When Joey Howard ’19 was an English major at Transylvania University, he would be working on a piece of creative writing and think to himself: I want to film that.
It’s this liberal arts spirit, this urge to explore creative ways to share his vision, that got him seriously working with cameras and led to his current job as his alma mater’s digital content specialist. He was honored for excelling in this role earlier this week when he received the Recognition Team’s most recent Essential Piece Award.
Howard’s deep connection with the school community helps him tell the stories of faculty, staff, students and alumni through videos and photos. “Working in an environment where you have a personal connection with people allows you to showcase it visually in a way that’s more intimate and showcases the vital elements of it that an outsider really couldn’t understand,” Howard said.
As a student, he’d eat lunch with his professors or just hang out and chat with them about life during office hours — things students at larger schools might not get to do. “That’s a relationship you’re not going to get anywhere else,” he said.
Howard also pointed out how the tight-knit community helped him gain confidence and develop into a full adult. (In return, he also supported fellow students as a resident advisor.) “Transy became a real home for me,” he said. “I had a wonderful time as a student. It was a real life-changing experience.”
After graduating, Howard leaned into his media arts background and, along with good friend Sanford Weakley, launched a videography and photography business before joining the Transylvania staff. “My two first clients were a restaurant I worked for in college and my college itself,” he said.
Outside of work, Howard and Weakley started an organization called Three Sheets to the Wind. Using grants and other public funding, he films live-session videos of local musicians while also helping them promote community groups of their choosing. He sees it as collaborative art making for a public service.
That goes back to his liberal arts background, setting off in a new direction or field of study to see what you can create. “Some of the best classes I took were outside of my major,” Howard said.