Riane Lenzer-White came to the U of I from San Diego. “It was spring when I decided to come, and I thought it was so nice here!” she says now.

Riane’s understanding of winter has changed dramatically over the past years, but not her desire to become a broadcast journalist.

“Going places where nobody else will go,” she says, “and talking to people to get the story and then spreading awareness and knowledge through film—that would be such a cool way to help people become aware of what’s happening around the world.”

Not surprising, with this desire to get “the real story,” Riane loves documentaries. “In broadcast journalism, you do the news, but that can become a more superficial gloss over everything that is going on. With a documentary you can delve so much more deeply into people’s lives and learn not just the way things are but why things are the way they are.”

In addition to “A House I Live In” and “Lost Angels (Skid Row is My Home),” Riane especially recommends “Virunga” (“above all others”) a documentary about the effort to save four silver-back gorillas in Africa against the backdrop of a civil war. “Virunga” awakened her to a problem she didn’t even know existed. “It’s heart wrenching but a movie I think everyone should watch.”

Film classes have enriched Riane’s appreciation of film and love of movies. “Every clip and every cut is done in a very particular away and for a specific reason, and so is the way the camera is held and the order of the clips. Taking apart the layers of a film gives it more meaning and helps you understand what the director is trying to achieve.”

She looks forward to learning more about the complexity of films and the skill that directors bring to their projects from her internship as an Ebert Film Scholar. “I’m going to be working with a lot of veterans,” she says, “and I know I am going to make mistakes. I’m fine with that, but if the people I work with can teach me how to learn from them and maybe avoid a few in the future, that would be great. I’m happy to have the challenge.”

Most of all, Riane hopes that her work now will lead to a career that brings positive change to the world: “A lot of time, people are just ignorant, not mean. If I can bring issues to light and raise awareness, maybe I can help inspire people to change. That’s what I hope people will see when they look back at my career.”