In 2005, Hurricane Katrina gave New Orleans native Paul Gennaro a new purpose in life. He set out to make a documentary film about struggling families in post-Katrina New Orleans. There was one hitch: Gennaro, an aspiring screenwriter, didn’t know much about documentaries, or film production in general. He also did not have a bachelor’s degree. When he found The New School, he decided to correct both deficiencies.
Gennaro walked into his New School admission interview feeling anxious. He was attracted by The New School's tradition of progressive education and its historical connection with philosopher John Dewey, but says, "I wasn't a traditional college candidate. My academic background was nonexistent, but they gave me a shot, and it made all the difference."
The New school offered Gennaro the opportunity to finish his degree while focusing on media and film through its unique Bachelor’s Program for Adults and Transfer Students.
"The flexibility the teachers gave working students was unparalleled. If someone needed an extra day for an assignment—no problem," he says.
During his first year in the Adult Bachelor’s Program, Gennaro took a digital media course taught by David Arcos. He says Arcos introduced him to several people at the United Nations, where he was able to volunteer as a photographer and film editor. Not long after arriving at The New School, Gennaro found a job working full-time as a video editor in the office of legal affairs at the UN while he finished his bachelor's degree.
Following his graduation from the Adult Bachelor’s Program in 2012, Gennaro decided to continue his education at The New School. In 2014, Gennaro graduated with his MA in Media Management from the School of Media Studies and, today, works as a producer for the United Nations’ Office of Legal Affairs where he oversees the production of the International Law Lecture series. In 2014, Gennaro completed his post-Katrina documentary, Washed Away.
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