November 2015 Student Spotlight - Jaide Stepter

Jaide Stepter - Annenberg Student SpotlightFull Name: Jaide Stepter 

What is your hometown? Tucson, AZ

What is your favorite thing about your hometown? The AZ sunsets!  

What is your major? Communication

What is your minor (if any)? Animation and Digital Arts

What is your expected graduation date? May 2016!!!!!!

Why did you choose to attend Annenberg? 
I am very interested in getting into the entertainment industry, specifically film, but I didn’t know if I wanted to focus more on the business or artistic side. Annenberg would definitely prepare me for several options of different careers I could pursue.

Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you've had here at Annenberg? 
Some of the best opportunities I have had at Annenberg have come through Professor Scheer’s Media & Society and Professor Fellenzer’s Sports, Business, and Media classes. In these classes, we had a lot of guests come in to discuss their professions and life experiences and I valued that time greatly. It is very inspiring to hear other people’s success stories and everyone offered insight to help me figure out which careers I may or may not be interested in.

What makes Annenberg special? 
Annenberg really gives students the freedom to pursue their interests and try out many endeavors. While there are structured paths to help guide students, by no means is it constricting where we are not given the opportunity to explore and discover new interests. Also, all of my professors in Annenberg have been extremely knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about the topics that they teach. I believe that I got the best out of each professor in every class.

What's one thing at USC that no student should miss? 
Milkshakes at Ground Zero…so many people have said it, so that’s how you know it’s real.

Tell us about an experience you’ve had outside of class (an internship, research project, publication, start-up, etc.). 
Doing research with Dr. Stacy Smith and the Media, Diversity, and Social Change (MDSC) Initiative has been one of my best experiences in my time at USC. It seemed like the perfect sort of research for my interests by mixing business and film/TV. Being a double minority (black and female) trying to get into the entertainment industry, I care a lot about how Hollywood and the Academy represent our society. There is too much diversity and interesting characteristics of all types of people that we have to offer to only show a very limited perspective in film and television. Our discoveries in the research have also made me more aware as an aspiring filmmaker to change it up a little bit and ensure that I am representing our world and not just a small sector of it. Furthermore, Marc, Stacy, and Kate are great mentors and just awesome people all around!

Tell us about something you're involved with here (a sport, a club, a cause) and how it's changed you.
I am greatly involved with the USC Track and Field team and was selected as a Team Captain this year. What I’ve learned from my experience at USC is how to come back from defeat and go after new goals. Character is built in losing and so while I always strive to win, I have found that I learn so much more and find my greatest accomplishments after coming back from defeat. I have learned to not be afraid of failure and to not let doubt dictate my success.

What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has been time. I do pretty well with time management, but being able to fit in all that I want to do before I leave USC is virtually impossible. There is just not enough time in the year to take all the classes that interest me, practice and compete at an elite level, make awesome animations, do internships, and still make it to Ground Zero for a milkshake.

What's your plan for after graduation? 
After graduation, I will still be competing in the NCAA Championships, so I plan to go after the title in the 400m Hurdles. I am also training to prepare for the Rio Olympics in 2016. After all of that, I plan to work for a film studio, either in production or storyboarding for animation.

What advice do you have for incoming students? 
I advise incoming freshman to meet as many people as you can and develop strong relationships with them. Everything is about your connections so don’t be scared to reach out for help and even to lend a helping hand. The worst that can happen is someone says “no” but you will still be in the same position as you were before so there is nothing to lose. Also, people like to help those who help others, so be kind and help people whenever you can.