Emily Eaglin tackles complex social issues through creative film and TV projects

Published: May 13, 2017

Emily Eaglin
B.F.A., Visual Arts (Cinematic arts)
Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Plans: Several film, television, and photography projects

UMBC has offered me a supportive, energetic, and diverse environment where I’ve been able to thrive independently on every creative, community, or academic project undertaken… I’ve learned the importance of critical feedback, community, and making my films an “us” effort versus a “me” effort.

Entering UMBC as a Linehan Artist Scholar, Emily Eaglin has combined creative scholarship with passionate engagement on social issues to develop several projects capturing the attention of local and national audiences alike.

Eaglin has worked to hone her approach and techniques in film and video to realize cinema’s powerful potential to communicate about the complex intersections of class, gender, and race with a mass audience. She has created several film projects and a web series, Marylandia (2016), while at UMBC —receiving two competitive student awards to support the research and production of that series.

Eaglin has also been very engaged in campus life as president of the student groups People United, Black Critical Direct Action Student Union (intercollegiate), and the Critical Social Justice Student Alliance. She is a member of the Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Black Student Union, and UMBC Women of Color Coalition, and taught film through the Shriver Center’s SUCCESS program. She also took the stage to welcome incoming students and their families as a New Student Visit Day featured speaker during her junior and senior years.

Connecting with a range of departments across UMBC, Eaglin assisted Bill Shewbridge, media and communication studies professor of the practice, on a film collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, served as Kate Drabinski’s teaching assistant for the “Studies in Feminist Activism” course in gender and women’s studies, and worked as a social media intern for the Imaging Research Center, UMBC Visual Arts Production Center, and UMBC Student Life.

Emily Eaglin in the Red Room of the White House in October 2016. Eaglin along with other Linehan Scholars was invited to the White House to learn about the life and work of Alma Thomas, a DC painter who broke barriers as an artist and black woman. Photo courtesy of Emily Eaglin.

Off campus, Eaglin worked as a production assistant and director’s assistant on Shots Fired, a FOX TV show that deals with police brutality and misconduct. This past March, she began work on an independent documentary film project in collaboration with the newly opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. The project will include Emily’s documentation of five workshop sessions she is leading at an Anacostia high school, focused on examining systemic violence. It will continue through October 2017, when Eaglin will film a major student march in Washington D.C.

Eaglin is also pursuing several other creative projects through the summer and fall. She’ll create a television series on local artists of color for NBC4 in Washington D.C., help to develop a film program at the Baltimore School for the Arts and teach a master class at the acclaimed school, and raise funds for Sankofa, an art museum in Baltimore that showcases art of the African diaspora.

Portrait by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.


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