PR Student: Shelley Safaee
This article was produced in cooperation with the COMMS 425 lab.
Enter to learn, go forth to serve. The BYU motto had special application for news media student Liana Tan this summer as she chose to start her capstone overseas. Tan has spent the summer and fall semesters developing a documentary to raise awareness and tell stories about the lives of those living in a relocation camp in Greece.
Tan’s Humanitarian Capstone
Over the summer, Tan travelled to Greece, where she volunteered and interacted with refugees, gathering personal interviews on film.
“Being with them one-on-one helps you realize and breakdown stereotypes, whether we know we have them or not,” Tan said. “Where we live, we have predetermined notions of people, but interacting with them helped me see I had predetermined notions that I didn’t even notice before.”
Throughout fall semester, she worked closely with her news media capstone mentor, Professor Robert Walz, to compile her footage into a documentary. By publishing her documentary, Tan hopes she can accurately depict the refugees’ stories and add their voice to the ongoing global issue. “I hope it will humanize refugees,” Tan said.
Tan chose her capstone because of what she has been studying at BYU. Tan is a senior in the news media program with a minor in international development. “It was a great experience because communications teachers were willing to work with me to help me get experience in both subjects,” she said.
Seeing the Connection to her Education
Tan’s experiential learning opportunity allowed her to apply many of the technical skills she acquired in the news media program. While abroad, Tan utilized her professional camera operating knowledge, interview techniques and writing skills, all of which she has practiced throughout her education.
“In the program, they teach you to be sensitive to people and look for the story within the story,” Tan said. Tan’s mentor, Professor Walz, also mentioned he is supportive of experiential learning opportunities because of the noticeable application between education and the workforce.
All details for Tan’s upcoming documentary have not been released, but she’s hoping to have it published by the end of the semester. In hopes of encouraging other ambitious students, Tan said, “I don’t know if I ever thought I could have filmed a documentary in Greece, but just set yourself up so you can achieve those goals. The sky is the limit.”