Well before St. Thomas’ awareness campaign brought three groups of Tommies’ stories to TV screens across the Midwest, the featured students and alumni stepped into the experience of being part of commercial shoots. The Newsroom asked each about their experience and what it’s like to share their “We Are Tommies” story with the world.

Sarah Millholland ’15

“It was a great honor and pleasure to be involved in the commercial shoot! Generally speaking, the experience was very cool and also quite intimidating. It was nerve-wracking to be in front of so many big lights and cameras and to be watched by the people comprising the production and St. Thomas teams. I was impressed to see how efficiently and seamlessly the teams worked together.

Some of the highlights for me were when I was shooting scenes in the John Roach Center auditorium and the observatory [on the St. Paul campus]. During my time at St. Thomas, I had two classes in the JRC auditorium and spent many hours in the observatory working with students and people from the public. Three years ago, I would never have guessed that the next time I would visit these places would be during a St. Thomas television commercial featuring my career journey! Reflecting on this only amplified my gratitude for the experience. To quell my nerves about being in front of the camera, I tried to focus on my appreciation for my time at St. Thomas. My college years were integral in forming my passion for astronomy and kick-starting my current career trajectory.”

Susie Wuollett ’11 MBA

“It’s fun. It’s exciting. We’re honored, and happy to help St. Thomas in any way we can.”

Amanda Tenhoff ’18

“The whole experience was very cool and unlike anything I’d ever done before. I felt pretty honored to be able to be a part of the whole process. It was a really fun experience overall, and it was incredible to be able to get a sneak peek behind the scenes for what goes on in cinematography. It was like a glimpse into another world and it was so cool to be a part of it!”

Austin Lorch ’18

“Being part of the commercial shoot was a really sweet experience. I enjoyed learning about the various responsibilities of the whole crew. There were many more people to do the whole production than I originally imagined. After being asked to partake in the shoot I was looking forward to the day. It turned out to be a lot of fun working on the various scenes. I really enjoyed getting to watch how the group of workers all knew their specific role and were very efficient at it. Though much of the creation of the commercial was artistic in nature, there were definitely specific things that the directors were looking to capture with the footage.
The idea was to portray our ability to do interesting and important research work as undergraduate students. I was thankful for this opportunity to get to showcase it to the public. The ability to do research has been a really great opportunity that I am grateful for. It is something that I don’t think many people realize about St. Thomas: The smaller environment allows for great interaction between the students and the faculty. It was awesome to share our work with the public, and to help out St. Thomas at the same time!”

Milad Audi ’19

It was a great privilege to be in the commercial because I was able to show potential students and lots of other people what I am doing at St. Thomas. I am really proud of the St. Thomas engineering department, the research I am doing, and the faculty collaboration that I am a part of. I think the opportunity to do research and to work so closely with a professor is very unique and is giving me the chance to learn so much. I am really excited to be able to share these things with others–showing them the work that I do and the unique opportunities that are available to them at St. Thomas.
It  was also a lot of fun being involved in the process of making a commercial. It was really cool to see how stuff happens. I spent an entire day with the team to make a film that is only 30 seconds long, which surprised me. It was cool to take a look at a completely different world of film and advertising, but a field that definitely overlaps with engineering, as engineers create products that need to be advertised.
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