University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

Kosi Dunn
Transmedia Storytelling, 2017

Kosi

Internships: Words, Beats, and Life Saturday Arts Academy; University of Maryland, Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy

Study Abroad: Morocco

Extracurricular Activities: I'm a spoken word poet. I've been performing, competing through "slam", and hosting at Busboys and Poets (Hyattsville and Brookland) from the age of 17. I'm the founder of UMD's Spoken Word Collective and a resident of the Jimenez-Porter Writers House. In my capacity as Black Student Involvement Community Organizing Student Intern for the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy, I deal with several student groups (Black Student Union, Caribbean Student Union, African Student Association, and Ethiopian Student Association, and The Hip Hop Festival to name a few) regularly to advise students and provide resources. I love tap dancing, beat boxing, longboarding across campus, playing Pokemon, and hiding out in Art-Soc library to read or teach myself to draw.

IVSP Experience: I'm an autodidact. I perform best, I've found, when given the space to teach myself. I was a writer in the Art Scholars program studying to be an engineer when, one day, I left CHEM135 a bit early to pen what would later become a script for a graphic novel. I began teaching myself to draw. Someone sat beside me once as I was etching a pretty poor rendering of a tomato and asked "What do you major in?" I responded, jokingly, with "myself", and have since decided to make it true. It took some introspection to realize what I wanted to learn. It took a ton of hard work to prove to myself and others that it was worth learning. The challenge of the IVSP proposal process helped me trim the fat of my crazy ideas and cook up something really delicious! I was empowered with the freedom, outside the confines of major requirements, to pay closer attention to writers and artists who looked like me and to combine my interest in technology with my passion for the arts.

There's an assumption that, in IVSP, you have to have your idea clearly defined before you can begin to propose it. That's not entirely true. It's more honest to say that I jumped and, to borrow a cliche, built my wings on the way down. I knew I wanted to grow into a career writing and producing stories that fit neatly with how we consume media in the digital age. I didn't, however, know what I needed to know to do that. IVSP inspired me to think critically about my college education and to pinpoint the skills I wanted to develop by the end of my time here. I was invited to search for a mentor invested in my growth, and continue to seek resources and guidance from the IVSP staff and other departments. I'm thankful for the opportunity to teach myself when I can, knowing I have plenty of helping hands when I don't! My advice for prospective students is to trust yourself. After all, everyone’s an expert on themselves.


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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
Appointments: 301.314.0023  Email: individualstudies@umd.edu
IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies