Spotlight: Class of 2020 Bachelor of Media Studies Graduates

Our warmest congratulations to the Class of 2020 Bachelor of Media Studies graduates!

To celebrate our graduates, we’ve established this spotlight page where some of our graduates have shared what the importance of Media Studies is, what they will take from the program, one of their best memories of being in BMS, and a favourite project they’ve created!

Fun Fact: Our graduates this year are from around the world – Jordan, Japan, Malaysia, Kenya, India, China, Mexico, Korea, and Singapore to name just a few!

Danny Arafa

Media Studies focuses on understanding how media and society interact with one another as well as how messages both shape and are shaped by different media. The fact of the matter is that society is always changing and media is always evolving. By having a diverse analytical toolset as media studies students, we are able to navigate and utilize different media as the surrounding ecosystem shifts. Why is that important? As McLuhan said “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political. Economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments.”

One of my favorite BMS memories was getting to work on our short films in second year and then getting to screen them in the theatre at the end of term.

Mariana Arbeth Hernandez

One of the things I loved most about being part of the BMS program is the diversity of the classes. The diverse nature of the program made me gain various skills as well as to challenge myself in areas I wasn’t familiar with. After being in the program for 4 years, I became aware that the study of the media, its meaning and implications, provides great knowledge that can be related to or applied to other fields of study. Having the opportunity to explore various fields such as Film Production, Photography, Creative Writing and Information Visualization helped me shape a more concrete idea of what I will pursue in the near future, which is Digital and Motion Design. I am grateful that the BMS provided the tools that helped me develop a great set of skills to make this possible.

A great thing of the program is the relationships it helps you build throughout the years. As a cohort, everyone ends up working closely with one another, which is great because you learn how to give and receive feedback on your creative projects. The small classes and collaborative environment allowed me to build strong relationships with my peers and professors. It is hard to pick one favourite class from the core courses, each one of them truly complement one another. However, the VISA courses were the ones that challenged my creativity the most in every single project. I am grateful I had the opportunity to be part of the BMS program as it allowed me to transform my passion into my profession. This program became a great way to connect with like-minded artists and professionals in the industry.

Sean Beaudoin

One of Sean’s Favourite Projects in the BMS: “Forming a multimedia collective with two of my friends in our final year of studies together. It started as a website upon which we posted our term projects for our German Media Studies class, but evolved into an Instagram account, a video game, a number of t-shirt designs, and more. It’s been one of the most creatively fulfilling projects I’ve worked on in recent memory.”

Media studies is an interdisciplinary field by definition, so as someone who had no idea what they wanted to do before starting in the program, the ability to sample a smorgasbord of different fields as part of a focused degree program was fantastic. As someone who now only has a slightly better idea of what they want to do after graduation, I feel as though the media studies program has given me a great jumping off point for anything I might want to do.

Noor Dissi

I have learned so much throughout this program, and the most important thing that I carry with is questioning the relevance and emergence of ideas in the given context of time and space in our digitized world. I have been accepted to continue my studies in media at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences for an MSc in Strategic Communications, I will continue to exercise my passion developed throughout my time in the BMS program. The LSE program will also help expand my knowledge on the “study of organizations as communicators across the governmental, non-governmental and corporate sectors, especially in the context of change associated with digitalization and globalization.” From there, I hope to begin my career path in the socio-political sector as a media analyst and researcher. My favorite moments during my undergraduate were during my Art History courses; I always find enlightenment when researching into our history of media and how it is evolving today; such courses have been my driving force to apply for my graduate degree.

Grace Escueta


I have many fond memories of completing the diverse set of group projects and assignments with friends throughout the years and it is difficult to pick one because they have all made my BMS experience what it is as a whole. Whether lamenting over code together in an Orchard Commons lounge, frantically re-shooting and editing an entire short film the night before it is due, or creating and implementing a social media strategy as a team over many weeks, I shared so many laughs and smiles with the people I have come to know and love throughout the process that it didn’t even feel like work at times. I’m incredibly grateful for the chances I have had to see my fellow BMS classmates’ work. The project presentations during our visual arts and photography classes were among my favourites, and many of the class discussions throughout our information studies and art history classes will stay with me beyond the classroom. The lovely people I have met during my time in this program were what made it incredible, and I feel honoured to be graduating alongside some of the most creative and inspiring thinkers I know!

