An archaeology major at Bryn Mawr, Joanna Forscher ’02 works today as a documentary director, producer, and showrunner. Her personal highlight reel includes No Passport Required with Marcus Samuelsson for PBS and "Creators for Change: Girls’ Education with Michelle Obama" on YouTube.
On No Passport Required, she serves as executive producer and has directed two episodes, including one set in Philly. “Through the lens of food,” she explains, “we explore the origins of the Italian diaspora in Philadelphia and their journey from marginalized immigrant group to vital part of the American cultural and culinary tapestry.”
But Forscher is most excited about her work as director and executive producer on "Creators for Change: Girls’ Education with Michelle Obama," a short film for YouTube that focuses on the work of the Girls Opportunity Alliance in Namibia, Vietnam, and India. The first episode tracks the experiences of adolescent girls as they struggle to pursue their education.
“It was truly thrilling to film with Mrs. Obama,” she says. "She is a powerful presence with a unique ability to bring people together, highlight our commonalities, and strengthen the connectivity between our global community. She is also incredibly warm and funny, and seeing her interact with the students in Vietnam was especially lovely.”
Forscher credits her Bryn Mawr experience with giving her the core skills she needs in her profession: researching and digging deep into the material, finding connections in the myriad details that emerge, and making dense material accessible to a general audience.
But perhaps even more important, she says, “Bryn Mawr helped me develop my voice and gave me the backbone to go out into the world and take risks, constantly aim higher, and never shy away from a challenge.”