Get to know some of our College of Media students! Grace Johnson is a Class of 2022 media and cinema studies major. She is also a past Ebert Fellow.
What excited you about majoring in media and cinema studies here at Illinois?
In high school, I found myself being passionate about representing marginalized communities in media, especially Black girls and women. As I was researching MACS programs, I knew I wanted to find a program that focused on how to critically assess media, ways to increase representation in media, and give me skills in producing films. I remember coming to UIUC after getting accepted and got to participate in some early College of Media events. I got to see that the college was intimate, and it was easy to quickly access resources and find people to support you.
What has been one of your favorite student involvement activities here?
I was a radio DJ for WPGU 107.1, the campus radio station, during freshman year. They have alternative music and specialty shows. I was able to choose the lineup of the shows and music, I spoke during the breaks as a host, and did some editing. I met so many of my peers as a result of this experience. It was such a great experience as a had lots of flexibility and room to grow and learn in this role.
Which MACS class has been most valuable for your pathway?
MACS 356: Sex & Gender in Popular Media was very valuable for me. Race and gender in the media are things I am interested in, and this class helped me develop skills in analyzing these concepts in media. The professor was great and very informative. They equipped me with great analytical skills that helped me be cognizant of the issues that occur on screen and in other forms of media.
What advice would you give an undergrad student in the College of Media?
Speak up in classes! Engage in conversations regarding race, gender, and other marginalized identities. Media is critical for shaping our perceptions of these concepts, and so these are conversations that are critical as well. Do not be afraid to be critical in discussions, be willing to have a discourse even when disagreements occur. I would also say get involved as much as you can to build your network and acquire skills that you may not know you need.
—Interview by Jake John, Graduate Assistant for Media Career Services