By Jordan Beach 

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Nataleigh Long '20

Nataleigh Long’s Spring 2020 semester closed out like most students across the United States. With courses moved online, her internship adapted into a documentary project that became so much more than an alternative assignment.

Long took on an internship with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning this semester, under the direction of the Center’s director, Dr. Mason Conklin. After her first project for her internship fell through, Conklin worked with Long to adapt and complete her internship remotely.

“Nataleigh has been a joy to work with,” Conklin said. “I really leaned on her artistic sensibilities throughout the semester and was extremely impressed with her organizational skills and project management.”

In collaboration with Dr. Pam Wilson, program and internship coordinator for the Communication and Media Studies program, Conklin encouraged her to create a documentary film to capture Reinhardt University’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We came up with this project so that I could complete my internship,” said Long, digital media arts major and international relations minor. “However, it quickly grew to something bigger than the internship. I really loved the idea of capturing this historical moment. I know this will be an experience we will all remember, and I want to create something we can look back on in the future.”

Conklin views the documentary as a potentially useful resources to future faculty and students looking back on this time.

“As Dr. Kenneth Wheeler's research that documented the experience of racial integration at Reinhardt during the '60s leaned heavily on artifacts generated during that time period, I feel Nataleigh's project will prove to be a rich resource for future academic inquiry on an event that is certain to enter the history books.”

To capture the thoughts and feelings of faculty and students, Long utilized Zoom as an online meeting platform. She recorded the interviews to later edit into the final project. Conklin believes the interview process “will help students and faculty reflect on their local experience of this global crisis.”

“It is an opportunity to pause from the hectic, frustrating and disorienting new reality to explore new perspectives on historical and contemporary events and to process the complicated emotions connected to this pandemic,” said Conklin.

Throughout the project, Long continues to grow her skills in programs such as Adobe Audition to edit audio for the film and Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the video footage.

“I would not have thought about creating a project like this if it were not for my internship with CITEL. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to learn technical skills that aid me in creating video.”

As the semester and her internship with CITEL come to an end, Long plans to continue working on the documentary to create a polished final product.

“The purpose of the film is to document the experiences of students and faculty members of Reinhardt University as we all live through the COVID-19 pandemic. Because we are currently living through a historical moment, I believe it is important to capture the experiences and feelings of people while they are living in it,” said Long. “In the future, it can be difficult to remember all the details about moments we lived through.

“It is my hope that this project will act as a digital time-capsule and capture the experience as it happens.”