Heading west with alumnus Will Gilbert
Will Gilbert (B.S.’15/MC), a native of Natural Bridge, Virginia, recently worked in the Virginia Commonwealth University Office of Development and Alumni Relations where he produced videos and took pictures of featured donors, alumni and students for various communications campaigns. Next week, he’ll be taking over the VCU Alumni Instagram as he travels to Denver to begin the next chapter in his journey.
What drew you to VCU?
My mother went to VCU so growing up it was always in my head as a school of interest. I was intrigued by the possibilities at a big school in a big city, and I was drawn in by the creative vibe. By my senior year of high school, I knew it was the only university I wanted to apply to, so I put all my eggs in the VCU basket and was fortunate to be accepted.
I wanted to study theater in the School of the Arts but after an unsuccessful audition, I looked at programs where I could use the skills I gained in high school theater for something else. In my search, I came across the Robertson School and was immediately interested in studying broadcast journalism. I started the classes not knowing if I’d like them, but by the end, I loved them.
What are some of your favorite memories from your time as a student?
I did my best to be an active student so I involved myself in the Honors College, was an RA in Rhoads Hall, became secretary for the SGA and briefly worked with STAT (Students Today Alumni Tomorrow). One of my favorite activities was working on VCU InSight, the award-winning student newscast. It’s a capstone course in the journalism concentration, and I loved it so much I took it three times! I started out as a reporter and then spent two semesters as an executive producer. It was a great and challenging experience working with my peers and talented advisers to pitch, shoot, write, edit and produce a newscast for Richmond PBS every other week.
I was also fortunate to participate in the VCUQatar Leadership Exchange during my final semester. I spent a week in Doha, Qatar, working with student leaders at VCUQ on leadership techniques and experiencing the culture. I loved the city and the architecture. My favorite day during the trip was when we explored the Souq Waqif, the oldest marketplace in Qatar, walking around the thin, twisting walkways having vendors trying to sell you their wares. I would love to go back some day.
How has VCU tied into your career path?
VCU shaped my entire career path! My work in DAR definitely pushed me in the direction of working in video communications in either higher education or for a nonprofit. Although I don’t necessarily work in broadcast journalism, the skills I learned as a communications major obviously help me when shooting and interviewing. The education I received through the Robertson School and the Honors College is invaluable, and I believe the reason I see myself wanting to work in higher education is I want future students to have the same positive experience at their college or university that I did.
Why are you moving to Denver?
My older brother moved there eight years ago for work and has loved it. I’ve visited three times since then and one of my sisters has moved there as well. I love the atmosphere of Denver; it kind of reminds me of a larger Richmond. There’s so much to do and see there in terms of culture, food and outdoor activities. Denver has also attracted a lot of up-and-coming businesses, so there’s lots of job opportunity right now. Also, I’ve lived my entire life in Virginia, and it’s time for a new adventure!
What’s the last Richmond meal you had before leaving the city?
This was a difficult decision for me to make, but my intention was to have one final brunch at Liberty Public House in Church Hill. I love the food there, and the vegetarian options are great. Instead, I had my final brunch at the Boathouse with my former boss! An amazing meal, with an amazing view and a spectacular woman. I’m going to miss my DAR RAMily very much!