LEAP Student Highlight – Kierstin Rounsefell

Kierstin is an undergraduate student majoring in Communications Studies with a LEAP minor

The LEAP program recognizes that success in the arts is being redefined in the 21st century, and that the skills needed to be a successful artist extend beyond the studio, stage, and performance hall. An innovative mind, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for the arts are all essential for success. These principles are not just exclusive to artists, but serve all students well, no matter where their career leads them.

The LEAP Institute for the Arts not only provides on-campus and online students the professional resources they need to become more marketable, but will let students and professionals explore other career opportunities in the creative sector, including arts administration, jobs in mainstream entertainment, and opportunities in creative industries and beyond. I had the chance to speak with undergraduate student and LEAP minor Kierstin Rounsefell about her experiencing just that while in the LEAP program.

Why did you decide to add the LEAP minor?

I decided to add the LEAP minor after two years of being undecided.  During my freshman and sophomore years of college, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to pursue.  After taking a wide variety of classes in various subjects during the first two years of my college career, I ended up being even more unsure about what I wanted to study than before.  When hearing other students be so sure about their passion for a certain subject, I felt confused because I wasn’t in love with any class that I had taken yet.  Eventually, I decided to sit down and think about what really made me happy and how I could form both a study and career path based off of that.  One thing came to me right away, and I was surprised I hadn’t thought of it before: music.  I am absolutely fascinated with music and the music industry, especially seeing live shows and meeting artists.  Since I’m not a performer anymore, I wanted to delve into the business side of the industry.  When meeting with my advisor to get her suggestions on my thoughts, she recommended the LEAP program to me.  Right away, I knew that this would be a perfect fit for me here at CSU.

How do you think the skills you learn in LEAP could help you in your future career?

I think that the skills that I learn over the course of the LEAP minor will definitely be helpful to me in my future career.  As of right now, I am really interested in being either an artist or tour manager.  Both of these require a lot of knowledge about the arts in general, event planning, business, etc. which the LEAP course requirements all touch on perfectly.

What classes or aspects do you like most about the LEAP coursework? Does it directly relate or integrate into your major coursework in any way? If so, how?

My favorite aspect about the LEAP coursework was the required internship.  At first, I was hesitant about it because I hadn’t planned on getting an internship during college.  However, I stumbled upon an amazing internship opportunity this spring at a CSU career fair and am so glad that I could integrate that into my coursework here.  This summer, I was a marketing intern at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre where I got to learn an incredible amount about the business side of the music industry.  I was technically the marketing intern, but also helped run 23 shows this summer by working hospitality and operations.  Throughout the 6 months of the internship, I got to learn speak to tour managers and see what their job consisted of, confirming where I want to head after college.  I also got to learn a lot of technical skills ranging from how to run advertisements on Facebook to how to finalize settlements and settle with tour managers.  If I wasn’t required to take this internship, I honestly can’t say if I would have and I would have missed out on an amazing experience.  During the LEAP classes that I have taken so far, there have been pieces here and there that I have been able to connect to other content that I’ve learned in my various communications classes.  I’ve recognized different organizational similarities as well which is helpful because I’m able to connect different concepts and use similar learning styles.