Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University media arts student Shanea Strachan wrote and produced a video public service announcement for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April that promotes the university’s Campus Violence Prevention Program.
Strachan, 20, a native of the Bahamas, who transferred to Highlands this year to study filmmaking in the Media Arts Department.
“Filmmaking is such a powerful tool for tackling social issues and bringing about positive change,” Strachan said. “This is what I want to do as a filmmaker. I always want my films to have a strong message that empowers at least one person.”
Strachan wrote and produced her first video when she was a 16-year-old high school student. The subject was teen pregnancy. In 2011 she launched Abstrac Films, an independent production company.
This semester Strachan is taking a videography class with media arts professor Kerry Loewen. He suggested that students pick topics for their videos that they felt passionate about. Strachan said this inspired her to produce a video for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“I’ve never been sexually assaulted but have close friends who were, and it’s heartbreaking,” Strachan said. “I’m a big advocate for counseling and getting the help you need. I think it’s very important to help raise awareness about the services that the Campus Violence Prevention Program provides for students, like counseling.”
Her video is posted on the Highlands University website at http://www.nmhu.edu/campus-violence-prevention-program/sexual-assault-awareness-psa-from-shanea-strachan-on-vimeo/
Strachan said she’s thrilled with the opportunities in the Media Arts Department.
“It’s exciting in media arts to have access to so much good equipment like HD video cameras and the latest video editing software,” Strachan said. “The professors are always there to help. They’re amazing, and I love it here.”
Filmmaking is just one of Strachan’s artistic pursuits. Soon she’ll be a published author and is also a poet, with one of her poems featured in her video.
After her father died in 2010, Stachan wrote a 12-chapter memoir, Life Doesn’t JUST Go On. She said it’s about having the strength to move forward after tragedy.
With her aunt working as her agent, Strachan had three contract offers from publishers for her book. She chose Signalman Publishing, and her memoir will be published this summer as a softcover book.
“It was therapeutic to write my book, and I hope it will help other people who have experienced major loss,” Strachan said. “I think my ability to write is an inherited gift. My father was also a writer.
“I consider myself an artist, and writing, media and music are my palettes,” Strachan said.