Building Connections and Getting Experience

Katie West Arts, Experience

It feels like yesterday that I was walking on to campus as a freshman with a very small idea of what the future could possibly hold for me at the University of Mobile. As a worship technology major, I knew that the next four years would be an amazing opportunity to learn and grow in my craft, but I never dreamed of the opportunities that could come through being a part of the program.

Every year, our Worship Technology department plays a vital role in making Christmas Spectacular come to life. Christmas Spectacular is a four-night celebration that involves the entire Alabama School of The Arts (ASOTA) and is seen by over 10,000 people. With Christmas Spectacular comes late nights, early mornings, a lot of coffee, and in my case, great connections with people that work in the industry.

For the last three years of this production, I have had the opportunity of being a part of the video team as a video camera operator. University of Mobile hires Custom Media Solutions (CMS), a full-service live event production company that specializes in video. They have worked with clients such as Delta Airlines, Chick-fil-A, Hillsong, Atlanta United FC, Catalyst, and North American Mission Board. This alone is a great opportunity to work with professionals in my field  while still being a student. Since the very first year of Christmas Spectacular, Michael Simmons and Anthony Young have always been about creating an environment that fosters a great educational atmosphere when it comes to live video production.

Because of the relationship I have built with CMS through Christmas Spectacular, I was honored to have the opportunity to do contract work with them this year as a video camera operator. Chick-fil-A hosts an annual conference for their operators and corporate employees. This year, the conference was held on the two largest cruise ships in the world, and I along with two other UM students and a staff member were invited to work this event.

While on the trip, we got to experience firsthand how all of the logistics came together to pull off an event this big. Each day consisted of keynote speakers and break out sessions that were recorded and sometimes simulcasted from one ship to another and vice versa. On the trip we had the opportunity to work beside some of the best in the industry and people who have played an important part in making the tech industry what it is today.

This experience was one I would have never dreamed would have happened when I walked on campus as a freshman. It was though this trip that I had the opportunity to see first hand what life was like in the tech industry outside of the classroom. Because of that, I know I am doing exactly what I am called to do as I finish my studies at the University of Mobile. This school has not only set me up for success outside of college by teaching me in the classroom, but it has given me the opportunity to meet and connect with people in the industry. While classrooms are great, it is connections that are made and opportunities that are given through our school that set us, students at the University of Mobile, up for success.

About the Author
Katie West

Katie West

Katie West is photographer and videographer for the University of Mobile. She will graduate in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Worship Technology. Over the years, she has worked with a variety of churches and business across the southeast. She believes that everyone has a story worth telling and is passionate about capturing and telling those stories.