Meet the Face of Columbia College Chicago's TikTok
Just a few years ago in the halls of De La Salle Institute, a high school on Chicago’s southside, Alexia Tamayo was directing.
These weren’t small student films per se. Tamayo was a part of the school’s yearbook team trying to find content that captured their high school years. Tamayo found creating TikTok videos helped pull her more shy or hesitant classmates out of their shells.
“I was trying to make it more fun for them,” Tamayo says. “And TikTok was starting to hit off at the time, so I was like, ‘Oh, why don't we do a pose like this?’ I would make kids do little dances so we could put it on our Instagram page and then be like, ‘Oh, by the way, these kids were in the yearbook photo shoot.’ I was just trying to tie it in together.”
Now a junior studying Social Media and Digital Strategy in the Communication department, Tamayo is back behind the phone camera as an intern in the Admissions office. She creates content for the college’s recently launched TikTok account and runs other social media profiles. At Columbia, she continues to find ways to harness her creativity, share others’ stories, and prepare for a career her teenage self could have only dreamed about.
Tamayo is a first-generation college student, and when the college search began, she was overwhelmed with options. Growing up in Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods, Tamayo was familiar with Columbia’s reputation for being a home for creatives. When she spotted the Social Media and Digital Strategy program on the website, she knew it was the school for her.
“I read the course descriptions and different classes, I was like, ‘Okay, this is it. This is what I'm going to major in,’” Tamayo says.
She knew she made the right decision during her first year. One of her classes involved creating a social strategy and content for a real small business. Seeing the process from start to finish confirmed her choice to study social media and digital strategy.
“I fell in love with both content creation and content strategy, and that project gave me that reassurance, I was like, ‘I'm in the right space. This is what I want to do,’” Tamayo says
When she spotted the opening for a Social Media Intern for the college’s Admissions office, she saw a perfect fit. The position was charged with managing the office’s presence on ZeeMee, a college admission-focused social media platform, and with starting and creating content for a TikTok account.
She jumped right in to create unique video content that shows what makes Columbia special in a way that speaks to perspective students.
“I just want them to have a feel for what Columbia is, and even though it is digitally,” Tamayo says. “I want to showcase that Columbia is not your traditional school and Chicago is our campus.”
With a combination of videos that play on the latest TikTok trends (the Pedro Pascal edits are her current favorites) and content that highlights the Columbia experience and admissions process, Tamayo finds that the college community is embracing the new account with open arms.
After only a few months, she’s already been recognized on campus as the “student from the TikTok” and her peers are jumping at the opportunity to be a part of content creation. That willingness has opened up a new angle of storytelling for Tamayo.
"I learned from this internship that a lot of people love to talk about themselves, and it's not a bad thing, it's actually a really good thing,” Tamayo says. “I was surprised at how open people are when I go up to them. They're just willing to tell me about themselves and I can tell them about myself. Storytelling overall I feel like has become more personal for me.”
As the account quickly grows, Tamayo looks forward to telling more stories and giving perspective students a look at Columbia through the eyes of a current student.
Follow Columbia Admissions on TikTok and ZeeMee today.