For Tara Wellman, being both in front of and behind the camera has become second nature. The ‘08 Scott Community College graduate and freelance television professional has done everything from host a local Mediacom Cable show called Inside Sports to produce ice skating coverage for NBC during the last two Winter Olympics.
“It’s mind blowing,” Wellman said. “This last January at the U.S. Championships, that was the last event before the Olympic team was named, Michelle Kwan was there. She’s the only athlete I’ve ever had posters of on my wall.”
“She came up and we chatted a bit and it was one of those ‘look how far I’ve come moments. I just carried on a conversation with Michelle Kwan,’” Wellman said.
Meeting the two-time Olympic medalist is just one of many highlights in Wellman’s career. She has also worked with legendary figure skater Scott Hamilton as a producer for one of U.S. Figure Skating’s online pre-event and post event shows and directed countless live sports telecasts for Mediacom Cable.
“As a freelancer, all of that has taken me across the country. I travel a lot and that’s been a really exciting part of this process…seeing new places, meeting new people and working with a lot of people who have some incredible experiences in the television industry.”
To look at her now, so confident and outgoing, one would never know that the very thought of interacting with strangers (let alone her childhood idols) would have sent her into anxiety mode ten years ago.
“I was so, I wish there was a stronger word for shy, I was so afraid of life outside of my bubble,” Wellman said.
She attributes her experience at Scott Community College for pushing her to explore the possibilities outside of her comfort zone.
“I think it sort of eased me into the college experience a bit, without being hit by all of that at once,” she said.
“Because the classes were smaller, I was actually almost forced to learn how to engage with people I didn’t know because I couldn’t just sort of disappear in the back of the class and be forgotten about.”
Wellman said knowing she could easily transfer once she received her Associate in Arts degree made the decision to attend SCC an even better choice. She ultimately transferred to St. Ambrose University and majored in journalism and television/radio production.
Lindsey Ramsey, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ Regents Transfer Advisor, said stories like Wellman’s are common. EICC partners with dozens of colleges and universities to ensure the process is as seamless as possible by providing well-established transfer programs.
In addition to the competitive tuition rates and experienced faculty, starting with EICC first and transferring later also gives students who struggled in high school a fresh start, whether that be socially or academically. EICC keeps track of upcoming college visit days at four-year institutions so students can get a feel for where they may be interested in attending.
“These visit days are beneficial because they can learn about things they should be doing. Then they can access their home community or the network we have at the community college to gain valuable experiences like internships, observations hours or practicum hours.”
Both Ramsey and Wellman agree the key to a successful transfer experience includes doing your homework and communicating with advisors to plot a path that works for you.
“I don’t think if I jumped right into a four-year college I would have ended up in the same place,” Wellman said.
“Everyone’s situation is unique. It doesn’t take a cookie cutter one size fits all to be successful.”
To learn about the transfer process and how it can work for you visit eicc.edu/transfer or contact Lindsey Ramsey at 563-336-3489.