Payton Burkhammer is one of the members of the Fall Class of 2020 chosen as a student speaker for the virtual commencement scheduled Saturday, Dec. 12, at noon. She is graduating with a B.A. in Communication Media Studies and a Minor in Consumer Marketing.
Hometown: Marietta, Ohio
High School: I attended Marietta High School and then Parkersburg High School. I graduated from Parkersburg.
Q: How did you come to choose your major?
A: I have had a passion for pursuing the arts for as long as I can remember. By the time I was 9 years old, I was auditioning for roles in community theatre. In high school, I continued pursuing theatre, music, speech, debate and writing. I loved any kind of story that I could get my hands on. When looking for college programs that combined all my passions, the Media Studies program at Akron seemed like the perfect fit.
Q: What brought you to The University of Akron?
A: I toured many different schools before deciding to pursue my undergraduate degree at The University of Akron. However, many of the schools I looked into only had journalism or film programs offered within their communication programs. When I learned about the Media Studies concentration at The University of Akron, I knew that it aligned well with my plans for the future. As soon as I stepped foot on the Akron campus, I knew it was different from any other school I had visited. The students and faculty that I met on my tour were so excited to share their experiences on campus and what made this city so special. After three years of attending the University and living in Akron, I easily say that it has become my second home.
Q: What’s next?
A: I am excited to say that I am using my degree to enter the workforce. Though the semester hasn't come to an end quite yet, I am actively applying to jobs in the surrounding area.
Q: What college experience contributed the most to your personal growth?
A: The experience that contributed most to my personal growth at Akron was being a part of my campus television station, ZTV. I was able to grow my professional skills and network with industry professionals in ways I've never experienced. I have met so many friends throughout this program that have pushed me to learn, create and do my best. I will always have fond memories of staying up all night editing my latest video projects with my best friends by my side doing the same. I've been able to apply the skills I've learned from ZTV to every internship I have gotten since I joined the program.
Q: Best advice you ever got from a professor?
A: Strive for excellence, not perfection. It is easy to over criticize your work and pick apart things until you see small imperfections as big failures. It is important to learn to take imperfections in stride and accept that not everything you do can be perfect, but can still be great.
Q: Where’s your favorite place on campus? Why?
A: My favorite place is easily Coleman Common in the fall. With all the beautiful trees, flowers and lots of other students walking by, it is the perfect place to study, listen to music, or simply take in the campus.
Q: Biggest surprise about college life?
A: Before I started college, I was expecting rigorous course loads, large classes and professors that may not give you the time of day. If you’re an Akron student, you know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. All of my professors have gone above and beyond to serve their students in and out of the classroom. I've never walked into a huge lecture hall filled with people I don’t know. My classes are always filled with familiar faces and enough work to challenge me, but still allow me to have a social life outside of school work.
Q: What’s your advice to incoming freshmen?
A: Join something! 2020 has been a challenging year to meet new people, so it is important to step outside of your comfort zone and participate on campus. Join an organization or club, go out to events, ask your roommate out to lunch — do as much as you can in the short amount of time you have. It all goes by faster than you think!