Education Without Boundaries
Billie Weiss came to Goucher with only a general idea about what he wanted to do academically. But, he says, "I knew Goucher was very open and had a lot of things that students can get into and a lot of extracurriculars."
During his freshman year, Weiss did some reporting and photography for the Quindecim, Goucher's student newspaper. Since then he served as the paper's photo editor for two years, and now he is going to be the editor-in-chief. Most importantly, though, he found an academic direction and a career calling.
Weiss declared a communications and media studies major and set about taking classes in photography, journalism, communications, and film studies. He also took the initiative to land some very impressive internships.
"I've had some really cool experiences while at Goucher," he says. "Last year I was the photography intern for the Baltimore Orioles for the entire 2009 MLB season. I grew up in Baltimore watching the Orioles and being fan, so it was just incredible being down there on the field taking pictures of people I've idolized growing up and meeting a lot of professional photographers. I really learned a lot."
This summer Weiss was the multimedia intern for The Baltimore Sun, where he took photos, shot video, and did interviews - including with Cal Ripken Jr. and Michael Phelps. "It's been great to get the feel of a real newsroom and see what journalism is like in the real world," he says. "I've learned technical skill, how to take better pictures, how to take better videos, how to report better, and how to talk to people. I've also learned how to be a professional and work in a professional environment."
With the help of Goucher's Career Development Office he also received classroom credit for both internships, as well as stipends to defray the costs of working for free.
Weiss says his experiences with the O's and The Sun solidified for him that he wants to work in photojournalism for a newspaper or magazine, preferably covering a major league sports team. He also hopes to bring the skills he learned from these internships back to Goucher, especially to the school's newspaper.
He says his work on the Quindecim - known as The Q on campus - is what he is most proud of and what he spends most of his time doing. This demonstrates a tremendous commitment to the paper's success because Weiss also spends several hours a day practicing and training for the tennis team.
"To go out and hit a tennis ball every day for three hours after a long day is a great way to de-stress," he says. Weiss also has been named the team captain, which he feels is a great leadership opportunity.
Hearkening back to the abundance of opportunities that originally brought him to Goucher, Weiss is glad that because the college is Division III he is able to play tennis, but still can get involved in a lot of other things, such as working on The Q, studying abroad in Buenos Aires, and holding down on-campus jobs as a statistician for the men's basketball team and as freelance photographer for the college's Office of Communication and alumni magazine, The Quarterly.
Weiss would advise students who come to Goucher to take advantage of as many opportunities as they can, to get to know as many people as they can, and to sign up for as many things as they can. "There have been so many opportunities where I met someone and then later on they've helped me out with something. It's a place where everyone wants you to be successful and wants you to be happy."Video of Billie