LEAPS host trio of Wheaton film & media alumni

For some it can be intimidating thinking about what life will be like after college. On Tuesday April 8, the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities and the Film and New Media Studies program co-sponsored LEAPS (Liberal Education and Professional Success) which brought several alumni back to Wheaton to talk about their involvement in film and new media.

Wheaton alumni Rachel Bowie ’04, Lisa Madison ’05, and David McKinley ’93, shared their experiences on the transition from a life as a student to the life of a professional.

“They are living proof you can have a life outside of Wheaton,” said Professor Josh Stenger director of Wheaton College Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH) and coordinator of Film and New Media Studies program.

Bowie graduated in 2005, and is currently the associate editor of digital editions at Good Housekeeping. Bowie says she was constantly pursuing new things during her undergraduate experience. While at Wheaton, Bowie was a Wheatone, and a managing editor for the Wheaton Wire.

After she graduated Wheaton in she went to Emerson College to get her Masters degree in Journalism. She worked at Boston Common magazine before moving to New York City.

Bowie boldly ventured to New York City without a job waiting for her. Through freelance writing, and building her social media presence she got her job at Good Housekeeping.

McKinley graduated Wheaton in 1993 and is the chief technology officer at Oomph Inc., a web development and web design company.

After graduation, McKinley moved to Maine and worked on a sea shanty. He says that he had a couple of “break down” moments where he did not know what to do or how to move forward. But after some soul searching McKinley found his path.

Through Wheaton connections he came into contact with a technical recruiter and began life in the professional world. McKinley worked at a number of jobs before getting to Oomph. He was even one of the authors who contributed to Apple’s Genius Bar experience.

McKinley says that Wheaton’s liberal arts education was beneficial when on the job hunt. As a music major McKinley says he learned how to perform, which gave him the ability to present and talk to people professionally. “You need to have the tools, that you get here,” he said.

The third alumna, Madison is the owner and co-founder of Storykeep, a company that creates audio, film and multimedia portraits. She recently returned from Vietnam where she was shooting a documentary on sex trafficking.

After graduating in 2005 Madison like many college students was unsure of where she was going.

After working in DC, and finding the experience unsatisfactory, Madison came back to Wheaton for some soul searching.

She was inspired after sitting in on some of her senior seminar classes.  “You can do anything you put your mind to. Its kind of cliché, but Wheaton really put that in my bones,” said Madison.

The three speakers had great advice for students based on their array of life experiences. “Keep an open mind. Things fall into place a lot more then you expect them to,” said Bowie.

Madison says that you have to be flexible and able to work on your feet. “It’s about proving you can learn,” she says.

Along with talking about their careers and their paths in the professional world, the alumni did some reminiscing about their days at Wheaton.

“I feel like I was just here,” said Bowie. Bowie mentioned the Wheatones countless times throughout her stories. She said that the group was a great support system, and is still in contact with some of the Wheatones from when she was a student.

Like Professor Stenger said, the alums were living proof that there is a life outside of the Wheaton bubble. They are proof that experiences that student have with a liberal arts education really matter.

“I owe a lot to Wheaton,” said McKinley.