Jennifer Bellingham’s Dominican experience was so rewarding that she wound up being hired by the University to create a promotional video about it.
A 2017 communications graduate with triple minors in business, graphic design, and leadership, Jennifer started her own video production business in 2018. Soon after she was hired by the University to produce a video introducing The Dominican Experience.
“The video has been by far my biggest hit and the feedback has been incredible. It was also a blast because it is so representative of our campus,” Jennifer said. “It was a very organic video. The voiceover was done by a Dominican student (Alyssa Pedersen ’18). The director was a Dominican student (Jennifer). And the person leading the project was a Dominican student twice (Jaime Libby ’12 ’16 MA). It was very true to Dominican’s roots, which is awesome.”
For Jennifer, the video was the culmination of her learning experience at Dominican, which started the first day she stepped on campus as an American Canyon High School senior. She was taking a tour of Dominican with other prospective students and they were all introduced to professor Bradley Van Alstyne, then chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies, and assistant professor Stuart Horne, station director for Penguin Radio.
“They put us live on radio and I hadn’t even been accepted yet,” she recalls. “I thought, `Wow. This is so cool. They really rope you in.’”
“I was driving home after the tour with my mom and we both loved Dominican, but I was telling her I’m going to be bummed if I don’t get accepted. By the time we got home, my acceptance letter was there. It just happened to arrive in the mail earlier that day. That was it for me. I believe in fate, and that was the most fated thing that could have happened. I didn’t look at another school.”
There were the other telltale signs for Jennifer at Dominican. During her sophomore year, she was urged to attend a Broadcast Services meeting by then Director Leona George Davidson. Though Jennifer had little experience in creating videos, she was appointed as the lead videographer for a project with the San Rafael Film Center.
“Having Leona invite me to that meeting changed the course of my Dominican experience and my career. That was a pivotal moment,” Jennifer says. “The people in the Communications department are the kind of people who will create opportunities in order for students to be active in their careers and pursue what they love. Those kind of people are educational innovators. And you see it happening across campus. It’s not just the Communications department. There are incredible people here.”
By the start of her junior year, Jennifer was managing a team of 25 students in Broadcast Services. She directed fellow students in radio and video projects for Dominican and outside organizations like TedX Youth and Make a Wish. Jennifer was so good at her job on campus that her mentor Leona George Davidson suggested she start her own business.
“I knew that it was not going to be easy, but doable,” says Jennifer, the first in her family of Scottish immigrants to graduate from college. “Dominican was promoting me and investing in me and letting me pursue this career.”
That path led her to create Black Lamb Media, LLC a few months after Commencement. It also led her back to Dominican to produce The Dominican Experience video.
“It was the Dominican campus and community members that really came together. It shows how powerful the Dominican network is” she says.
For The Dominican Experience video, Jennifer’s vision was to create a fast-paced, engaging video that exuded fun and energy. She wanted it to be authentic and light-hearted. The key, she said, was finding the right person to be the voice of the video. She auditioned four people, and she said Alyssa Pedersen clearly stood out. The tone and pace of Alyssa’s narrative were vital.
After about three months working on the project and many hours spent syncing the University’s message through Alyssa’s voice and Jennifer’s video editing, The Dominican Experience video was launched in October of 2018.
“There was a lot of time invested in it,” Jennifer says, “Seeing all those pieces come together alongside Alyssa’s incredible voiceover was dream-like because what I imagined in my head was coming to life, and that is really what Dominican is about.”