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Passion Beat out Fear for Gabriel

By Ania Skinner

SOC Angeli Gabriel

Angeli Gabriel is fearless.

Gabriel, who will receive her MA in Film and Video May 10, has been chosen as this year’s School of Communication graduate student commencement speaker. She says the inspiration for her speech is the fearlessness she has found in her classmates, and most importantly, in herself, during her time at SOC.

“I cannot tell you how long I’ve waited to be in this industry, but I was too scared to go for it. I didn’t think I had the technical know-how,” says the former SOC Graduate Student Council President. “I realized that I’m the only person stopping myself from doing what I want to do in life, and I know I’m not the only person who has had fear stop them from doing something they’re excited about.”

Taking the first step

Gabriel received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, but after being hired to write scientific papers, she realized that the only people reading her work were those in her department.

“That’s how I came to documentaries—it was a way to share my first love of science with a wider audience,” Gabriel says.

When she enrolled in the Master’s program at SOC, one of her classes was a partnership between SOC and National Geographic, in which the class made short video stories about science-related topics. Last fall when Gabriel applied for an internship at National Geographic’s Missions Media, it turned out that the people in that department had also been her contacts in the class. That internship turned into a full-time position at the end of the semester.

“Some days I’m editing short pieces, and during others we have several video shoots throughout the day. We interview scientists visiting from around the world for one of our segments. Hearing scientists talk about their work is amazing, and seeing all of my interests come together is incredible. I love my job!”

Finding Success at SOC

Gabriel attributes many of the skills she uses at work to the training she received at SOC.

“SOC stressed that you shouldn’t be good in just one thing—you need to be able to dabble in several things. That’s what makes you more marketable,” she says. “Editing is a huge crutch in getting into the production industry. You have to learn how to piece together a good story with content and tone. Editing, producing, and lighting—those are three of the most important skills in the professional world and I learned them while at SOC.”

Now that Gabriel’s time at SOC has come to an end, she is excited to share commencement with the SOC students who, like her, fearlessly pursued their goals and worked hard until the end.

“I have had such a great time getting to know my classmates and hear about all their different walks of life. Everyone wants to tell so many different stories, and that is very inspirational to me,” she says. “It’s special to share this moment with all of them who have put in two, three, or four years of their lives here. We have all been looking towards this moment.”

Award-winning journalist and TV personality, Katie Couric, will speak at the 2014 School of Communication commencement ceremony Saturday, May 10, at American University. Ceremonies begin at 9:00 a.m. in AU’s Bender Arena. Learn more