Undergraduate Assistant: Focus and Develop

Undergraduate Assistant: Focus and Develop

Around sophomore year at Eastern Connecticut State University the average student is finishing up the core curriculum, has decided their major, and has had the time to take at least one fun class. My first designated fun class at ECSU was Photography in the spring semester of 2010. My parents still had an old film camera so I figured that it should be put to some kind of good use.

I approached this class like I do most classes. I was punctual, active in discussions, and dedicated to my work. I had taken these traits for granted and barely noticed that I was a bit of an overachiever, so when my professor asked if I would be interested in becoming the photo lab assistant (official title was an undergraduate assistant) I was surprised. I asked him why. Which as I know now is the wrong response to a job offer. He responded by listing off all the traits and habits I had displayed in his class that I had assumed were normal behaviors for a student. So for the next two years at ECSU I worked as the undergraduate assistant to the photography professor. I was in charge of making sure the chemicals were always available and kept up to date, responsible for helping any students that had questions, and integral to the yearly Excellence Expo event. I also got to assist the photography professor, Martin Seymour during a few photo shoots. In my second year in this position Martin spearheaded a movement for encouraging students to create and maintain ePortfolios. His medium of choice was WordPress. Due to my position my WordPress ePortfolio had to be impeccable, as it was used as an example in Martin’s class and other classes throughout campus. At the Excellence Expo that spring my ePortfolio won the Best Overall ePortfolio Award.

I learned a very unique skill set from this position that included darkroom chemical creation, black and white photography development, film development, camera operation, exhibit curation, and WordPress development. This position also served to create a solid base set of skills, that would serve me in every aspect of life, that included time management, organization, and leadership.

I have since taken this experience and formed a photography business called Elegant Orchid Photography. To view the website for Elegant Orchid Photography click here.

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