In the Spotlight: January 27 Campus Connections

Alumni Profile
Madison Holbrook, SMCC to USC

Madison Holbrook came to SMCC to learn about filmmaking. She’s now earning her bachelor’s degree at one of the nation’s top film schools, whose alumni include George Lucas (Star Wars, American Graffiti), Jon Landau (Titanic, Avatar) and Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13).

After earning her associate degree in Communications & New Media Studies in 2018, Madison transferred to the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, where she’s majoring in Film & Television Production.

For her senior thesis at USC, Madison is producing a student film that was featured in The Hollywood Reporter for being the first senior thesis in the school’s 90-year history to have an all-female and gender-nonconforming crew. After she graduates this year, she plans to fulfill her longtime dream and pursue a career as a film producer.

While at SMCC, Madison learned about all aspects of filmmaking in her classes and produced a film for the annual Maine Mayhem Film Festival, which showcases the filmmaking work of senior students. She also worked on film crews for an independent short film and a TV commercial, gaining real-world experience while still in school.

Madison credits SMCC with providing her a comprehensive college education. Besides learning about film production, she was an RA, served on the Student Activities Committee and worked as a work-study student in the Advising Office.

“I feel like SMCC prepared me to transfer anywhere. I loved SMCC and the experience I had. If you don’t know exactly what you want, it’s a great place to get involved and explore your interests.”

Student Profile
Tyler O’Brien, USMC to SMCC

Tyler O’Brien chose the U.S. Marine Corps over college after high school. But when his military service was complete, the first thing he did he set his sights on SMCC.

After graduating from Old Orchard Beach High School, Tyler served four years in the Marine Corps, primarily at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. When he left the Marines, he returned to Old Orchard Beach, where he worked and saved money so he could buy a car to get him to SMCC.

At first, he was nervous coming to college seven years after last being in school. But the faculty and staff quickly put him at ease and it didn’t take him long to discover his love of learning.

He’s active in student organizations and has taken on leadership roles as president of the Science Club (formerly the Astronomy Club) and on the executive board of the Student Senate.

Tyler is slated to earn a degree in Liberal Studies this spring. After graduation, he intends to continue his education at a four-year school, preferably in the Greater Portland area.

SMCC met Tyler’s expectations ― and more ― thanks to the great people at the College, he said.

“I came here thinking, ‘I’m going to class and then I’m going home.’ But one thing led to another and I got involved in a lot of things outside of the classroom. You’re only going to get out of SMCC what you’re willing to put into it. Nobody’s going to hand it to you.”