Student Spotlights

Student opportunities include UW credit for internships with literary, cultural, artistic, media, and technology organizations in the Seattle area and beyond.   Other ways to become involved include student film clubs, international film festivals, independent research through the Mary Gates Scholarship Fund, and study abroad

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Kenneth Zacher (Ken or Kenneth preferred) Junior, just transferred from North Seattle last quarter Favorite Movie: Climax (2019) by Gaspar Noe How did you know you wanted to major in CMS? I first found out about CMS while I was working on my transfer degree at North Seattle. I'd been kinda skeptical about really looking into film as a career path because I was always worrying about the money back then. Anyone can be a creator these days, you know? And as a… Read more
student spotlight Xu
Emily Xu Year: Class of 2024 Majors: Cinema & Media Studies and Marketing Hometown: Bellevue, Washington Favorite movie: Love Letter (2019) Why did you choose CMS as a major? Growing up, I watched movies with my family. lt was our way of bonding. I have always been fascinated by the creative process of filmmaking. But I never considered pursuing film in school until I took Professor Jennifer Bean’s sci-fi class, where I was exposed to many different… Read more
student spotlight Fojas
Kenna Fojas Year: Class of 2023 Majors: Cinema & Media Studies and Psychology Hometown: Mission Viejo, California Favorite movie: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) How did you know you wanted to major in CMS? A: During high school, I took film production classes and fell in love with filmmaking. I loved storytelling and being on film sets, but I did not have the confidence as a filmmaker to think of myself as an artist. I came to UW with the idea of becoming a Marketing… Read more
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Lo Brown Major: Cinema and Media Studies (previously Comparative Literature) & Drama Class of 2007 Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma  Favorite films: Nights Of Cabiria, The Conformist  Current occupation and past experiences: Lo is currently a Producer at Daylighter Films where she works on developing stories from concept to production. In the past, she has worked at Netflix and multiple Creative Agencies. Lo took part in the production process of TV shows such as Read more
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Hometown: Boston, MA Favorite movies: The Seventh Seal, Lost Highway When did you know you wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies? I didn’t know I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in CMS until I finished my master’s degrees in Literature, which I did in France. There, I got the chance to study the cinema of David Lynch and the paradoxes of self-reference and logical philosophy, which unlocked a newfound interest in cinema for me. Through that discovery… Read more
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Chloe Nolan Major: Cinema and Media Studies Class of 2025 Favorite Film: Pride and Prejudice (2005) When did you know you wanted to major in CMS? A: I knew by the end of my junior year in high school. I tried to think of other career paths that weren’t very artistic but didn’t end up enjoying any of those options. So, it came to a point where you might as well pursue something that makes you happy and passionate about. I applied to a couple of film schools as well as UW… Read more
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Our first M.A. student in Cinema & Media Studies, Long Tran completed his graduate degree in Spring 2021. He immediately landed a job teaching media studies at Orting High School in western Washington, where he began teaching this fall. We are so proud of him! And can’t wait to see what he does next. His short film “With Whom Shall We Live?” Read more
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Cynthia Li Major: Cinema & Media Studies and Computer Science Hometown: Mission Viejo, CA Favorite Film: Arrival (2016) What do you like most about the CMS major? I love the interdisciplinary and intertextual aspects of the major. One of the reasons why I decided to major in computer science was how far-reaching the field is, and I feel the same exact way when it comes to CMS. To understand different types of films, one has to understand different cultural… Read more
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Jackson Zaro Major: Cinema & Media Studies and Journalism & Public Interest Communication Class of 2021 Hometown: Bothell Favorite Film: Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? I knew that I wanted to major in CMS a few weeks into my first CMS course at the UW. I had been interested in film before, but taking the dive that we did into a single filmmaker’s filmography opened up a lot of opportunities to interact with… Read more
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Name: Sora Hong Major: Cinema & Media Studies and English Class of 2020 Hometown: Seattle, WA Favorite Film: Johnny Mnemonic (1995) When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? It was all serendipity. My first quarter at UW, I crash-landed in Yuta Kaminishi’s class on post-1945 Japanese documentary. I’d never studied film before. There were about thirty of us crammed into that tiny classroom with these decrepit little chair-desks, and the weather that quarter was… Read more
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Name: Marcus Lux Majors: CMS and English (Creative Writing) Hometown: Lacey, WA Favorite Movie: Her (2013) When did you know that you wanted to write screenplays? I knew that I enjoyed creative writing back in high school. When I entered UW, however, I initially pursued a career in medicine. I took a few science-related courses and performed badly in almost all of them. So, at the end of my freshman year I forced myself to make a tough decision: do I continue… Read more
V Chuang student spotlight
Major: Cinema & Media Studies and Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Class of 2020 Hometown: Kirkland, WA Favorite Film: Videodrome When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? I’m a transfer from UW Bothell. There, I took an intro-to-film class during my freshman year. I remember watching Bicycle Thieves for the first time, which blew my mind. Since then, I never looked back. Growing up, I liked weird movies, armchair film theory, and digging around… Read more
Mick S student spotlight
Major: Cinema & Media Studies Class of 2020 Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio (City of Champions) Favorite Film: Lost in Translation Student Athlete for UW Track and Field and Cross-Country Team When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? I transferred from University of Oregon for my last two years. At Oregon, I studied advertising and product design. When I enrolled here, I had to find a new focus of study as UW had neither of those. To my delight, I found a… Read more
