Pioneer Spotlight: Tyler Tollefson
When he started working for UW-Platteville’s Media Technology Services as a student, Tyler Tollefson had never picked up a video camera before. But, he quickly found his talent and now, a decade later, he works as a videographer and editor for MTS, supervising students as well as doing video production and managing classroom technology.
How did you become interested in this field?
I didn’t declare a major until halfway through my junior year. A friend of mine had been working at WSUP and suggested we do a show together, and I finally gave in. We had a radio show that summer, and that got me involved in WSUP the upcoming semester, which is how I caught wind of Media Technology Services. At that point, I’d never picked up a video camera in my life, but it stuck. I switched over to the broadcasting program the next semester, and now I’m sitting in this office.
You are the staff advisor for WSUP now – what is it like advising the station you worked for as a student?
I just started advising WSUP last summer. It’s cool to see the business side of it; I’m learning as much as I can as fast as I can. A lot of the past general managers have offered their advice and acted as a sounding board, and that’s been helpful to me. I know what it takes to do the day-to-day end of it – to DJ and make a show sound like a show – but now I’m learning the backside of it. I’ve been working with past general managers, and the folks out at Queen B radio have been really helpful. They are a great bunch of students; we’ve come a long way in one year, and we’ve got big plans.
If there is one, what does a typical day look like for you?
My position has evolved into the utility infielder. We do video production, classroom technology installation, troubleshooting and training people on hardware and software. I do all of those things, and I’m typically working on anywhere between five to 10 videos at a time, where I’m either writing script, shooting video or editing. But, then on a lot of days, I’ll get called to go check out a classroom technology issue or I’ll be meeting with faculty to train them on how to work on a piece of hardware or software. Over the summer, I’ll be shifting more into classroom technology and doing some installations and editing a lot of video, since there is not as much to shoot on campus in the summer.
What do you like most about working in a university environment?
I love working with the students. We had a good crew this time around. The student staff is very energetic, and I can relate to them because I worked here as a student.
What do you enjoy doing in your time outside of work?
Lately, assembling a lot of baby gear – my wife and I welcomed our first child, Lincoln James Tollefson, on May 24 of this year. I’m big into theatre, I’ve done a few shows with the Heartland Festival. I just was cast in the Wizard of Oz this summer in Dubuque. I’m going to be the Cowardly Lion. Wizard of Oz is the first musical I ever did in high school – and I played the Cowardly Lion – so I’m excited to do that again. My wife and I also like to kayak, scuba dive and travel.
Interview conducted by Alison Parkins, Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.