Alumni in Action: Jenisty Colón ‘22 seeks to further diversity, equity, and inclusion in film.

Jenisty is attending the USC Annenberg School of Communication after graduating from Chapman in May 2022. Photo courtesy of Jenisty Colón.

Jenisty Colón, is a recent Chapman graduate from the Universitys’ School of Communication and CCI minor program who is now pursuing a Masters of Communication Management at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has always been more than lofty theories for Jenisty. During her undergraduate career at Chapman, she committed herself to using her research experiences and coursework, especially within the Creative and Cultural Industries minor, to explore, analyze, and apply the concepts of DEI to her work."

Having initially committed to Chapman as a Health Sciences major, Jenisty quickly realized that her interests aligned best with her creative interests in the film industry, leading her to change majors and add a minor in CCI. Jenisty explains that she fell in love with what she was studying and felt as though the main reason for this was because of the professors, noting “In CCI specifically, I had Dr.Maracine for both CCI 301: Studies in Cultural Institutions in the Fall, and CCI 303: Cultural Organization Management in the Spring. Because of these courses I can confidently say that I was able to explore my passions of film and diversity further which ultimately led me to wanting to explore the same subject matter at USC”. She explains that she fell in love with diversity in film thanks to the individualized projects that CCI allowed her to take on.

I was able to sit down for a conversation with Jenisty this Fall to talk about CCI and what her life has looked like since graduating in the Spring.

PC: Why did you decide to pursue a minor in CCI?

JC: I had a friend who originally had the minor first and they were telling me all the great things about it. Such as how you could tailor it to your specific interests and I quickly realized that that was true. Even in classes where there were specialized topics, I was still able to tie in my passion for film and diversity one way or another. Whether we were talking about diplomacy one week or going ghost hunting another.

PC: What was your favorite part about the minor?

JC: I think just that aspect of tailoring it to whatever you want to tailor it to was something really unique, and an aspect that not many other minors have. For example, I had a friend steer their projects and research assignments to the fashion industry. Then I had another friend tailor them to acting, and as for me, I decided to not just look at the film industry but rather how diversity operates and exists within it and that sort of led me toward becoming an advocate for more inclusive rights and representation within the industry.

Jenisty seeks to tackle diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the film/tv industry. Image by Angelina Bambina from Shutterstock

PC: What do your plans look like as of right now?

JC: I’m currently working full time for the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative which is basically a research center at USC that, according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, works to “develop targeted, research-based solutions to tackle inequality.” I met with Dr.Maracine when I started looking at grad schools and she told me about the initiative because she knew how much I loved diversity in film and she recommended that I check them out. So after getting into USC, I reached out to them and expressed how this initiative was one of the major reasons why I wanted to go to USC and how much I wanted to work with them.” Fortunately, I was given the position of Student Researcher and I have been working with them since May.

PC: What has been your biggest impact or take away from the CCI minor?

JC: My biggest takeaway from the program was learning about how integrative and impactful the creative and cultural industries are in our world. Whether it's fashion, film or art, it all comes together in an all encompassing way and I think that's the really cool thing about CCI. In today's society it's interesting to see just how much importance these sorts of industries have on people and how much impact they have on social change, environment policies, and issues that impact our world in a positive way.

JC: How did CCI shape your post grad journey?

PC: CCI has played many roles in my post grad journey. Obviously I was able to touch on the film industry in my communications classes. However, with CCI I was able to dip my feet in that pool directly and continuously specialize my research in that field. I think in a way the uniqueness of CCI definitely gave me a leg up in the USC application process.

PC: Do you think that made you stand out in your application?

Jenisty currently works as a Student Researcher for the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative which seeks to research, advocate, and act upon DEI across various industries. Photo taken from, courtesy of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

JC: Yes, I would say so! Chapman is one of the first schools in the U.S. to have a minor dedicated towards exploring and analyzing multiple creative fields and topics at once. I feel like Communications is so broad that having a well-rounded but unique minor showed them that I do have an interest in film and diversity in film and I’ve done projects that have helped me to analyze those issues in a deeper way.

PC: What are your plans for the future?

JC: Honestly I really hope to work for a film company within their diversity sector, either on the production side or in the research side. Or I might even consider getting my PHD.

PC: What piece of advice would you give to current CCI students?

Jenisty's graduation photo. Photo courtesy of Jenisty Colón.

JC: Honestly my advice would be to just take advantage of not just Chapman’s resources but CCI's resources. For example, in one of Dr.Maracine’s classes she constantly invited guest speakers from every industry which helped give me a behind the scenes look and made it easier for me to imagine myself in those different professions and think about whether or not I would be interested in doing what they do. I strongly encourage students to follow up with speakers and stay in contact with them if they find a particular job or industry interesting. Additionally my advice would be to make yourself known to the professors within the minor such as Dr.Fuery, Dr. Larkin, Dr.Maracine, etc. because they are all amazing people who are willing to help you succeed and make an educated decision about your future.

The Creative and Cultural Industries minor helped Jenisty develop a better understanding of what specific aspects of her life she was interested in and what careers she wanted to pursue post graduation. Addressing DEI issues has since been central to Jenisty’s education as she works toward promoting a more unified and diverse community within the film, television, and entertainment industries. We want to thank Jenisty for her time and insight on the Creative and Cultural Industries at Chapman, and we're excited to see how how continues applying CCI concepts out in the world.

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