Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University media arts student Shanea Strachan’s book about her spiritual journey following her father’s death was published and released June 4.
Strachan, 21, started writing as a child, with her pieces ranging from poetry to screenplays. When her father died suddenly in December 2010, the Freeport, Bahamas native turned her attention to an intensely personal story about moving forward after tragedy.
With her aunt working as her agent, three publishers offered Strachan contracts for her book. She chose Signalman Publishing for her nine-chapter memoir, Life Doesn’t Just Go On.
The book is available through amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and half.com, an eBay book site.
“It was therapeutic to write my book, and I hope it will help strengthen other people who have experienced major loss,” Strachan said. “I’m an introverted person and have always written as a form of self expression. The book was hard to write and took two years. I always thought about the big picture: my goal of helping others.
“My father was a very absent figure in my life and an alcoholic. An undelivered letter of love and forgiveness I wrote to him the month before he died inspired me to write the book. I think my ability to write is an inherited gift because my father was also a writer,” Strachan said.
Strachan said her mother, Glenda, has been a lifelong blessing.
“My mother is my rock. She’s a very strong woman, and my biggest inspiration and supporter,” Strachan said.
Strachan transferred to Highlands in January 2012 to study filmmaking in the Media Arts and Technology Department. She is on track to complete her BFA with an emphasis in filmmaking next spring.
“Media arts is a unique, amazing program that gives its students the privilege of so many opportunities. We have the latest and greatest equipment, like HD video cameras and the newest video editing software. The professors are so knowledgeable and truly care about student success,” Strachan said.
She has taken a number of courses from media arts professor and department chair Kerry Loewen, with titles like videography, audio for video, screenwriting, advanced digital cinema, and HD cinema.
“Shanea has been very good at finding her own voice in her filmmaking, and has mastered the technical skills,” Loewen said. “I expect great things from Shanea. She’s very intelligent, creative and driven.”
In April, Loewen selected Strachan and two other outstanding media arts students, Arianna Andreatta and Maya Marshall, to travel to Washington, D.C. for a film project funded by the Santa Fe Institute.
The students interviewed and filmed scientists from the Carnegie Institute and George Mason University regarding the origins of life. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science will use the film for its cutting-edge multimedia exhibit, Emergence: A New View of Life’s Origins.
Highlands University media arts students developed the bulk of the Emergence exhibit in 2011 through a partnership with the Santa Fe Institute and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
For an independent study with Loewen this summer, Strachan and Marshall are editing the footage of the scientists. Once completed, the film will be used in the museum’s floor and virtual online exhibits for Emergence.
This summer, Strachan is also taking classes and working as the social media coordinator for the university’s Women’s Center. Her projects include website and other design, with plans to produce short films featuring women from the campus and Las Vegas communities. She is also collaborating with Marshall on this work.