Syracuse University Magazine

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Whitney Marin

Unlimited Learning

Whitney Marin ’15 came to the Newhouse School as an undeclared major. But she knew the school—and Syracuse University—was exactly what she wanted: a place with a wide range of study options and unlimited learning opportunities to explore. While in high school, she considered pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, but a first-year Maxwell School course in public policy set her on a different path. “My focus is on education policy,” says the television, radio, film and policy studies dual major from Cape Coral, Florida. “I would love to use education-related topics—social justice issues, especially—in my films. I think it’s important to understand the policies that govern certain aspects of society as well as how to tell those stories, whether in narrative or documentary form.”

A founding member and the treasurer of cinematic fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha, one of the University’s newest professional fraternities, Marin is involved in an array of campus organizations. She’s a resident advisor, a participant in the Rising Leaders Fellowship Program through Teach for America, and works in the Newhouse Career Development Center. In 2013, she was honored with a Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship.

In her junior year, Marin traveled to California for Spring Break in Silicon Valley, a five-day immersion experience offered through the School of Information Studies that brings Syracuse students together with start-up entrepreneurs in the world-renowned tech incubator. “As a film student, I felt like an outsider at first,” she says. That changed, once she saw how multimedia has a place in the tech world and heard the career stories of the people working there. “People come from all over the country and the world to take their slice of the booming market of innovation,” she wrote in a blog during the trip. “I fit right in.”

That excursion was followed by an even longer jaunt a few months later, when Marin joined fellow Newhouse students for a three-week Bollywood immersion in filmmaking and production in India’s famed film capital of Mumbai. Then it was back to California in August for the LA Semester, learning about the American film business from industry professionals. She also spent time in France, participating in the Paris Noir program through SU Abroad, doing an independent study of differences between the French and American educational systems. During Spring Break this year, she volunteered on a film venue team assisting with the operation of the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

True to form, she’s exploring her options for life after Commencement, almost all of which involve travel—most preferably spending more time in France. Looking back, she believes the decision to come north for an education was the right one. “I wanted a school where students are interested in all forms of media, unlike just going to film school,” she says. “I felt safe at Syracuse. I knew I would be in a place where I could change my mind if I wanted to, but still get my degree on time.”   —Paula Meseroll

Photo by Susan Kahn