Alumna Spotlight: Euna Park '14
Euna Park '14 was an art history major at Bryn Mawr and now works as a freelance journalist and photographer in New Jersey.
Euna will return to campus as part of the Career & Civic Engagement Office’s "Listen, Learn, and Connect" event to talk about careers in journalism, media, and broadcasting from 7-8 p.m. on Nov. 11. Euna will be joined by Lakshmi Gandhi '03, a freelance journalist based in New York City, and Laura James '15, a freelance content producer based in Georgia. Students can learn more and register via Handshake.
In the below Q&A, Euna talks about breaking into the field of photography and how the culture of Bryn Mawr pushed her to take risks and pursue a new and exciting career.
How did you get involved in your current field?
Initially after graduating BMC, I had plans on pursuing a master's in art history. But after I took a journalism course my senior year, I did a 180 and found myself going to journalism school. I had always been someone who wanted to work in the visual storytelling aspect of the news world and found myself doing just that after I finished my master's. I worked as a photo editor for five years in New York, which started with writing simple photo stories and building galleries. As I worked my way through a few promotions, I began working more directly with photographers, hiring them for special projects and working with them to find valuable stories. Throughout all that, I myself was shooting photos on the side, mostly as a favor to friends. But soon enough it became more of a regular thing. Friends and friends of friends would ask me to take their engagement photos or do their holiday cards or capture their proposals. So while still working full time, I started to—very slowly—begin building my photo portfolio as a "why not?" decision. But like millions of others, I was laid off at the height of the pandemic. It put me in a position where I had to take up my camera as a means to, well, live and pay the bills. Truthfully, it was daunting to start a business in the middle of COVID-19, but work kept coming in, people were referring me to their friends, I was getting connected in various creative circles. And after a few months, I decided to make it "real" and made it my full-time career.
What part of your Bryn Mawr experience has been most important to your professional development?
Everyone I met at Bryn Mawr was driven. Not everyone may have had a plan of what they wanted to do, but everyone was passionate about something. I'd never found myself like that, though. Growing up, I was very much the type of person who did things according to the books, followed the correct way to "success" and didn't ever test boundaries. Being in an environment like Bryn Mawr gave me the opportunity to really grow out of that, to be okay with pushing limits and being confident in myself even if I wasn't always sure how things would turn out. I learned to pivot as needed and adopted this mentality that the unknown is not a scary thing. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have been able to step into my photography career. Losing a job you've had for five years to switch careers and enter a new industry—and doing it alone—could have been a lot worse had I not nurtured a grittier mentality from Bryn Mawr.
What career advice do you have for current Bryn Mawr students?
Don't let the comfort of having a cushion prevent you from growing. Experience isn't just a matter of years you've worked; it's what you've learned and how that can change where you go moving forward. So embrace the hardships and let them refine your character, because when you aren't being challenged, you aren't growing.
What made you choose to attend Bryn Mawr?
The small student body. I went to a small high school, my graduating class was 200-something students. So I experienced firsthand how amazing it is to be in an academic setting where you actually have direct access to professors and can build relationships with your peers. You could go in for consultations and meetings and know that your professors want to genuinely see you do well and grow. I was also an art history major and knew that Bryn Mawr had excellent courses and professors in that field.