Emily Fuchs

For me, the most valuable part of Media Studies is twofold: the diversity of learning opportunities and the diversity of colleagues. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to take a variety of courses from different programs and fields, such as visual arts, creative writing, computer science, film studies, journalism, and more, that allowed me to develop a wide range of skills while also narrowing down my specific interests. I also met so many talented and inspiring friends through the program, who have all excelled in their own niche paths. I know that in graduating from the Bachelor Media Studies, I am bringing with me, into all future endeavors, critical thinking, creativity, and lifelong friends.

It really is difficult to narrow down one memory, as working on so many different projects with good friends always makes for a good time. I think one of my favourite memories, however, is working with my friend Alex on our final project for GERM 412. Given that the project was completely open-ended, Alex and I decided to build the Panopticon, a symbol of surveillance discussed throughout our studies, in the Sims. We had so much fun researching all of the media theorists and philosophers that we had studied over the years, creating their Sim-selves, and then trapping them in our virtual Panopticon. This project is something that I will always look back on that encapsulates how the Media Studies program encourages students to explore topics in our own, creative ways.

Hala Hawatmeh

One of Hala’s Favourite Projects in the BMS:  Designing an Interactive Infographic with her Media Studies peer Rama Naser on the Dark Realities of Christmas. Hala shares, “I loved this project because we did it right at Christmas time and I really got to be creative in making it as obnoxiously festive as possible (with Christmas Song related puns and all)! Infographic link:”

More so now than ever, understanding media is one of the strongest skills you can have in the 21st century. The Bachelor of Media Studies program get this. In BMS, has taught me to really master all facets of media, and encourages me to keep learning at all times. BMS has prepared us to enter into the world of inter-disciplinary content creation with confidence and ease.

When I first met the small cohort of 40, that was the first time I was meeting people who, like me, have been media makers since childhood and genuinely were as interested in creation as I was. I realized that everybody was just as passionate about media as I was, but all in completely unique ways. I’ve learned so much from my cohort and am inspired constantly by all the work they do. I have made friends for life in BMS and that is the absolute highlight for me. I can’t wait to keep up with everyone and watch us all help transform the media of the future!

My favorite project in the program: An interactive infographic I designed with fellow media studies member Rama Naser on the dark realities of Christmas. I loved this project because we did it right at Christmas time and I really got to be creative in making it as obnoxiously festive as possible (with Christmas Song related puns and all)!

Aidan McMillan Klajnscek


I believe that Media Studies is a great way for us as a society to receive a framework for how everything we interact with functions. We are able to properly and coherently understand what these tools do, where they came from, and why they work the way they work. I think this gives us a lot of power in understanding how to use these tools to better ourselves and better the world. Learning about the history of media and it’s current modern state has given me a lot of knowledge on how its various forms have been used as tools of oppression and, furthermore, has helped me recognize where they could be better. Learning about copyright law and policies surrounding information has been, frankly, eye-opening. To me, this knowledge is what makes Media Studies important.

Lisa Nathan’s Information Policy class. She had such respect for her students, their time, and their emotional state. She checked in with me when I was visibly feeling low, she brought a dog to class as a way of destressing, and her class, to me, was extraordinarily fascinating.

Reed Kraemer

One of Reed’s Favourite Projects in the BMS: Working on a short film as an extra-curricular activity for a BMS instructor, Alejandro Yoshizawa. The film was titled Harmony and premiered at the 2018 Vancouver Asian Film Festival.

I believe that Media Studies offers a breadth of knowledge inside arguably one of the most important aspects of 21st century culture. It gives context to how we are shaped by media around us and have been since the beginning of time. My biggest takeaway from the program will be an encompassing understanding of the current media landscape and where my talents will best fit within it. Further, it solidified which areas of media I do or don’t have an interest in, which is valuable when pursuing a career.

