Leitten said the project gave students practical, hands-on experience. The students were instructed on how to use the equipment and initially were paired with professionals until they were comfortable. They also got training in backcountry safety and bear awareness.
“Slowly but surely they were able to handle things on their own,” Leitten said. “I could trust they knew what they were doing.”
UC graduate Mackenzie Houston, who now works for an advertising company in Louisville, served as a producer on the film when she was a student.
“It was a trial by fire. I had never used the camera before the shoot. But they gave you a few tips on interviewing and threw you in the field,” she said. “I learned so much. It really prepared me to be ready for anything.”
Houston said a degree in electronic media can take students unexpected places. She solicited positions that were not advertised to land her first jobs out of college.
“Sometimes you have to shove your foot in the door,” she said. “There can be a narrow view of careers in electronic media, but it’s applicable to so many jobs. There’s really no limit.”