by Linda Hass, Published December 12, 2013
Junior Kerri Musick probably has the most viewed hands on campus. Her adroit digits are the stars of “Kerri’s Konsciousness,” a weekly web video series in which she draws pictures that tell short stories about various topics, from Eastern Michigan University’s study abroad program to homecoming. The innovative series, on YouTube, regularly attracts thousands of views.
Musick, a public administration and social studies double major, says the series is designed to help fellow students get the most out of their experience at EMU. “I wanted to do more than just make posts on Facebook – I wanted to be original, and then it came to me—pictures speak a thousand words,” says the honors student, tour guide and resident adviser who started the series this spring.
Armed with only a sketch pad, magic markers and her iPhone camera, Musick transforms intangible topics such as diversity into colorful, down-to-earth symbols that students can relate to. Her video, “The Real World,” is a perfect example. “Different is good,” narrated Musick as she drew a multi-colored door. “Different opens doors. Open doors lead to open minds.”
What viewers can’t see are the behind-the-scenes props that make each production possible, including the duct tape hammock holster she rigged for her i-Phone. The phone is positioned to capture images of her hands drawing everything from the Roman Colosseum to Swoop the eagle – in mere seconds.
Viewers also can’t see the face behind those mysterious hands – by design. “I love everything about this series, from its anonymity to the challenge of creating engaging symbols. I want people to focus on my message, not on me,” says the 20-year-old, who is on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2015.
The resulting videos are so captivating, EMU’s marketing department decided to collaborate with Musick to produce them on a weekly basis. "We first recognized Kerri's unusual and creative video style on our blog, BlogEMU.com. Her videos are amazingly simple and short yet very effective at telling stories,” says Theodore Coutilish, associate vice president, University and Athletics Marketing. “We knew immediately people would be interested in her sharing the TRUEMU experience from the student's point of view through creativity and fine writing. It's must watch video."
Opportunity for creative expression is one of the reasons Musick chose EMU from among the dozens of universities that accepted her. “Eastern has a reputation for being responsive and flexible—and the scholarship and general affordability helped,” says Musick, a Southgate native who hopes to land a job in higher education and student affairs after graduation.
Her favorite experience at Eastern thus far was participating in a study abroad program in Rome and Florence, Italy for 10 days last winter. “I visited places like the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum,” she says. “Textbooks become real when you’re sitting on the monument you’re studying about.”
And yes, that experience was captured on Kerri’s Konsciousness. Look for it, and more of Kerri's work, by googling: “Kerri’s Konsciousness, emu,” or through EMU's social media outlets.