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Student Spotlight: Isaiah Gunther, Dean's List student and senior in media studies

Gunther talks about his classes, family, and how he has been affected by loss during the pandemic

Isaiah Gunther, media studies major

Meet Isaiah Gunther, a senior majoring in media studies who grew up in New York and chose to attend Auburn because of his family ties to the area, and his passion for film. He is active with the Auburn Film Club and Eagle Eye Television, and plans to continue his pursuit of higher education after graduation. Gunther also talks about his family, and how he has been affected by loss during the pandemic. Read more about Gunther, below, in our interview with him.

How did you decide on your major?
I decided on my major when I was around 14 years old. In high school, I was my guidance counselor asked: “what would you like to do?” and I said I wanted to major in film production. My family on both sides (New York and Alabama) are economically challenged, but rich in spirit, so I was the recipient of many parables from my grandmother in NY and both grandparents in Montgomery. Their wisdom motivated me to be authentic, so using film provides me an opportunity to educate, equip and engage through documentaries that could benefit the U.S.A. (Underserved Stigmatized Abused).

How did you choose Auburn?
Alabama is the birthplace of the civil rights movement; my father's passion is American history, and my mother is from Montgomery, Alabama. I was born in the concrete jungle of NY but spent many years in the South with my family who educated me about their humble beginnings. I thought that leaving NY after graduating from Tuckahoe High School would provide me an opportunity for my family to be part of my higher learning experience. I want my family, past and present, to see that their sacrifices are greatly appreciated.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Even at an early age, those around me have influenced me to always continue to learn. I would like to continue my education and earn a master's degree. Since knowledge is power, and I will be the first grandchild (male) to go to college, I want to set an example for my siblings and create hope for them to follow me in the path to education.

What is your favorite aspect of being a student at Auburn University?
Auburn offers so many great opportunities that it is difficult to choose just one. Some of my favorites parts of Auburn are the Auburn Creed, being on the plains, being a part of Emerge (freshman year), working as a residential assistant (junior), my work-study experience in the math department, earning Dean's List honors (freshman GPA 4.0 and junior GPA 3.8), going to football games on game day, and being part of a diverse community with one common goal!

What has been one of your favorite classes so far?
To be totally transparent, I enjoy school and all the classes I have taken. So, all classes intrigue me but I would like to say my film classes because I can get engaged in filming. I really enjoy being hands-on and engaged in my film classes.

How has the current pandemic affected you?
The pandemic has greatly affected me and my family. I lost my uncle in NY on my twenty-first birthday due to Covid-19. Then a few weeks later, my uncle in Montgomery. The new norm is not normal and I have encountered some health issues myself during these difficult times. I have family in NY and Alabama that I haven't seen since Christmas 2019, and I was not able to intern this past summer. Although the pandemic has been difficult, it has also become a distraction as I await to commence my senior year. Most importantly, this pandemic is teaching me the value of living in the moment!

Tags: Students Communication and Journalism

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