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Student-Produced Videos Honored at Walsh Film Festival

School News

As the culminating event of the First-Year Institute (FYI) Digital Storytelling Project, Walsh University hosted its second Film Festival on Thursday, November 14, to honor the creative talents and finished digital projects of Walsh’s freshman class. Mimicking the style and excitement of the Academy Awards, the formal-attire event included a red carpet, oversized Emmy statues and roving reporters.

This fall, Walsh first-year students created documentaries reflecting their first semester in college to earn their first digital badge in Creativity. Utilizing their smartphones, first-year students worked in teams or individually in their GE 100 courses to explore the art of storytelling by creating a video documentary.

From a pool of more than 40 entries, ten semi-finalist Best in Class videos were chosen and spotlighted during the festival. Three finalists were honored for their completed projects with a “Walshie” statue. The entries included a mix of humor, heart and personal accounts of life on Walsh as a first-year student.

“There are a wealth of terms to describe this practice such as digital documentaries, computer based narratives, digital essays, interactive storytelling, and so on. But in general, they all revolve around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of media including graphics, audio and video,” said Michael Modarelli, First Year Experience Director. “As in traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a specific point of view. The stories we will see tonight focus on our newest students’ first-semester vision of Walsh University and what it means to be a Walsh Cavalier, along with the struggles and success that accompany that journey.”

The student team of Sara Miller and Madeline Burns took home the first place award for their documentary “The Beginning of a Journey.” Second place went to the team of Yi-hsuan (Rebecca) Tsai and Claire Olds for their white-board doodle animation “College Survival Tips” with third prize to Taylor Nagy for her documentary "My First Year at Walsh University."

“You are here today in this place, with a story that is unique to you. Each of us has a story that is unfolding, chapter by chapter, page by page. The chapters are sometimes thrilling and adventurous. Sometimes difficult, sometimes mundane and dull,” said Associate Dean of Students 

Tiffany Kinnard-Payton, Co-Director of the First Year Institute. “But at Walsh….Your story matters, because you matter.”

The Walsh students submitted their final documentary capstone project at the end of the semester.

Campus-wide, the Walsh Advantage digital badge student recognition program was implemented in 2018-19 as a way to promote the achievements of Walsh students through the awarding of digital badges, an official credential that validates a broad scope of learning not evidenced on a traditional academic transcript.

Digital Badges document a student’s soft skills acquired such as adaptability, engagement, critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation in a student’s undergraduate and graduate education. Digital badges also provide a competitive edge in maximizing a student’s academic and career potential. According to Forbes Magazine (2018), storytelling has been identified as an in-demand job skill that will give students an employable edge over the competition. For more information, visit walsh.edu/merit.