How One Changemaker Learned to Tell Stories That Make a Difference
“When you love what you're doing, all the blood, sweat, and tears fade into the background, and your passion triumphs.”
This is what Amanda Ackerman, Class of 2021, has learned from her time at UE.
The proud Ace decided to attend the University of Evansville upon discovering she would have opportunities to gain real-world experience with her studies.
“I chose to attend UE because the multimedia program is the best in the area. After touring many different schools, I met with Assistant Professor Joe, who told me that in the UE Communication Department, we would be building our own website, creating documentaries and short films, and working with real-life clients. I was immediately sold and ready to attend.”
Atkinson delivered on his promise — Ackerman has had several opportunities to cultivate her skills and grow her filmmaking expertise.
Two experiences, in particular, have had a lasting impact.
Making Houses — and a Documentary Film
In the summer of 2018, Ackerman went to Guatemala as part of UE's Habitat for Humanity Club. Not only did she help build houses on this trip, but she also co-filmed a documentary that won a Student Emmy and is a Finalist in the Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival.
This experience was “life-changing” for Ackerman, as she had the opportunity to experience a new culture. She became close to the families she worked with and will “forever hold their stories” in her heart.
“I stand firmly behind Habitat for Humanity's mission of changing the world in a positive way, which is something I would like to continue to be a part of for trips to come.”
On this trip, Ackerman learned the value of hard work and dedication in pursuing one's passion.
“It was exhausting to work out in the sun for extended periods of time doing construction work, and then staying organized and creative when filming different sequences and interviews. However, this did not stop me from giving all I had each and every day because this was something I was extremely passionate about.”
Embracing What UE Has to Offer
Another project that has played a significant role for Ackerman is Embrace Marketing and Communications, a full-service agency operated by a team of UE students. In this agency, students receive course credit while also earning money working for businesses and other organizations in the community. As the agency's digital and social media specialist, Ackerman has been able to produce work for real clients and develop her professional media creation skills.
“Being a part of Embrace has been the most rewarding project I have been a part of because not only am I working and succeeding with a team, but also our work is going toward real-life clients, which can be seen across the Tri-State. It is so unique to be able to have this type of exposure while still in college.”
Similar to her Habitat for Humanity project, Ackerman has learned that determination and persistence are required when balancing school and work.
“Juggling a business while still maintaining other college classes and everything in between requires a lot of dedication and drive.”
An Opportunity to Succeed
Changemaking at the University of Evansville has allowed Ackerman to explore her passion for filmmaking and shape her perspective outside of the classroom.
“UE has given me many different opportunities to succeed and grow my skills with these Changemaking projects being two of these opportunities. I am so thankful to have a university where Changemaking projects like these are available. I have grown and learned more about myself during these real world experiences than I have anywhere else.”