Roshan Patel

Class of 2008

Current Position: Producer, Netbox Collective
Major: Biology
Other Degrees: MFA, Science and Natural History Filmmaking, Montana State University
Current Location: Bozeman, MT

A liberal arts education at William & Mary exposed me to the idea that what I enjoyed learning could apply to what I chose to do as a career. While I studied biology, I had exposure to courses and groups exploring anthropology, community engagement, performance art and environmental policy. While I had a fondness for studying topics like ecology and animal behavior, a liberal arts education made me consider how the field I was pursuing fit into a picture coherent with the other topics I considered important to my values and identity.

My job is to produce films communicating science, which is perhaps the most ideal combination of interests I developed at William & Mary. It combines my love of storytelling, exploration of scientific topics and the added challenge of communicating it in a way that could be relevant to educate or impact an audience that I feel could benefit from that knowledge. It is a specific career I would have never chosen had I not considered the significance of merging science with community engagement, or anthropology with storytelling.

More than anything, a liberal arts education has taught me to be open-minded to how people think and interact with information. Understanding the contexts of what makes something important to someone has allowed me to explore topics with an open mind; ultimately allowing me to tell a story that feels authentic. I've learned this is not a common skill, and it’s allowed me to enter communities that completely disagree with my perspective on a topic and still be willing to enter a thoughtful conversation.

In many ways, the most valuable aspect of my education was the process of considering how one field is influenced by and can influence another. It allowed me to choose a non-traditional career, such as science filmmaking, which I'm positive I wouldn’t have developed an interest in without the influence of a community that valued arts and storytelling, and a strong sense of community engagement. Entering a new field has its challenges, but being able to be adaptable, open-minded, and have genuine curiosity to know more are values I saw everyday at William & Mary.