.

“They see how those long hours you spend working on a production or writing a paper pays off down the line,” Stokes said.

RTF major Cailynn Carlson said the panel made her look forward to her future after graduating.

“I found it to be an inspiring experience, listening to everything they had to say about working in the industry,” Carlson said. “Especially what Brenda said opened my eyes to how far I can go if I set my mind to it.”

Stokes said UWO RTF alumni are everywhere and produce a lot of great work that most aren’t aware of.

“You know I always say to a prospective student, you go online, you turn on your television, you listen to the radio, you’re bound to consume something that’s been touched by someone from this program in some way,” Stokes said.