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#MyWheaton Alumni Blog

Posted December 16, 2016 by
Tags: The Arts Young Alumni The Liberal Arts

Q: How did you “land” your current job? 

A: My career in film and photography has led me to 14 countries in the last two years. From Lebanon to Bangladesh, I have been filming and learning the challenges of covering stories overseas as a contractor for different film companies. 

I have also been able to complete films here in the U.S., and am most proud of the video above because it is very personal to me—it is about my grandpa. I filmed it with Great Big Story (a branch of CNN), and was able to shoot and direct it. This story helped me realize that the stories I am personally interested in are also interesting to a larger audience. I loved seeing how people reacted to this video online, and how my grandpa reacted to it when he found out 100,000 people had seen him and his horse Zaxon. To give some context, my grandpa lives in a town with 600 people. The nearest city to him has 2,000 people. He doesn't have internet or a cell phone. After this video was made and posted online, he was famous in his town of 600. People he never talked to before told him they had seen him online. He still has not gotten internet. 

I am currently working on a video about microfinance and how it is being used in four different countries: China, Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh. I got this job through a consulting company that I met in Cambodia while visiting my girlfriend. A little piece of advice on job hunting: “No matter where you are, always be ready to help others with the tools you have; you never know how that connection may help you in the future.” 

What has been a highlight of your current job? 

The biggest highlights of my current job are being able to travel and shoot in four different countries and learning about microfinance. I didn’t know anything about how much microfinance is helping the poor before this job. 

What has been one challenge within your current job that you have overcome? 

The first thing that pops in my head is exhaustion. It is exhausting to travel to four different countries and interact with four different cultures, languages, and cities. I have to have a lot of grace for myself. I make a hundred mistakes everyday. 

How did Wheaton prepare you for the career/vocation you are pursuing today? 

I think the most influential classes I took at Wheaton were my photography classes with Professor Greg Schreck. I specifically remember one documentary photography class where I documented the life of a Ugandan refugee living in Wheaton. It taught me a lot about how a camera can be used to tell another person’s story, the way a camera can be used to break the ice and become friends with another person, and the power of images to tell a person’s story to others. 

What advice or encouraging words do you have to share with Wheaton students today? 

Study really hard, but don’t make your main focus your grades—instead, focus on what you are learning. Life is about learning, and life gives you opportunities to learn all the time. If you let your grades guide what you are learning, you are going to miss out on the lessons that life teaches you along the way. Basically, always have a learning attitude whether you are in class, at the cafeteria, working, etc. Also, let your passion guide what you are learning. Study abroad, get an internship, work somewhere off campus. College is only a part of your life at the moment—it is not your whole life. Work as hard as you possibly can. You may think you are stressed at the moment, but believe me, what you are facing right now is child’s play compared to what you will be facing in five years. You can handle it. 

Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Understand you are a very small piece in this world, and the most important people you should be worried about influencing are the ones six feet away from you. 

Get a job, make money, save money, and then know when you have to spend money to make more money. And get advice from your professors, not your peers. 

Why are you thankful for your Wheaton experience? 

I am very thankful for Wheaton because it offers a liberal arts degree with great professors. I really appreciate the vast knowledge that my Wheaton education provided me with. It gave me a great tool belt to pull ideas and knowledge from while I work on stories in film and photography. 

Justin Lovett sitting at desk smiling

Justin Lovett ’14 graduated from Wheaton with a degree in Communication (Media Studies) with a minor in photography. He currently works as a freelance videographer. View his videos and portfolio on his website

To connect with alumni in various careers and vocations nationwide, join Wheaton in Network, a Vocation and Alumni Engagement program that allows alumni and parents to make themselves available to advise or mentor Wheaton students and recent grads. Students and alumni are able to contact advisers or mentors to learn from their experiences.