Amit Sankaran ’17

The ability to take in and parse large quantities of information—and then discuss them cogently—is a very valuable skill.

Amit's Journey

What is one of your favorite conference projects?

I produced a short film called The Yellow Wallpaper. I was in charge of a 55-person crew. We shot over six days in the admissions reception room, which we turned into a bedroom set.

How did faculty support you?

Heather Winters (filmmaking & moving image arts) is amazing. She’s a film producer as well as a faculty member here. She’s someone I really respect and look up to, and she gave me very practical advice. She’s done projects 100 times larger than what we were doing, so talking to her helped me gain a lot of perspective and confidence.

What have you learned from your conference work?

The ability to take in and parse large quantities of information—and then discuss it cogently—is a very valuable skill. Being required to articulate your ideas in seminars, and even while choosing classes during registration week, forces you to be clear in your thinking. Through conference work here you can become an expert in something in six months. Seminars are basically meetings. I've been in meetings for four years. Everyone has something they're passionate about in class. Everyone is bringing something slightly different to the table. It was an easily translatable “business” skill, which became so applicable when I was applying for jobs.

Which clubs or extracurricular activities did you participate in?

Currently I’m the executive director of the Musical Theatre Collective. Our mission is to provide new and exciting opportunities to students interested in musical theatre. We did a production of Carousel last semester, and just finished casting our spring production of Cabaret. In addition to full productions, we also do workshops, masterclasses, and smaller cabaret-style performances of themed selections from the musical theatre canon.

During my junior year, I was a founding member of a film club called Reels on Wheels (our initial mission was to provide transportation for students shooting off-campus). Our biggest project was a film-festival, The Reelies, showcasing student work at the end of the year. We had screenings the whole day, and in the evening we held a black-tie gala with food and drinks and a full award show recognizing the accomplishments of filmmaking and acting students throughout the year.

I’m always brainstorming new clubs to start!

Did you have any internships while at Sarah Lawrence?

I’ve done internships during all three of my summers since joining Sarah Lawrence. First, I worked for a film production company back in California, where I grew up. This was an incredible opportunity for me to experience the realities of working in the film industry, and was extremely useful in my decision to step back from film and pursue my other interests in business and technology.

My next two summers I spent in marketing at tech companies, working on crazy things like virtual reality cameras and smart Wi-Fi-enabled speakers. My internships in silicon valley opened me up to a world, which I’m excited to start exploring after I graduate. My internship last summer turned into a job offer, so I will be moving to Boston to start working in June after I graduate.

Internships have helped me explore interests and decide if I want to commit my life to to something, and they’ve also given me the opportunity to build relationships at interesting companies, so that I’m leaving college with a larger network, ready for life on my own. I got all my internships on my own from online research, but the Office of Career Services has been very helpful in providing networking opportunities, pre-reading resumes and cover letters, and dealing with my general future-related anxiety.

Did you play on any sports teams?

I played two seasons on the soccer team, and was on the swim team for one season. Unfortunately, due to injuries, I wasn’t able to play for all four of my years here, but I would have in a heartbeat. I’ve always loved playing sports, and the balance between athletics and academics at Sarah Lawrence was something I really enjoyed. As a Division III athlete, I was able to always prioritize my studies, while still taking time every day to blow off steam on the field, court, or in the pool.

I made close friends on all three teams. The soccer team were my first friends at Sarah Lawrence, and I’m living with seven swimmers in a house this year. At Sarah Lawrence, a lot of our work is very independently driven, so it’s great to take a break and share experiences with other people who also love playing a sport.

What role did your don play in your time at Sarah Lawrence?

My don is Matthew Ellis (history), who teaches Middle Eastern History. I loved my First-Year Studies with Matthew, and he’s been really helpful throughout my time at Sarah Lawrence. With a course catalogue as open as ours, choosing the right classes every semester can be accompanied with some selection anxiety and meeting with Matthew to talk things out has always helped me gain some clarity and approach my academics in a measured way.

One of the beautiful things about the student-professor relationship at Sarah Lawrence to me is that while we have our assigned “don,” throughout your time here you will form close relationships with dozens more professors, who may become unofficial “dons” and are willing to meet and help you talk things out. I’ve had hour-long conversations in the gym locker room with a history professor, and breakfast meetings with film professors who, along with Matthew, have contributed to the most intellectually engaging time I’ve had so far in my life.

What's next?

I'm moving to Boston, where I'll be working as an associate product marketing manager for Sonos.