Ashley Knapp Named Freshman Experiential Learner of the Year

The first-year student used her inaugural Field Period® to try a different career path.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Keuka College freshman Ashley Knapp enjoys photography as a hobby, but wanted to learn more about its ins and outs. So for her first Field Period® opportunity, she decided to not only learn more about her hobby, but explore photography as a potential career choice.

Ashley, a child and family studies major, spent January working in the College’s Office of Marketing and Communications with Brett Williams, digital media producer. Not only did she learn about photography, Ashley says, she gained a better understanding of multimedia in the workplace, and how to become more thoughtful in taking photos.

“Throughout this Field Period®, I definitely explored new styles of photography and escaped my comfort zone,” says Ashley. “With the help of editing, I discovered how to create multiple versions of a picture that can have different meanings after the editing. Stylistically, I also learned different concepts about angles, especially when taking portrait and landscape photos.”

This career exploration and learning helped Ashley earn the College’s Freshman Experiential Learner of the Year Award. The award is given annually to two students—one freshman and one upperclassman—and recognizes the College’s longstanding emphasis on experiential learning while celebrating student achievement.

In addition, Ashley received a Konica Minolta Scholarship for Graphic and Print-Related Experiences for her Field Period®. Konica Minolta provides funds to be used during an internship or Field Period® to promote the advancement of graphic and/or print-related studies.

Nominated for the award by Assistant Professor of Psychology Nicholas Koberstein, Ashley believes she “definitely learned more about how multimedia is used for marketing purposes at Keuka College.”

“This is a well-deserved award, and I think Ashley has a natural knack for what we do here,” says Brett. “She is creative and she truly ‘gets it.’ In just a short amount of time, I had a high level of confidence in her abilities. I had a lot of faith in her—I could give her directions and she successfully completed anything I asked of her. She has a great personality, is fun, energetic, and fits well into our office. She also has a terrific work ethic, which is something you can’t teach.”

Ashley says Brett introduced her to the logistics of photography, including environment, daylight, and the focus of the photo. He also introduced her to different lenses that can be used for different shots.

Ashley also got a taste of the business and promotional side of photography.

“I loved being part of something that is a collaborative idea, and we talk about things together,” says Ashley. “Not only did I get to sit in on meetings discussing promotional photography, but I was part of capturing those photos and having them used for Keuka College’s social media accounts. When using promotional photography, I learned that there is always someone we are trying to grab with our photos.”

For example, Ashley adds, promotional materials for new prospective students requires photos of the College, its landscape, and students hard at work.

“Promotional photography is more than connecting to people—it’s also about getting their attention long enough to read whatever you’re trying to promote,” says Ashley. “With photography, you are always trying to convey what is happening in that moment, but you also put your own emotions into it, and I think that is really interesting.”

But Ashley’s first Field Period® wasn’t just learning about what kinds of photographs to take.

“I got something else out of this experience I didn’t expect,” she says. “I have never been electronically inclined, but I thought the hardest part of this experience would be learning the new styles of photography. Little did I know, the real challenge was learning new computer programs like Photoshop and using a Mac for the first time. Like anything new, it just took a little getting used to for me to become comfortable with working in editing and on a new computer.”

While Ashley knew what she wanted to accomplish through her Field Period®, she says she experienced more than she ever imagined.

“I set objectives I knew were realistic, but would also push me to explore both my Field Period® and my abilities,” she says(.) “My Field Period® was an inspiring experience that changed not only how I see my hobby, but also how my hobby could become my career. Each day was a new adventure and I got to do what I love every day. It was really exciting and interesting. I wasn’t expecting to love it this much, and I can see myself doing it.”