Student Spotlight: Shankar Dayal
Shankar Dayal, originally from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, is in his third and final year pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in graphic design with a minor in photography. Dayal worked as a graduate assistant during the production and post-production of Longleaf Studios’ documentary The Forgotten Creeks, which premieres on Alabama Public Television this week.
Tell us about your work on the documentary. What was your role and how has it benefited you?
I worked on various parts of the documentary, such as operating the camera, helping with light and other property setups, etc. My job was to stay close to the director as he described how the scene and light setup should be and to ensure he got everything for the shot. As a grad student, I had the opportunity to teach and guide the undergrad intern students with camera and light terms and setting up for shots. In post-production, I made some animation clips for the documentary.
When did you know that JSU was the right school for you?
In 2019, when I finished my undergrad in visual communication and 3D design back in India, I decided to study in the US because it was my dream to study here. Choosing JSU was a bit of a random choice, to be honest. I hoped to go to a college that teaches 3D design and graphic design with an MFA degree, but I couldn’t find a college that met all my expectations. I saw that JSU offers an MFA degree in graphic design, so I applied for it, and now, I am about to graduate.
What are some benefits of your major?
Designing is fun. Whenever I’m working on something, I feel like I’m playing a game. The purpose of graphic design is to make our lives easier and more enjoyable by creating engaging designs for information. Through my work, I also get to express my individuality by incorporating my character and personality.
What is your favorite thing about JSU?
My favorite thing about JSU has been the friends I’ve made. I have friends from different countries, so I get to learn many things from them, like their culture, music, and food. It’s interesting to see the different perspectives that my art friends from other countries have on art.
What is one way that you have grown during your time at JSU?
I have improved my focus on work and communication skills after coming to the US.
What is your favorite course that you have taken?
I love photography, and I especially like the alternative process of photography class. I also love tabletop game design classes and design studio classes where I can work on projects with my ideas.
Any recent accomplishments?
Whenever I see my name in the credits of the documentary, I feel like it’s a lifetime achievement. Additionally, Mr. Seth Johnson gave me an opportunity to act in one of his documentaries: Lagarde: A Natural History. It’s a small clip, but it’s a big achievement for me.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I need to gain work experience in the corporate world, so I will work in the US. My long-term goal is to become a teacher.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I try to make spontaneous jokes- that’s what my friends say about me. I am very good at problem-solving, I’m a multi-skilled person, and I think out of the box.
What advice do you have for first-year students?
Be grateful to be here, and enjoy as much you can during your college life!