We recently added a new intern for the summer, Sam Mazany, who is a fellow Wolfpacker. We’ll be formally introducing him in an upcoming blog post, but I got a head start getting to know him when I learned that Sam was attending NC State. I asked what classes he was taking, and we quickly realized that we had the same professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jim Alchediak. After talking with Sam, it became clear that Alchediak had the same impact on him as he did on me. That impact was key to me being a successful student and getting a great start in my career quickly out of school.
Alchediak is very easy going, approachable, and he always made himself available. I had the benefit of having three classes with him, and he also became my advisor. A couple of guys I did group projects with still keep in touch with him, and try to visit on occasion.
Inspirational professors are something that a lot of us at Myriad have in common. I’ve heard many stories from our folks here about teachers who did more than just teach. These professors invested a lot of time outside of the classroom to mentor, advise, and sometimes just have a beer and tell stories. Marisa, Marshall, Spike and Shawn were all under the mentorship of East Carolina University’s Mike Dermody, who actually stopped by the office recently to catch up.
Marshall’s story was similar to mine:
“I met up with Dermody a couple of days after moving into the dorm room, before classes even started. We talked for a good while about what my goals in school and life were, and ever since, he took me under his wing. He invited me to a short film shoot that his senior students were producing, and I had a blast. It was really the first ‘organized’ film production that I had ever witnessed. I took at least one class with Dermody every semester of college, and after graduation, he helped a ton with getting me started in the freelance community, while even hooking me up with a few gigs.”
We’ve had a couple of folks here from Elon University, too. Todd Leonard and Brent Edwards both talk of Youssef Osman, professor of their Producing Narrative Cinema class. Todd writes, “Having a faculty member like that who always offers a helping hand is invaluable. It’s great, because it trickles down to the students. During and after finishing his class, a spark ignited in me to get involved in my craft and help out on projects as much as I could. I wish I had this hunger earlier in my college career, but I’m grateful that Osman instilled it in me.” That spark was evident when Todd interned with us last year.
Most people have at least one teacher or professor that was really good at connecting with them and other students. It’s even better when that person is mentoring you in your chosen field. Putting in that time and investment really separates the great professors from those who are simply there with tenure.
I realize I’ve been in the business long enough that now I’m the one who people are looking to for inspiration, encouragement, or just an open ear. As a senior member of the Myriad staff, it’s happening more often, and it’s becoming one of my favorite parts of my job.
So just for fun—and since I was reliving my college days a little—here’s a link to view my senior project. Ok, you have to remember this was 1998, and Friends was pretty popular then. Don’t judge!