By Sheldon Satenstein
I was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and lived there for my entire life before making the cross-state trek to the University of Pittsburgh. I first visited the University as a junior in high school, where I was immediately floored by the magnificence of the Cathedral and how far my preconceptions of Pittsburgh as a dirty industrial city actually were from reality.
When I came to Pitt as a freshman, I was excited to explore film and video production on a deeper level than I was afforded in high school. Between the insightful instruction of the professors in the Film Studies department and the hands-on opportunities at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, I was able to engage with cinema in meaningful ways that helped me to understand more about art, as well as the history and culture of America and many other nations. During Spring 2013, I combined my interest in film and mentorship when I was a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Teaching Fellow for a Contemporary Cinema course.
Never one to lock myself into a single track, I explored other fields during my time at Pitt, including psychology and history of art and architecture, but ultimately I opted to pursue a dual degree in marketing and film studies. In the College of Business Administration I was able to work closely with faculty and alumni, and my experience was highlighted by the Projects in Marketing course. I worked with my peers as we organized ourselves into an advertising agency and implemented a comprehensive promotional campaign under the guidance of our faculty mentor, marketing-guru Bob Gilbert. Working with United Way was a valuable formative experience as we encouraged faculty and staff across campus to raise awareness and #BeTheAnswer.
I also began working for The Pitt News as a staff photographer, where I most enjoyed covering football and basketball games. The following summer I lived in Madrid, Spain, obtaining an internship with the start-up technology company Nexora via the CBA’s International Internship Program. I had very little knowledge of Spanish before the trip, which made the experience a challenging one, though entirely worthwhile and something that has immeasurably benefitted me both personally and professionally. Upon my return from Spain I moved into the assistant visual editor role at The Pitt News, and also took a position with a local non-profit, Silk Screen Asian Arts. Over the course of nine months I helped determine the programming for their annual film festival.
After graduating from Pitt in December 2014, I took a position with the Honors College to assist with the development and continual improvement of their marketing and promotional efforts. We want students to be well informed of all of their academic options here at the University, and I am here to help make that happen. The unique “non-membership” nature of Pitt’s Honors College puts us in a challenging position as far as promotion goes, but by developing new and creative ways of engaging with current and prospective students we are learning how to communicate more effectively. I’m looking forward to acting as a uniting liaison between motivated students and all of the great programs the Honors College offers.