Media Center Coordinator Polk guides, mentors students


The media center, located in Beardsley Hall, is a place that remains a mystery to many students during their time at Swarthmore. The media center is where you can go when you want a nice workspace to collaborate on a short film, work with Photoshop, print models with the 3-D printer or anything else design-related. Home to computers equipped to fulfill all of your  design and video editing needs and the faculty to help you learn to use all of them, the media center is a powerful resource that students often don’t take full advantage of.

When you need someone to guide you through Photoshop, teach you how to edit your videos properly and effectively, or give you general words of wisdom, Jeremy Polk is the faculty member for you. Polk is the media center coordinator and manages any and all activities, from class workshops to individual projects.

        Saying that Polk is the Media Center Coordinator is similar to saying that the Swarthmore experience is only endless nights of studying: it’s definitely a defining factor but doesn’t come close to painting the entire picture.

        “Before this I was working at the National Science Foundation, doing video production, short form documentary, and I was simultaneously going to film school in DC,” Polk said.

During this time, with the spontaneity and fearlessness that can only be explained by youth, Polk decided to start a new chapter in his life in Brazil.

        “I left that job without anything else lined up, which was probably foolish, but I still felt young enough to do that, and I went to Brazil for seven months and taught English, and while I was there I also applied for jobs,” Polk said.

        Polk’s bravery and love for adventure doesn’t stop there. Before leaving for Brazil, Polk did not speak a word of Portuguese, but his knowledge of Latin from previous schooling and his love for learning helped him quickly pick up the language.

        “When I went down, I went to a bookstore and bought a ‘teach yourself Portuguese’ book, used that to get started, and then I was pretty much forced into learning by necessity. I think one of the first phrases I learned was ‘My Portuguese is not very good, and if you could speak a little bit more slowly, maybe I’ll understand,’  and because I could memorize that phrase, I could just say that anytime, and then people would slow down and it made it easier to pick up words,” he said nonchalantly.

        His ability to go to a new country and pick up the language exemplifies his innate love for learning, one of many things that makes him a great mentor, teacher, and addition to the Swarthmore community.  Once he completed his work in Brazil, Polk came back to United States to assume his current position as Swarthmore’s Media Center Coordinator.

“The fun part of my job is sharing what I know about Photoshop, After Effects, and video editing with students,” Polk shared.

Polk didn’t leave his desire to pass on knowledge to and enrich the lives of others in Brazil: he is passionate about sharing his knowledge with students and fellow faculty, whether that means teaching them the basics of Photoshop or the skills necessary to complete a school project they are working on in After Effects.

        Polk stressed how accessible the resources in the Media Center are.

        “If the faculty are doing a digital storytelling project in a class they’ll just send us an email. If a student organization or specific person wants to learn about something they’ll just send me an email.” He hopes that the space becomes more widely recognized as the great resource that it is.

        Whether you need help learning how to use Photoshop, After Effects, video editing, want to hear about his adventures to Brazil and Antarctica, or just bounce ideas off an amazing guy, Jeremy Polk is the person for you. He is elated to be able to share his knowledge and experience with curious students so don’t leave him waiting; head over to Beardsley and take advantage of the great faculty and amazing resources.

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