Wilkes University student Christine Walsh lands RA job, YouTube following with music video
Christine Walsh’s imagination and willingness to be different got her noticed.
The Wilkes University freshman from Lebanon Township, New Jersey, made a music video as part of her application to be a resident assistant, and it earned her the job, more than 18,000 views on Youtube and attention from the school’s marketing department.
The video, which sourced the music to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson, was shot in Walsh’s residence hall with the help of fellow students including RA applicants Anne Stramara of Barnesville and Kya Lewis of Philadelphia.
“The prompt was “Tell us why you think you’d be a good RA,’ and they said to be creative with it,” Walsh said.
Walsh wrote her own lyrics to the song to tell interviewers why she was right for the job. She presented the video, complete with choreographed dancing, as a way of answering questions and presenting an idea of the kind of program she’d run if she was an RA.
“I always had this idea to make a music video with my residents, so instead of telling them about that idea, I was like, ‘Let me show them what I’d do,’” Walsh said.
“Uptown Funk” became the backdrop of the video, Walsh said, because it seemed like a good song to change the words to and tell a narrative. The narrative paid off.
“I got the job, and my two friends in the video did as well,” Walsh said.
How popular the video would become was something Walsh never expected.
“The only reason it was on Youtube was so my parents could watch it, and I could pull it up for really easy access during the interview,” Walsh said.
When Walsh uploaded the video, it got around 100 views, and that’s where she thought it would end. But, when Liz Swantek, director of residence life, posted to her Facebook page, the viewership expanded.
“I thought this would be great to feature on our website, and other people shared it to our national network,” Swantek said. “It’s phenomenal how it kept spreading.”
Walsh can’t believe how it has proliferated either.
“It’s completely mind blowing,” she said.
After the video spread, fellow students began approaching Walsh, asking her if she was the girl in the video.
“I met so many people that I never knew before just because they saw my video,” Walsh said.
The increased attention she’s been getting has come from Wilkes University and her peers.
“The marketing team actually reached out to me, and they were like, ‘We want to work with you. We want to hone in on your creativity, and we want to help you help us market the school,” Walsh said. “It was totally surreal.
Vicki Mayk, director of public relations at Wilkes, said student input in school marketing is important, and Walsh’s input is welcome.
“We like to have students involved in our marketing, because they are who we are marketing to, and we’re excited about having Christine’s talent to help integrate that point of view,” Mayk said.
Walsh said she’s also gotten job offers from parts of the country she’s never been to, including graduate assistantships at Bowling Green University and Kent St. University, and she’s seen a wave of support from family and friends from New Jersey, including her brother, Michael, who goes to school in Maine.
“We weren’t really close before we left, but he’s been super supportive, so that’s been a really cool thing,” Walsh said.
This is the second time one of Walsh’s videos has been a source of shared support among her siblings. Walsh filmed her sister, Hannah, back stage at a James Taylor concert around Christmas time in 2014. Walsh’s family got Hannah, who has Down syndrome, tickets to see her favorite musician, Taylor, for Christmas, and she got to go back stage as Walsh documented the experience.
“It got half a million views, because James posted it as his ‘Merry Christmas’ post on his Facebook page,” Walsh said. “Comments about my sister were overwhelming. It was touching, the words everyone had from all over the world.”
Walsh, a double major in business marketing and integrated media, said she’s not sure where she’ll land after college, but she hopes she can continue to use her creative abilities in any venture that comes her way.
“Hopefully I can do this as a job one day,” Walsh said. “I want to be able to do this and be creative in some way, and I think it can help benefit other people.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or [email protected]
On the web: To view Christine Walsh’s music video check out http://tlgets.me/ja6