The ability to think creatively and work collaboratively drives success in today’s competitive and ever-changing economy. A Columbia College education meets the demands of this challenging environment, preparing students for successful careers as part of the world’s next generation of artists and innovators.
“At Columbia, I learned a lot not only about filmmaking but also about how people work together, how people treat each other, and how you become successful when you’re working with other people.”
Wonjung Bae took to filmmaking at the age of 16 in order to better understand herself, her family, and what is so Korean about the world in which she lives. A native of Busan, South Korea, Bae became interested in the contrast between two worlds: those of her mother the artist and her father the Marine. She directed the documentary Vera Klement: Blunt Edge about the prolific Chicago-based painter, and the film went on to win the gold medal in the Documentary category at the 38th Student Academy Awards in May 2011 as well as a 2010 Directors Guild Student Film award in the Eastern region, woman’s category.
“Being Columbia, to me, is taking the last Brown Line train because you were just finishing the perfect film shoot. It’s being kicked out of a building at 11 p.m. because you fell into your work and couldn’t get out. It’s learning a new skill every day, not being too serious, not being too smug or too humble. It’s something I’ve lived the last four years, and something I won’t easily live without.”
Blair Mishleau’s unique interdisciplinary major combines journalism, interactive arts and media, and American Sign Language, three departments that he attributes to teaching him to be an effective storyteller. The Wisconsin native chose Columbia for its emphasis on real-word experience and its working professionals in the classroom. Columbia, he says, has fortified in him the ability to reach out and get what he wants, which may be why he was chosen for a highly selective internship with the Logo TV network in New York City as well as internships with the Chicago Tribune, MTV, and a British online magazine in London.
“Columbia has been my door to opportunity and success and is somewhere where I know I can go back to if I ever need anything.”
Caren Oliver didn’t always want to design fashion, but she left behind her childhood dreams of being a ballerina when she saw her first live fashion show at Columbia in high school. Her studies showed her tools and technique as well as a realistic outlook on the brutally competitive fashion industry, but Oliver persevered and won BET’s Lens on Talent Fashion Competition in 2011. She walked away with the grand prize of $10,000, which she used to buy materials for her senior thesis project – an evening wear collection inspired by the idea of “turning dreams into reality” – and to help relocate her to Los Angeles to start her career upon graduating from Columbia.
“The hands-on experience that I received at Columbia gave me a unique advantage and nurtured creativity. I recommend it to everyone.”
After graduating from Columbia College, Dean Richards became what a New York Times front-page article called the "Tribune Company's man of many hats." His A-List celebrity interviews, reviews and entertainment reports can be seen on WGN-TV News and on national cable channel, WGN America. His long-time radio show, "Dean Richards' Sunday Morning" is heard on top-rated, WGN 720AM. His weekly "Dean's List/A-List" column appears in the Sunday Chicago Tribune. He has won over 30 local and national awards for programming and production, including the Peter Lisagor Award for Outstanding Journalism, the Associated Press Best Feature of the Year, and Promax International Program and Marketing awards. Read more about Dean Richards.
Mary Mitchell, editorial board member and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, has been called a "courageous" and "compassionate" voice on issues facing vulnerable communities, especially people of color. She pursued a journalism degree at Columbia College after working for 20 years at a major Chicago law firm. She landed a successful internship with the Chicago Sun-Times in 1990 and upon graduation was promoted to full-time staff writer. Since then, she has covered controversial issues including questionable practices of Utah adoption agencies, sexual abuse of women in Illinois prisons, and racial attitudes in Chicago. She is a recipient of numerous journalism awards including the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Studs Terkel Award, and the Peter Lisagor Award. Crain's Chicago Business honored Mitchell as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in the city in 2004. Read more about Mary Mitchell.
Anna Fong moved to New York to work at Chaps Ralph Lauren licensee design house upon graduating from Columbia College. After gaining professional experience in the fashion industry, Fong decided to return to Chicago to pursue her own business, the Anna Fong Collection. Her talent, creativity, and name quickly became a sensation in the fashion industry and celebrity circles. Fong's creations have been featured in Toyota's fashion design team for the I-real concept personal vehicle, Chicago's World Fashion Focus representing China, Featured Designer at Latino Fashion Week, and Model Shoot for Latina Magazine with Si TV. Her awards and recognitions include winning the 2007 Latino Fashionista and nominated as the 2008 rising star of new designers by Fashion Group International. Read more about Anna Fong.
