Having spanned the past several months, this fellowship experience has broadened my understanding of research and project management. While every moment has been a learning experience that incorporates new information and skills that will undoubtedly aid my future endeavors, I think my newfound ability to individually develop and lead a research project has been the most valuable thing. This project has helped me learn more about myself as a leader, a researcher, and a creative, while also allowing me space to better understand what motivates me and how I can generate a healthy work/life balance. In addition, there are skills I’ve been able to learn and develop over the course of this project that will be useful moving forward, both within my professional trajectory and beyond it. The skill I’m easily the proudest of is my newfound proficiency in the program SketchUp, a 3D modeling software that has been instrumental in the creative side of my project development. Not only is this program heavily used in the film/tv industry, and therefore helping me get a leg up for future job applications, but I was also able to learn the program entirely on my own (bar some Google questions every once in a while). Learning through self-teaching is a skill I will hopefully be able to expand through any avenue in my life, even outside of the professional/academic.
Not only did this experience help me develop as an artist and an academic, but it also allowed for new and important interactions. Between my cohort and my mentor, I’ve been able to talk more about the creative process and the importance of creative research more than ever before (and certainly more than any other summer). I’ve been able to expand my network throughout the Pittsburgh community, which has not only helped my research but will also help my internship/job hunt within Pittsburgh over the next year. This research has also introduced me to an extremely niche topic within design – one that could remain a research topic well into my future. While this project will technically wrap over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to continue with my research in some capacity, whether that be a directed research project through the Theatre Department or a personal project I do on my own time. Beyond this research, I’m excited to expand on my portfolio over the next year and am hoping to work primarily within PittStages or assisting on local film projects.