Portfolio, Writing

Q&A with Annelise Tarnowski

Annelise Tarnowski, Drake 2015 graduate, Podcast Enthusiast, and Multimedia Wizard.


Annelise Tarnowski

Since being awarded the Oreon E. Scott Student of the Year award and graduating in 2015, Annelise Tarnowski has continued to do what she loves, create videos. She’s produced and directed digital content for Iowa Public Radio, Hy-Vee, and Care Initiatives for Eastern Iowa. While balancing freelance work and a full-time job at the Collaborative Education Institute, she’s also a member of the Young Alumni committee and the Central Iowa Regional Advisory Board. Through her work and involvement, she’s constantly striving to give back to the place where her career started- Drake University.

Where did you grow up, and how did you end up picking Drake?

I grew up in New Hope, Minnesota. I always felt very independent and was always looking forward to college. I started going on tours freshman year and saw around 15 colleges. I actually toured Drake three times before officially deciding to come here. What sold me on Drake was, when I came here once for a journalism preview day, Professor Wright was talking about the Relays. I asked him how involved the students were with the Relays production, already knowing the answer was completely. He offered me a position, even before I committed to Drake, to come to Relays and run a camera for the production. This sold me because it showed me how the professors truly care about your success.


What was your major and how has it affected your job?

I had a double major in Radio/TV producing and Sociology. Along with those two majors I was on the honors track and completed a thesis in that. My former client, now boss, Jen, told me she needed someone who could edit video, record, and create podcasts. My freelance work with her turned into a full-time contract. Together, we started talking strategy, how to reach alumni groups, which is everything I did while on campus. Other things such as website building, fundraising, and all these other little things that have come up while at Drake were places that this little, but really amazing, company needed help in. These skills, either learned from my major or not, played a role in helping my company be a little more successful.


What was the biggest thing you learned while at Drake?

All these little experiences have made up my big Drake experience. Being apart of the Student Alumni Association was the most impactful. It meant being on a board of students who took things seriously, but had a good time. They worked really hard to work professionally with alumni who work to make Drake look good. That group of people and the way the office functions, it felt like a job we were all supposed to be doing, and doing it well. By my senior year I was leading those people which meant I had to do an interview process, hiring people, making tough decisions, sitting down with people if they weren’t reaching their goals, coming up with processes. Sitting on that board and diving deep into it was key to my professional development.


How’d you get involved with podcasts?

I grew up in the Twin Cities and grew up listening to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). By the age of 15, I asked my parents to donate to MPR because we listened to The Current all the time. I have been a member of MPR since then. Once I got a smartphone, I never went back. It was little stories you could listen to while doing a million other things. As someone who does a million things, I liked having my brain turned on in that way. After graduating college, I missed the experience of being in a classroom and I got that experience in podcasts-having really smart people tackle really tough topics in 30 minutes. I have always wanted to work in public radio so learning about podcasts was a way to enter into that world.


Your website states you’re a Multimedia Wizard. Where did this idea come from?

I consider myself to be very tech friendly, especially with Google tools. I like learning new things, I mean I work for a continuing education company. I didn’t want to limit myself in my branding. There’s so many aspects to audio and radio producing. There’s recording, writing, directing and I do all those things. There was no good way to explain it, so I put wizard. The idea came while I was freelancing. I wanted to show people that I could accomplish anything they needed and they didn’t need to worry about any of it.


What’s one piece of advice you’d share with Drake students?

Try to experience more than one corner of Drake. Don’t spread yourself too thin, that’s not what I am saying. While at Drake I experienced Greek life. I was with the frisbee team for a little bit. I also was involved with theatre. All these experiences informed my perspective of people, learning, and I did take a lot of that stuff with me outside of the classroom. Try and find all the corners.