Interview with Laura Fillbach

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Talk about your background and how you ended up in the MFA program.

“I am 41 and I have two kids. I have worked in a variety of different fields. I was a mom for a long time, and then I worked in schools and in the nonprofit sector.  I’ve always been interested in using technology in the work that I’ve done and so I decided that once my kids got a little older I wanted to go back to school and choose a path for myself. I looked at what was around the Burlington area and when I found Champlain’s MFA program it seemed like a perfect fit for what I was interested in and what I was capable of. So that’s how I ended up here.”

What projects are you working on outside of class?

“I’m a fellow here so I supervise the Video Team. Right now we are working on a project that is a series of recycling videos for the Agency of National Resources. Last semester we did a video project about the Vermont Climate Economy Summit. We’ve made a lot of smaller videos that show what goes on here at the Emergent Media Center. It’s been a really great experience doing all of these things.”

So do you like the video side of things?

“Yeah, I do. It’s something that when I came into the program I wanted to do a little bit more of. I had done a little bit of basic video, like for Community Access Television before I came here. I was interested in learning more about that, so I took an elective Cinematography class, which was really cool and it was actually taught by a graduate of this program!”

How have you been able to bring your outside projects into the classroom?

“I’ve learned a lot from the students on the Video Team and through the classes I’ve taken. The skills that I’ve been learning through my fellowship have allowed me to parlay those into the projects that I choose in class and so I incorporate my video and editing skills a lot.”

How has the MFA program helped you enhance and advance your projects?

“I wouldn’t be doing the projects that I am doing without this program. I think it’s been a really cool introduction to a lot of different topics and fields and it’s been very eye opening. The program lets me know what is possible, what’s out there, and and what I want to delve deeper into, because I can’t delve into everything that I’m being exposed to.”

How do you see the MFA program helping you to reach your short-term and long-term goals?

“I’m hoping that short-term I am able to develop a strong thesis project that is meaningful and that I’m excited about. I’m hoping that all of the things I’ve done in the program are going to help me find a job; that’s my long-term goal. When I look at all of the jobs out there, I am optimistic that I will be able to find something that I enjoy because of all of the skills I am building in the program.”

What words of wisdom would you have for someone who is considering the MFA program?

“I would say to come and visit! It’s pretty exciting! I would tell someone who isn’t sure they want to join the program to learn everything they can about it and don’t be afraid if you don’t have a technological background. The program is really designed for people who have a variety of different backgrounds, and that’s part of the value of it. You learn to work together with people who have different skills, which is something that I think is the future of jobs. That’s one of the things I’ve learned here– there is so much value in putting together a team of people with different skills because it allows you to be able to do things that you couldn’t do by yourself. People from a wide variety of backgrounds can come into this program and add value, as well as gain value.  Incidentally my undergraduate degree is in anthropology.”

What has been your favorite memory from the MFA program so far?

“One of the things I like best is the process from imagining a project to actually executing it and seeing it get done. It’s happened to me several times in the program and I really like that process. I love imagining the project, knowing what needs to be done, and maybe enlisting other people to make it a collaborative effort. It’s very gratifying to be able to realize something that you thought of and see it through. I also love not having the skills to do something, and then gaining those skills.”

Keep following along as we post more MFA interviews!