Bronco Spotlight: Tirrea Billings

Bachelor of Arts in film, video, and media studies, 2016; Master or Arts in communication, 2020

Communications Manager at the Kalamazoo College Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL) and CEO/Co-Founder of Reflct Media, LLC

As the communications manager at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, I am responsible for the management of all digital communications for the ACSJL. I serve as the ACSJL’s principal writer and editor of online content for our websites, electronic news outlets and social media. I also serve as the primary lead on all digital marketing and communications strategies for the ACSJL. Additionally, my company, Reflct Media, is a docu-style storytelling company that highlights personal narratives, social issues, and underrepresented voices in marginalized communities. 

If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?

My previous internship was at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on the communications team. This year-long internship allowed me to gain hands-on experience on all things communications on a large scale. I was responsible for monitoring the media to help build the monthly media report, reviewing internal news postings, and conceptualizing video content. I aided in the completion of projects like planning communications around the 2019 National Day of Racial Healing, the design of the 2018 Annual Report, and the planning of a video project about the cultural traditions of breastfeeding with Indigenous Women Rising. Additionally, I completed several internships in media production at various organizations, including Overneath Creative, Public Media Network, ImageStream Creative Communications, Bronco Productions, and Rogan Productions.   

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?

From undergrad, my former professor and mentor, Dr. Jennifer Machiorlatti, prepared me and molded my passion for film and storytelling. In graduate school, my advisor, Dr. Anna Popkova, pushed me to dig deeper into the theoretical frameworks to help broaden my understanding of storytelling and its role in communication research, especially as it pertains to social justice and activism. 

What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?

The biggest experience that impacted my career path is being a graduate teaching assistant during my Master’s program. Being a TA really helped me discover my new-found love for teaching and working with college students. Now, I have plans on pursuing a PhD in communication with an emphasis in social justice and activism. I want to become a professor and encourage other students who may be interested in film or communication to use these disciplines as a tool for social change. 

What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours? 

Stay the course, even when things get hard. Be open to new things because you never know what you might discover, especially about yourself. Lastly, having a support system is so important. Surround yourself with people that help you grow and aim to be the best version of yourself.    

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