Student Spotlight: Joelle Park '19 applies her creativity in film

by Lucy Turnipseed | 10/1/19 2:00am

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Source: Courtesy of Joelle Park

Maybe you have seen her give a tour of her dorm on YouTube or heard about her stint on the red carpet of the Video Music Awards this summer. Joelle Park ’19, who is in her final term at Dartmouth, is by all accounts zealous and innovative — founding and maintaining her own Youtube channel titled “Joelle,” which has over seven thousand subscribers, is just the start.

“It’s so fun to meet people on campus who watch my videos,” Park said, addressing her notoriety. “But in the grand scheme of YouTube, it’s very small.” 

She began her channel in high school in order to practice video production, and she has continued to regularly update her channel during her time at Dartmouth. From the beginning, Park cast herself as the main character in each video and became comfortable on-screen.

“People who do watch all my YouTube videos, they know way more about me than or just as much as a close friend,” Park said. “It’s a much different platform than other forms of social media. People’s attention spans are getting smaller and smaller, so to sit down and watch even a seven-minute video takes a lot of intentionality. And it’s content that people are usually seeking out.”

On top of her personal Youtube channel, Park is also a member of Street Soul, a campus dance group. Charlotte Chui ’20, who is a member of dance troupe Street Soul alongside Park, said that telling stories is what matters to Park.

“She cares about being able to get her views and other people’s views out there in ways that you might not necessarily be able to see on TV or on the Internet right now,” Chui said.

Furthermore, Park is involved in the film and media studies department and digital arts. She has also worked with the Center for Professional Development on job and internship recruiting in the entertainment industry.

This summer, Park used her skills as an intern for Nickelodeon’s YouTube strategy development team in New York City. Park was given the opportunity, through her internship, to apply to be an interviewer on the red carpet of the VMA. The position was sponsored by Viacom, the parent company of Nickelodeon.

Park was stationed on the red carpet to ask celebrities about social impact. She was given a list of questions, to which she added the query: “At the end of your lifetime, what do you want to be remembered for by your friends and family?”

For her VMA application, she submitted a video answering a few required questions while making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“Each answer to a question was an ingredient of a sandwich, which I think they thought was just funny,” Park said. “I felt really stupid doing it, but it was just different from standing there and answering the questions.”

Through her work this summer, Park furthered her experience in production but also said she realized that being on-screen could be a viable career option for her.

 “It’s something I really enjoy, and I would hate to pursue my passion but not pursue it all the way, especially if I’m already going into a risky industry,” Park said.

During an independent study within the film department last year, Park began collaborating with the CPD, trying to connect with alumni in the entertainment industry so that students looking for internships and jobs in that area could have more resources.

Park said that the arts community on campus, however small, is quite dedicated.

“Because it is an insecure career path, there is something that drives you to do it,” Park said. “At Dartmouth, as opposed to maybe a big film institution, it is close-knit, and we are willing to fight for each other. There’s a sense of collaboration.”

Although much of Park’s time is spent in the arts, she said, some highlights of her time on campus have been taking the class ENGS 12, “Design Thinking,” for which she is now a teaching assistant, and going on the Dartmouth language study abroad program in Barcelona.

Park said she pushed her boundaries on campus and found different communities to be a part of and different ways of thinking creatively.

“She is super inclusive in terms of who she keeps around her and also the kinds of art forms she interacts with,” Chui said. “She’s always open to trying something new in terms of a style of dance or watching a new type of film or trying new art forms. Like this term, she’s taking Acting I, and that’s something she hasn’t really done before.”

Computer science professor Lorie Loeb, who taught Park in COSC 22, “3D Digital Modeling,” said she was impressed by the commitment Park demonstrated.

“I was just so blown away by her tenacity,” Loeb said. 

For one of her course projects, Park created a model of her dining room at her home and completed every detail of the room, down to the molding on the ceiling and each electrical cord, lamp and window.

“I told her not to worry about those, and she just kept working at it,” Loeb said. “If something was hard, that was just motivation for her to try harder.”

During her COSC 27 “Projects in Digital Arts” class which is the culminating experience for the digital arts minor, Park created an animated short film with a partner.

“She’s tremendously creative,” said computer science professor James Mahoney, who taught Park in COSC 27. “And she holds herself to a very high standard.”

Mahoney added that the word “grace” comes to mind when thinking of Park. 

“Everything she does, there’s a certain elegance to her thinking,” he said.

This year, as a self-described “super senior” on campus, Park has realized that she has a chance to give advice many will listen to.

“I’m glad that I have some sense of credibility with people,” she said. “I think that’s a pretty rare thing to have, and in that light I have become more aware of my actions.”