Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

Growing up during the rise of the digital revolution, I received a camera on my sixteenth birthday that ultimately changed the way I perceived the world forever. As I pushed down on the shutter release button for the first time, an image appeared on the display screen just moments after and I remember thinking, “Wow! How can a small device capture so much detail so quickly and so accurately?”

I became completely fascinated with taking photos and decided I wanted to study photography through a conceptual lens. While pursuing a Bachelor’s of Fine Art at California State University of Long Beach, I realized photos were not as simple or as harmless as they seemed to be. In fact, all media, including images, carry countless layers of information that require extensive critical thinking in order to unravel and understand. The psychological element to photography deepened my interest in media theory and to continue reaching higher education. Besides my hard-working parents always being one of my biggest inspirations in life, learning that the vast majority of people receive little to no media literacy education also compelled me to be an artist, activist, and educator. Making future generations aware of the power of media is an extremely important conversation to have especially in a time when most of the world's population is connected to the internet. Knowing how to encounter, interact, consume, decode, and create responsible media empowers others to become critical thinkers and effective communicators.

This fall I will begin my graduate studies at Rhode Island School of Design where I will conduct extensive research on the ways in which media represents both humans and nonhuman animals to better understand how this information impacts society at large. Winning the Mometrix Graduate School Scholarship would greatly help to stabilize the financial burden of going to a notably expensive private art school by supporting my ambitious goals. 

Steffanie from California
Rhode Island School of Design