It’s not every day that a student meets a personal hero as part of their studies, but that’s exactly what happened to Tévon Knight when he got the opportunity to interview and produce a video about Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander, a University of Georgia professor whose lifework was recently honored with the creation of a new award bearing her name.
Knight, a fourth-year student in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, was immediately drawn to Bennett-Alexander’s story, and he began working on concepts for a video package celebrating her accomplishments.
“Meeting Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander is like meeting a civil rights hero in the flesh,” said Knight, who also works as a student videographer in UGA’s Division of Marketing & Communications. “A lot of pressure, a lot of work, a lot of thought went into the making of this piece, but it was easily the most rewarding piece I’ve ever done, because I felt like I was telling the story of one of my heroes.”
And it is precisely this kind of experience that compelled university leaders to make experiential learning a requirement for all undergraduates, allowing students to extend their learning beyond the classroom. UGA is the largest public university in the nation that requires all current undergraduates to complete an experiential learning requirement before graduation.
“It’s weird, because before I would never have called myself a filmmaker. I had no idea how to shoot, how to edit, put together a call sheet, speak to talent. … I had no idea about any of that,” Knight said. “But now that I’m at this point in my college career, making things like the Dawn Bennett-Alexander documentary, I am confident in saying ‘Yeah, I’m a filmmaker.’”
Watch Knight’s video honoring Bennett-Alexander.