Hezreel O. Robertson: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... It Opens Doors!

Stasia Lopez's picture

Hezreel O. Robertson studied classical piano and choral music at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)-Boyce Campus. He graduated in the spring semester of 2015 with honors and an Associate of Science Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. That fall, Hezreel began studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and later graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Jazz Music. After Pitt, he wanted to combine his love of music and film, so he became a graduate student in Film and Digital Media at Chatham University in the Fall of 2018. He’s currently working on building a career in the film field.

Hezreel O. Robertson: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... It Opens Doors!

How did you choose your major? What motivated you to choose that field/profession? 
A love of music and film. I wanted to combine the two technologies. My generation is very much social media driven.

What did you enjoy about attending CCAC? Any memorable moment to share? 
As a Peer Tutor at Boyce, I enjoyed writing and creating a video-commercial for the Learning Commons. I was told that more students came in for help after seeing it on the CCAC website. Here is the link: https://www.ccac.edu/tutoring/learning-commons.php 

How involved were you at CCAC? Did you study abroad? Did you have internships or Co-Ops? Clinicals and/or practicums? Were you a part of any clubs, sports, or extracurriculars? 
I was recruited by Mark Ellison to be a member of the Men of Merit Initiative, and traveled with the group on several occasions for student development conferences. I was an English Peer Tutor in the Learning Commons. My English Professor, Mr. Reynolds, was instrumental in my becoming a tutor. Another interest that I was able to pursue was hosting Gaming competitions in the Student Union. I used the competitions to encourage students to use the Learning Commons. I was the President of the Boyce Music Club, where I helped a small group of students interested in music by working with them on getting better at playing their instruments. Mr. Jennings was my music professor and work-study supervisor. He encouraged me to revive the club. I played for two years at the Boyce Student Awards Banquet. I was also in the Boyce Choir under the Direction of Mr. Jennings and Mrs. McDonald. 

Hezreel O. Robertson: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... It Opens Doors!

Did any of these experiences lead you into realizing your passions for work and career? 
Yes. When I graduated from CCAC, I knew I could graduate from a university. And I did! I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Music. Creating the film for the Learning Commons and hosting the gaming competitions at Boyce gave me experiences that I used in both, undergraduate and graduate school. I graduated from Chatham in December 2019. In Chatham's Master of Film and Digital Media program, I created and directed my first major film work "Forlorning". Recently, it was selected for a national film festival, the San Francisco Black Film Festival. I felt honored that my work was recognized by such a prestigious organization on a national scale. 

Forlorning, a film. Hezreel O. Robertson: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... It Opens Doors!

What skills did you gain that you could take into a workplace? 
I really came out of my shell at CCAC. Being able to pursue my degree, music, and social media interests gave me confidence to try new avenues, like filmmaking, which led me to working with other types of digital technology, software programs, and new forms of technology in the film industry. 

What are you hoping to do next? What would you like to do professionally? 
I am currently working with a small film team creating an animation series. I plan to make more films, and I hope that my film "Forlorning" will win at the San Francisco Black Film Festival in June. 

How do you manage stress (most especially during these uncertain times)? 
I find that taking short breaks between tasks helps ease my stress. I remember that what I am dealing with will not last always. It will pass. 

What do you want prospective college students to know—what advice do you have for them? 
Never say what you can't do. Find others who believe in you and surround yourself with those people.

Who inspires you and why? Do you have any mentors or people of influence in your life? 
God is my inspiration for my work. Without him I truly don't know where I would be. Mentors and people of influence: I am grateful to my family and for the people who came along side me and helped to shape and support my interests. I would especially like to thank to Mr. Jennings and Mark Ellison.

Hezreel O. Robertson: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... It Opens Doors!


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Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Director of Career Services at the Community College of Allegheny County. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University in 2013 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel, college to career topics and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando, precious daughter, Maya, and playful kitty-cat Zorro.

All photos courtesy and copyright Hezreel O. Robertson