My favourite BMS memories come from our FIST courses with Dr. Ernest Mathijs. Lots of great films were watched, great discussions were had and the passion for teaching from Dr. Mathijs was always inspiring.

Rama Naser

One of Rama’s Favourite Projects in the BMS: “Creating an original dystopian film “Daily Dose Inc.” made by myself, Hala, Mariana, Danny, Aiden, and Tamar in second year!”

After completing this program, I see life through the lens of media, where media is everything and media is everywhere. Media is a vehicle for ideological production and consumption in today’s society, which makes it imperative for us to study and thoroughly understand the processes and consequences that underpin different mediums. Understanding media has much larger implications than merely understanding a piece of technology or a painting, instead it is an attempt to understand our entire world – including our past, present and future.

I have many beautiful memories from my time in the BMS, but all of them come down to meeting and working with my cohort on creative projects across various disciplines. I particularly enjoyed the BMS Film Festival in second year, where we all came together and celebrated each other’s original and creative hard work, showcasing our strength as a cohort.  I have made lifelong friends and connections from the BMS program and have learned the strength of working in teams that consist of people with different strengths and interests. The BMS program allowed me to explore various aspects of art and media, fueling my passion for creativity in unique and engaging ways!

Angelica Poversky

Angelica recently released a Visual EP dealing with the concept of “Consent”

The basis of media studies is critical theory. As Richard Arias said in class once, critical theory is about studying power through a critical lens. In this way, studying media is also studying how to be a revolutionary.  We learn how information can create spaces of justice and liberation in the same breath that we have learned about the histories of how it has not. Going forward, I strive to honor this discipline for what it really is and can become.

Not a specific memory, but I really enjoyed growing with the group and seeing everyone become more guided in their ambition and continue to create more meaningful work. I think back to the first film studies class we had in first year, and that was the first time I had heard the term “Male Gaze” – to now where a lot of us are actively speaking about and against injustice. I wish the best for everyone and know we are all empowered and armed with the ability to create the change we need through media.

I just released this visual EP dealing with the concept of “Consent” and want to share it with you folks.

AFTER CONSENT – Created by ANGELIQUOI? A visual spoken word EP and exploration on queer, trans, and women-aligned reclaiming of “consent” through poetry, music, song and audio collage with four poems. After Consent means prolonging the conversation, thinking and imagining beyond consent. To be After Consent is to teach sexual nurturance and true body justice outside of the rhetoric of wanting, satisfying, giving and getting. It is to move away from the scripts of how our consent gets manufactured for us. It is to be equipped with our full queer, trans power – that allows us to dream outside of systems of violence, but instead systems of care.

Here is the link:

Lan Shao

One of Lan’s Favourite Projects in the BMS: Print from VISA 250

In my senior high school, film was the only passion of mine. The diverse BMS courses have ushered me into a brand-new world, and exposed me to the diverse changes of the media. Over the past four years, I have taken part in a variety of project topics in different fields. After learning the operation modes of different media, I have become more determined that filmmaking is my passion. In the play creation and shooting process, I have been clearer of my strengths and weaknesses, which can better guide my future learning and working direction. Because of BMS, I think my cognitive thinking of things in daily life has been more thorough. By displaying our BMS arts works in the class, I have broadened my thinking, and I am glad that I can discussed with students with an interesting and creative mind. The challenging group assignments have shown me the importance of teamwork, rational time management and rational decision-making. There is a story that is worth recalling behind every projects. I have integrated my personal emotions in many of my works. It can be said that these works are different forms of mediums that carry memories of my UBC life.

In the last ASTU100 class, Kathryn asked everyone to share our learning life over the past one year. At that time, many students mentioned that the college life was completely different from what was imagined by them. The size of many classes was large. Due to the large number of students, students seldom had opportunities to effectively communicate with teachers about some issues. However, this course was different. Students had time to share their opinions with their classmates. After class, Kathryn would help every student organize the thinking to finish the assignments. Students and teachers got on good terms with each other. We took delight in discussing current events and exchanging ideas with each other. The course covered the history that fell into oblivion. As a second language learner, I could not avoid cultural shocks. So I was really grateful to Kathryn, who patiently interpreted the knowledge to me. I believe my classmates were touched by the course content and the teaching method of the teacher as me. I felt I was lucky to learn in such a class.

