When Taylor Schuelke ’12 scripts her life’s documentary, she will devote a significant segment to Washington, D.C., and the role connections there have played in her career. A senior-year internship in Central’s The Washington Center program, followed by corporate video assignments, led quickly to a job offer from National Geographic, where she is an associate producer for “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” a reality series about a veterinarian’s daily challenges.
“The D.C. internship made all the difference to form connections that I’m still using today,” Schuelke says. “I moved to D.C. after graduation without a plan. Connections I made during my internship led first to a job producing multimedia videos for live corporate events across the country. Two years later, I was offered the job at National Geographic, also through contacts made during my time interning.”
Schuelke, an art and French double major from Rosemount, Minnesota, chose Central for its study-abroad programs, specifically Paris. But she wanted a second off-campus experience and opted for the Washington program and an internship at Ventana Productions.
“Had I not done that,” Schuelke says, “There’s a good chance I wouldn’t be at National Geographic today.”
Her work on “Dr. Pol” involves “researching and assembling footage to tell stories that flow together in a comprehensive segment.
“This is where my artistic and liberal arts background comes in,” Schuelke explains. “There’s lots of editorial work done for narration. I do the research for my episodes and teach my team about it. I know more about veterinary medicine than I had ever planned! It’s fantastic work learning about science every day.”
Her first video production projects for the National Geographic Network were documentaries — “Inside the Mega Twister,” “The Secrets of the Giant Manta” (about manta rays in Indonesia) and “Growing Up Grizzly” (about Alaskan grizzly bears).
Her greatest experience thus far, she says, was 10-months’ work on “Mega Twister,” about the largest tornado in history.
“Approximately 300 storm chasers shot video, so my job was to piece together the story of the storm in a cohesive and comprehensive way, working with the scientist, Anton Seimon, who was constantly making new discoveries impacting the field of meteorology,” she says.
Schuelke urges students to “talk to everybody you can. Get deeper into conversations. Be creative. Creativity exists in every field and will truly enhance your life.”