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Major: Cinema & Media Studies Class of 2020 Hometown: Okanogan, WA Favorite Film: Mulholland Dr. When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? During my first couple of years at the UW, I was considering dropping out or transferring to a community college to finish my degree. However, last fall, I took a chance with my first CMS class – CMS 271: Perspectives on Film Great Directors: Zhang Yimou. The class was taught by Professor Yomi Braester and I often… Read more
Casey Moore
Casey Moore Class of 2007 Co-founder of High Council, a film marketing firm, and The Beacon, a new movie theater in Seattle Favorite movie of all time: The Passion of Joan of Arc What led you to study film at UW? I grew up on Roosevelt Way, so UW campus and the U-District have always felt like home to me. My parents moved here from New Jersey, so my mom could go to grad school at UW in 1980. Ever since, the UW lived in our minds as an almost sacred… Read more
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Double Major: Cinema & Media Studies and Business Finance, Class of 2019Hometown: Santa Rosa, CALeadership Role: Co-President UW Film ClubFavorite Film of All Time: Back to the Future Why did you major in CMS?I majored in CMS, very simply, because I love film. I was a Foster student first, but when CMS became a major, I couldn’t resist. I hope one day to combine my interests in cinema and finance and take up a role financing films. What do you like… Read more
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Major: Cinema & Media Studies Class of 2019 Hometown: Anacortes, WA Favorite film: Ferris Bueller's Day Off What do you like most about the CMS program? I like how students can explore various subjects and departments. I’ve taken courses in screenwriting, film history and theory, acting, music in film, and different forms of production ranging from narrative cinema to experimental video to the video essay. CMS has shaped me into not only a lover of cinema, but… Read more
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Major: Cinema & Media Studies Class of 2019 Hometown: Vashon, WA Favorite Film: Baby Driver / The Incredibles 2 / Call Me By Your Name When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? I first discovered the CMS major when I took a course on music in cinema. I have always loved the role that sound plays in film, but I wanted to learn how to talk about it analytically, and also to see how I could use the content of CMS courses in my own sonic work… Read more
Double Major: Cinema & Media Studies and Psychology Class of 2019 Hometown: Seattle Next step: Graduate study in Culture and Communication at Waseda University, Tokyo When did you know that you wanted to major in CMS? I grew up with an interest in cinema, so as soon as CMS became a UW major I jumped on board. What do you like most about the program? My favorite thing is the media library at Suzzallo. Only once have I encountered a movie they didn’t own,… Read more
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You just returned from three years in China. Were you on a fellowship? Where did you study? I had a Confucius China Studies fellowship for one year at Fudan University in Shanghai. I studied at their Journalism School, where graduates go on to be reporters, TV producers, or into many other media-related professions. I took classes on everything from new media and visual culture to documentary film. Prior to that, I did a yearlong intensive Mandarin course at IUP Tsinghua.… Read more
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How did you land an internship at the Seattle Art Museum? I took a class with Professor Ping Foong, Curator of Chinese Art at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) in Spring 2017. When I submitted an exhibition proposal for part of the Asian Art Museum’s 2019 reopening exhibition, I was offered an internship to realize my proposal in SAM’s Curatorial Department. What kinds of work did you do there? I assisted in producing the reopening exhibition, which included… Read more
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Major: Cinema & Media Studies Class of 2018 Hometown: Irvine, California Internship: Northwest Film Forum Next step: Graduate school at USC   Professor Stephen Groening sat down with Ryan Swen to ask about his work as a film critic, his internship at NWFF, and his interest in doing graduate work in Cinema and Media Studies. UPDATE: Ryan will be attending graduate school at the University of Southern California. Congratulations, Ryan!   Stephen Groening: What made… Read more
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Triple Major:Cinema & Media Studies, Communication, and Danish Class of 2019 Hometown: Olympia, WA Favorite film of all time: Persona Internships: KCTS 9 and the Seattle Channel (City of Seattle) Why did you choose CMS as a major? Film has always been my passion and I knew that I was going to pursue it in my education. CMS is the perfect way to do so, as the major teaches me about film and filmmaking generally, allowing me to apply it to other aspects of my… Read more
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Cinema & Media Studies, Class of 2019 Huskies Football Linebacker Hometown: Menlo Park, CA Favorite film of the year: Wind River Why did you choose CMS as a major? “I’ve loved movies all my life. As a kid, I made lots of movies with my older brother. When I got to UW, I realized that if I was going to commit so much time and effort to a major, then it should be one that I am truly passionate about, and that’s why I chose CMS.” What do you like most about… Read more
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Major: Cinema Studies (with honors) Year of Graduation: 2008 Favorite Movie of All Time: Ghost Dog – The Way of the Samurai Occupation: Film Director, Editor, and Colorist “Cinema Studies at UW provided a great foundation and a strong sense of world cinema to build upon as a director.” We asked director Tristan Seniuk about how he got started, about his latest film Float (, and about… Read more
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CMS & Communication double major Class of 2018 Hometown: Tacoma, Washington Favorite Film of All Time: Alien Occupation: Warner Bros & Paramount Studio Rep for Allied Intetgrated Marketing Why did you choose CMS as a major?  I am a CMS major because I want to improve representation and diversity in media.  Film is a unique filter through which we can view history, culture, and ourselves. What do you like most about the CMS program… Read more