Amanda Thacker


I entered the BMS program with a fascination for the ways in which humans use technology, spent the majority of my four years thinking that we are in fact the ones being used by it, and leave with an understanding that no history is linear, no experience is homogenous, and no relation is one-way. I take away a lens through which to critique the ways in which inequality and oppression are written into the code of the virtual public sphere under capitalist patriarchy, and to imagine forms of supplementation.

Sakura Tominaga



There have been various kinds of technological advancements, such as AI, that are often thought to possibly replace human abilities in the future. However, through Media Studies, I became to realize how even in such a digital era, the imagination and creativity of humans could not be replaced by such technologies. The BMS program’s interdisciplinary approach to Media Studies allowed us to relate what we studied in one class to another, which ultimately broadened my perspective on how we can define “media”. I was surprised as to how many fields could be considered as “media”, and this has broadened my career options.

My highlight is the C-BEL project and the Social Media Strategy assignment we did in Information Studies during second year. It was fun to apply what we learned in class in each situation, and to work as a team in achieving a specific goal. These opportunities also allowed me to realize how interesting and suitable advertising and marketing is for me; fields that I have never considered pursuing before.

It was a great pleasure studying at UBC. As a Japanese who grew up in Amsterdam, I came to UBC and Vancouver to broaden my own perspectives, and I truly think that I was able to achieve this. I’m grateful for all the people I’ve met during my journey, and I’ll miss everyone (also the wonderful nature on campus, especially the beautiful view from the Rose Garden!). Best of luck to everyone on their new chapter of life, and see you again somewhere in the world someday! 🙂

Connie Wu

One of Connie’s Favourite Projects in the BMS: Webpage Interface Design Project in CPSC 344

Be an explorer. During my time in the BMS, I learned that there is no single answer to a question. We were encouraged to think outside the box to approach innovative ways and find variables through our creativity. With the approach in mind, I learned to combine the theoretical-based knowledge in class with insights I gained off class whenever I am brainstorming assignment and project ideas. I started to pay more attention to different things that I experienced in daily life, which leads to an interesting fact that some of my inspirations would come from small things in life that I would not have noticed before. I am grateful that I was taught to be explorative which I consider as a spirit to have as I am about to pursue my career path.

The most unforgettable memory I have is working on the CPSC 344 term-long team project that focuses on webpage interface design. Our team was joined by 3 BMS cohorts and 2 COGS (Cognitive Systems Program) students, and each of our skill complemented well with each other. While we the BMS students contributed ideas of visual design, COGS friends specialized in prototype construction. Our team collaborated so well with each other that everyone of us was enjoying the entire learning process. It was definitely a dream team, I would say. The enjoyment I had during the journey opens the world of UX design to me, which I am eager to learn more about it in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about me, please feel free to check out my YouTube channel:

Catherine Zhu 

Working on Beacon: Journal of Media Studies was one of Catherine’s highlights!

Through our multidisciplinary courses taught by passionate and kind faculty, Media Studies has been eye-opening and changed the way I view the world. Coming into the program, I was passionate about storytelling. BMS has since equipped us with innovative multimedia perspectives, while also revealing that in the space of a world where media dictates culture, there are stories which are underrepresented or ignored by dominant disseminators of information – deepening my interest in seeking and contributing to initiatives that serve to share diverse stories, and ways of knowing. Ultimately, I’ve discovered that Media Studies is important because it’s entrenched in every aspect of our lives, it’s how we all express ourselves.

One of my fondest memories is having the opportunity to meet and work with BMS students from all years to publish Beacon: Journal of Media Studies.  Having personally seen how talented and creative BMS students are, I am also grateful to now have the opportunity to help support current and future BMS students, and the growth of the program through working with the BMS team. All the very best, and congratulations to my fellow graduates!