Alumni, faculty and staff share insights with high school students in Summer Media Institute

July 19, 2014

Northwestern University in Qatar’s Summer Media Institute, will this year bring together for the first time NU-Q alumni and 30 local high school students to share insights on several aspects of reporting and filmmaking as well as life at the university and in the workplace.

The two-week program—running from August 3-14—is designed to help students understand what makes headlines in human rights, health, politics, and conflict resolution among other social issues.

Now in its fifth year, the institute will also provide students with hands-on training in documentary filmmaking, emphasizing key techniques in cinematography, lighting and editing. Throughout the program, students will interact on a daily basis with NU-Q alumni, faculty and specialist staff to gain a thorough understanding of regional and international media.

“The Summer Media Institute is an opportunity for local, young minds to explore the continuously developing field of media, as well as gain a sense of university life, responsibilities and expectations in the workplace,” said Everette E. Dennis, Dean and CEO of NU-Q.

Dana Atrach, NU-Q alumna and Communications Specialist at Teach For Qatar—a local NGO that tackles education challenges—will engage students through a series of workshops focusing on script writing, pre-production and conceptualization. A recent winner of the Best Unproduced Script Based on a Family Drama award at the St. Tropez International Film Festival, Atrach will pass on the insider knowledge of what it takes to succeed on a global scale.

“When I was a student at NU-Q, my screenwriting professor was a huge inspiration to me. She was very passionate about screenwriting, and she instilled the same passion in her students,” said Atrach. “My aim is to emulate her teaching style and hopefully have the same impact on my students as she had on us.”

Joining Atrach, to tell students how to get their films accepted into film festivals will be fellow NU-Q alumnae and founders of Torath Production, Shannon Farhoud, Rana Khaled Al Khatib, Ashlene Ramadan and Melanie Fridgant.

The program also offers a unique opportunity to get expert advice from NU-Q faculty and staff. Christina Paschyn, Lecturer in Residence in the Journalism program will teach how to interview on camera, Chris Adamescu, Production and Broadcast Technical Support Specialist will give a technical overview of production and—of critical importance to college bound students—Leon Braswell, Director of Admissions at NU-Q will give advice on the admission process.

The Summer Media Institute is the first in a series of NU-Q events for the 2014-2015 school year aimed at high school students interested in communications and journalism. Future events include the Qatar Leadership Conference, which is held in collaboration with Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and THIMUN Qatar, and the THIMUN Qatar Northwestern Film Festival.

At the most recent THIMUN Qatar Northwestern Film Festival, the winning film was Al-Hamali (The Porters), a five-minute documentary produced by Qatari high school student Amal Al-Muftah. The film dramatically and powerfully increased knowledge of an under-exposed issue and brought to light the untold stories of men who go unnoticed every day. Al-Muftah will be joining NU-Q as a first-year student, when fall classes begin August 24.

NU-Q will also be hosting a number of media workshops throughout the year encouraging students to explore the development of investigative reporting and digital media.