COLA student finds success working with celebrity photographer

Student Spotlight
Christina Chan, fourth-year advertising and public relations major




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Christina Chan

Christina Chan, a fourth-year advertising and public relations major, was one of the first students to enroll in classes offered as a part of one of RIT’s newest majors in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. The bachelor’s degree—the first of its kind in the nation—will combine core liberal arts studies with technical courses such as computer programming to better prepare graduates for employment. The new degree is out of the College of Liberal Arts.

Previously, Chan, from Wellesley, Mass., had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia at Queensland University of Technology. While there, she gained valuable industry exposure that helped to further develop her interests in digital humanities. More recently, Chan had the opportunity to work alongside celebrity photographer, Eric Levin, doing marketing and cinema lighting.

Question: What brought you to RIT?

Answer: I originally went to Westfield State University, then transferred to RIT. My older brother went here and recommended that I apply, so I did.

Q: What led to your decision to major in advertising and public relations?

A: I honestly picked it on a whim, and it worked out really well. I liked the idea that my major combines liberal arts courses along with business courses in the Saunders College of Business.

Q: What makes a liberal arts degree from RIT standout from those from other schools?

A: RIT incorporates a lot of real-world experience. We have the opportunity to hear from many professionals, and to do projects for real companies that often pick up student work. Although it can be challenging, we learn a lot of technical skills that aren’t made mandatory by other schools. The great thing about RIT is that many employers and colleagues I’ve worked with have said that they know someone who went here or worked for their company, which attests to how paramount our university is. Employers trust us as they know we get the job done and do it very well.

Q: What courses have you taken from the new digital humanities and social sciences major? How have these classes impacted your approach to your work and your professional goals?

A: I took Industrial Origins of the Digital Age. It was amazing and one of the most fun classes that I’ve ever taken. We learned about the histories of past inventions, for example how the brownie camera and the printing press have made revolutionary moments in media history. My internship at Elevin Studios had been a contributing factor and led me to do a media excavation on the zoopraxiscope.

Q: Do you feel like your experiences studying abroad have given you an extra edge in your studies, and why did you choose to study abroad where you did?

A: Definitely! Not only has it equipped me with the necessary knowledge in my studies, but it taught me how to acclimate to a foreign country and its people, and gave me an appreciation of the aesthetic beauty there. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and I’m grateful that RIT has allowed me the opportunity to pursue that passion.

Q: What was it like working with celebrity photographer, Eric Levin, and what led to you landing that internship?

A: Working with Eric was fulfilling. I helped establish his third business called Levin Yang Technologies (LYTE), a premier provider of high-end LED lights for motion picture and still photography. I heard about his studios when I was abroad in Australia, and once I looked more into it, I knew that it would be a good setting for me to work and develop a good grip on photography and production.

Q: How was your experience on the set of the independent movie “Assassin Behind the Glass?”

A: I loved it. Assassin Behind the Glass is about whether one decides if snitching is a virtue or simply a death sentence. We filmed it in and around Boston this summer and recently finished wrapping it up. I’m actually feeling homesick as I miss my time with the director and the movie stars. They’re brilliant.

Q: What are your plans following your time at RIT?

A: I’ve been applying to companies out West and down South. I hope to pursue a career in experiential marketing or entertainment marketing, as that would be my ideal path. My most recent interview was with a company in Beverly Hills, Calif., which was pretty cool. Overall, I’m open-minded to the myriad of opportunities that lie before me. You never know what life has in store for you.

Lauren Peace compiles “Student Spotlight” for University News. Contact her at lmp1579@g.rit.edu with suggestions.

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Christina Chan