Bellisario College student marshal makes the most of his time at Penn State

August 01, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Jared Kehler was making his college decision, he was weighing the merits of a big school or a small school, and moving from a high school class of 55 students to a campus of 40,000 at Penn State seemed a little intimidating.

Still, he figured the University Park campus would be a place where he could survive with his outgoing nature and thrive thanks to the many opportunities and resources available.

“There are so many people and I’m really extroverted, so that was a good thing,” Kehler said. “The big factor was that I decided I would like to have too much to choose from rather than too little.”

He chose wisely — and often.

Kehler will graduate Aug. 10 and serve as the student marshal for the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications during commencement exercises at the Bryce Jordan Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in film-video and completed three minors in music technology, theatre and film studies.

A Schreyer Honors Scholar and consistent dean’s list student, Kehler was the editor and sound designer on “Leo,” a short film that was selected for the 2019 Blue and White Film Festival. His experience with film production and editing as an undergraduate were extensive.

In addition, Kehler served as fundraising chair for the Penn State Glee Club and was a member of the programming board for the Blue & White Society. He also performed in the choral ensembles Essence of Joy and the Concert Choir.

He also learned a lot and made valuable career connections during special opportunities like the Short Doc Workshop, a four-day event that brings Bellisario College alumni back to campus each spring to work alongside students on documentary projects.

Kehler finished his final academic requirement for his undergraduate thesis a few weeks ago and plans to remain in the State College area after graduation to work on a variety of film projects. He'll also be working multiple jobs to broaden his experience and help fund his eventual move to an area, perhaps Los Angeles or New York City, with even more filmmaking options.

He’ll be busy, but not as busy as he was balancing his academics and cocurricular activities. He’s pretty sure he’ll miss that, and actually a bit sad to see things end.

“It was always busy, but at the same time I wish I would’ve had time to do even more,” Kehler said.

He clearly made the most of his four years at Penn State.

For his thesis, Kehler reviewed all four versions of “A Star is Born” and tried to put each of the films in context with the time they were made, in 1937, 1954, 1976 and 2018.

“The story is generally the same in every one, but there are changes in how the female lead gets portrayed, in terms of empowerment, and how the male character becomes a bit more vulnerable,” he said. “It’s interesting on a lot of levels.”

As he transitions toward a career in the film industry, his varied experience — from operating a camera to directing and writing — provides a wealth of options. Penn State’s student-focused film-video major offered a mix of classroom and hands-on instruction that helped him in many ways, building on his love of film and television.

This summer, he’s also broadening and building his appreciation for filmmaking.

“I try to go to every movie I can. I’ve recently started going to horror movies; that’s the one thing I didn’t do much in the past, but I figured it would only be fair to try to go to more of those,” Kehler said. “It’s been a continual learning process. Whether it’s the classroom and broadening my perspectives, learning about different equipment, or trying to figure out and create shots myself, it’s just been a great experience.”

Last Updated June 02, 2021