Michael Orlove has been transforming the Chicago Cultural Center into a prime downtown music venue since joining the department as an intern in 1993. While earning his master's degree in performing arts management from Columbia College, he founded (and continues to produce) Chicago SummerDance, now in its 15th year, along with World Music Festival: Chicago, which is now in its 13th year. Orlove has been an ongoing coordinator of music programming at Millennium Park since its 2004 opening and is currently the Director of Music Programs for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. He was named one of the "Chicagoans of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune in both 1999 and 2009, and one of Chicago's "Global Visionaries" by Chicago Public Radio WBEZ and the Beyond Burnham: Chicago Matters series. Explore Michael Orlove's Chicago.
“Having instructors who were already successful in the broadcast industry was key to my education at Columbia and subsequent career. Not only was I being taught a standard of excellence from professionals in a major market, I was networking with some of the best in my field!”
After graduating with a broadcast communications degree from Columbia College, Roz Varon quickly got into the field. She was a traffic reporter for WLAK/WLIT Radio and WFYR Radio before being hired by ABC 7, becoming the first full-time television traffic reporter in Chicago. Varon updates Chicagoans on traffic snarls and construction in the morning and hosts weekend entertainment segments each Friday afternoon. She returned to Columbia to teach radio broadcasting from about 1984 to 1990. Varon's awards and recognitions include Emmy awards for her coverage of the water main break in 2003 and her "One Tank Trip" series in 2009, the March of Dimes 2005 Transportation Award, the 2002 Anti-Cruelty Society's Media Person of the Year. Read more about Roz Varon.
Len Amato recalls that the faculty at Columbia College Chicago "wanted you to start making movies right away." After graduating from Columbia, Amato began his film career as a story editor for Robert De Niro's newly formed Tribeca Productions in New York where he worked on such films as Thunderheart (1992) and Night in the City (1992). Prior to joining HBO, Amato was president of Spring Creek Productions. His producer/executive producers credits include: Analyze This (1999), Analyze That (2002), Possession (2002), Deliver Us From Eva (2003), Rumor Has It (2005), The Astronaut Farmer (2006) and Blood Diamond (2006). Amato won an Emmy® for Outstanding Made for Television Movie for Recount (2008). Read more about Len Amato.
When asked how to get your foot in the door, Mauro Fiore replied, "you can start by going to Columbia College." Fiore graduated from Columbia in 1987 and began his career working as a gaffer and key grip for Roger Corman's productions in Los Angeles. Soon Fiore moved up to become director of photography for films including Training Day (2001), Tears of the Sun (2003), The Island (2005), Smokin' Aces (2006) and The Kingdom (2007). Firore recently won an Academy Award® for Best Cinematography for Avatar (2009). Read more about Mauro Fiore.
Khosravi graduated from Columbia in 1987 and began working for CNN in Atlanta, where, today, she is senior vice president in charge of international newsgathering for the CNN News Group. In her 23 years with CNN, she has played a central role in covering the most significant international news stories of our time-including the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, the genocide in Rwanda, the Asian Tsunami, Tiananmen Square, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and both Gulf Wars. Her work has earned numerous awards, including a Peabody, an Emmy, a DuPont Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and two Overseas Press Club Awards. Read more about Parisa Khosravi.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais was on the media stand with his camera when Barack Obama accepted his presidency of the United States in Grant Park, Columbia College Chicago's front yard. The son of a migrant laborer and the first of his siblings to be born in the United States, Martinez Monsivais grew up in Chicago's Mexican-American community of Little Village. After graduating from Columbia College Chicago, he began his career as a summer intern for the Chicago Sun-Times and was then hired as a staff photographer. Since 1998, Martinez Monsivais has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press's Washington Bureau. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for the team coverage of the impeachment during the Clinton Administration in 1999, and has also received awards from World Press Photo, WHNPA, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Read more about Pablo Martinez Monsivais and see his images from election night 2008.
Tonya Pinkins had already won a Tony® Award before she even enrolled at Columbia College Chicago. Prior to coming to Columbia, Pinkins had studied at Carnegie Mellon University, but left and moved to New York after landing a role in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along in 1981. She then went on to appear in several major productions on the New York stage. Her portrayal of Sweet Anita in Jelly's Last Jam earned her a Tony® Award, a Drama Desk Award, and the Clarence Derwent Award. She has had on-and-off roles on All My Children, and her film credits include Above the Rim (1994) and Enchanted (2007). She is a published author and co-founder of an organization that works to prevent violence against women and children. Pinkins was named by O, The Oprah Magazine, as one of the "Ten Women in America Who Will Take Your Breath Away in 2004." Read more about Tonya Pinkins.
PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Learn more about attending Columbia College Chicago