Where are they now? Keshav Srinivasan's Journey from Presenting at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) to Pursuing a Life in Academia
October 26, 2021
Upon graduating from Dodge with a Film Production degree in 2019, Keshav Srinivasan pursued a Master’s degree in Film and Screen Studies at the University of Cambridge, England. Now, based in Brooklyn, New York, he teaches film classes at a community college and is in the process of acquiring his Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. With this credential, Srinivasan hopes to teach English abroad next year then apply for NYU’s Ph.D. program down the line. He attributes much of his success and newfound passion for teaching to his experience presenting at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and the support he received from his faculty while at Chapman University.
Academia was never a part of the “big 10-year plan” for Srinivasan, who has always had a niche for making films and directing. Both are still his number one passion in life, yet there was always something about the theoretical aspect of film that intrigued him in the back of his mind. “I always loved writing essays, but I was hesitant to call myself a film theorist or film academic, and I didn’t know if I even wanted to be one of those people,” Srinivasan explains.
It wasn’t until he took a course with Dr. Kelli Fuery, where he experienced what a life in academia might look like. “When I took a course with Dr. Fuery, she mentioned how she liked the theory behind one of the topics I touched on in a paper. She told me, if I was interested, I could develop it with her a little more and publish it in Film Matters Magazine.” Although it was ultimately not accepted into Film Matters, Srinivasan completed the paper that would then be presented at NCUR, titled The White Man’s Burden and the Effects on the Apologetic Othering in Cinema. “The process of writing the paper, realizing that I enjoy writing about film theory, while also getting encouragement from Dr. Fuery that it is something I can do, made me realize how much I enjoy the academia aspect of film,” Srinivasan further explained, “I think this was the catalyst that made me want to apply into a post-grad program in film theory.”
The Center for Undergraduate Excellence supports numerous students each year to present at NCUR. This conference welcomes scholars from all disciplines and various universities. Through this annual event, NCUR creates a one-of-a-kind environment to celebrate and promote a variety of undergraduate student achievements. At the same time, presenters get an opportunity to see what other prestigious scholars in their field are researching. Without the experience of presenting at NCUR, Srinivasan’s life could have been drastically different. Here at CUE, we always encourage students to step out of their comfort zones and explore life’s many opportunities through academic research and creative activity.
With this newfound love for academia, Srinivasan successfully graduated from Chapman University and pursued an M.Phil in Film & Screen Studies at the University of Cambridge in England. Srinivasan ultimately completed his dissertation on Sergei Eisenstein’s early films and how they evolved into modern-day media by comparing Eisenstein’s films to the music video “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar. He found this topic fascinating because although these works were developed in such early days of cinema, the techniques that people like Eisenstein and Vertov used were very progressive.
Reflecting on his time abroad Srinivasan explains, “Going to Cambridge, I was able to meet students from all sorts of different backgrounds, different interests, and different programs. In a way, I felt like I learned so much more about the world and different points of view on certain topics. It helped me grow as a person.” While he spent an entire year in a completely different country, Srinivasan grew new perspectives on the world that revolved outside the world of film. He was recently offered a new job to teach underserved communities through a 6-week long workshop—an introduction to film teaching course that specializes in teaching film to kids and teens with learning disabilities.
When asked about his advice for students at Chapman University, Srinivasan explained the importance of being open to new and uncomfortable experiences. “I am one of those people who like to have their life planned out for the next ten years. It was a long journey to realize that these ten-year plans never go according to plan.” He further mentioned, “At some point, it is important to realize that you have to let go and see where life takes you. Don’t hold so tightly onto one thing because everyone else is doing that one thing. You have a very long life ahead of you, and that means you have a long life to decide what you want to do, and you have a long life to change what you want to do.”
If you’re interested in connecting with Keshav for career mentoring or advice on life, feel free to send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in presenting your scholarly research or creative activity? Apply to present at NCUR here! The application deadline is November 19.
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