“This group is great.  When I tell people who did not attend KU about it, it makes them jealous of what we have.” – Lindsay Kiesel

“The entire reason I’m living in LA is because of Hollywood Hawks connections. A Hawk set me up with a place to live my first month, a Hawk gave me my first internship, and a Hawk helped me get my first job, which I’ve been at for a year! It’s a wonderful network that feels like a giant family.” – Caleb Knueven

“I’m so glad my friend referred me to this group. It’s exactly the support I need as I begin my journey as a Hollywood Hawk. :) Thanks for everything!” – Sara Miller

“The Hollywood Hawks is such an amazing organization! It helps make the dream of working in the movies so much more real!” – Devin Schwyhart

“Thank you for pulling this together and doing such an amazing job! It’s always nice to know that folks from home are trying to make their own strides in Hollywood!” – Azzie Amani

“I really love the Hollywood Hawks. I am so proud to be from Kansas and a Jayhawk.” – Sasha A. Ali

“As a Junior still looking for my calling, meeting so many positive KU alumni through the Hollywood Hawks gave me the last bit of support and comfort of Kansas I needed to muster up the courage to make the daunting commitment of moving to Los Angeles. My first exposure to the Hollywood Hawks was at a KU basketball watch party in LA over Christmas of my Junior year. I still had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to live after graduation at that point, but I instantly felt acceptance and a sense of a community within the HH I had no idea existed out here. Regardless of what your aspirations may be, there is always someone in the group with whom you can network, get valuable advice or (sometimes most importantly) just enjoy watching a basketball game! After that first night with the Hollywood Hawks I knew that LA was where I wanted to create my post-collegiate life. Within a month of moving here from Kansas, three separate KU alums currently working in my field the entertainment industry offered to refer me to their colleagues at hiring companies. Although I was hired by someone not associated with KU less than a week after reaching out to the Hawks, the confidence and moral support afforded by them was an invaluable resource not only during the move and the job hunt but in the interview as well. I’m now working for a post-facility in West Hollywood and I can honestly say that without seeing so many young professionals from Kansas out here, not only working out here but loving their lives, I doubt I would have felt capable of making it in Hollywood.” – Marshall Wetta

“I encourage everyone I run into who is a filmmaker-type with Kansas connections to join Hollywood Hawks.” – Jon Niccum

“I love the community aspect of Hollywood Hawks, the ability to network and help one another succeed in this business.” – Jeff Baldinger 

Since 2010, select students of the Film & Media Studies Department have been chosen to participate in Hollywood Hawks’ Career Orientation Week in Los Angeles. Below are some of their testimonials.

“The stigma of the film and television industry not being a realistic career choice used to always be in the back of my head. My week in LA was a true wake-up call. Seeing other Jayhawks succeeding was so important to me. I realized what LA had to offer and that KU students have a chance to take it. Rock Chalk!” – Laura Herrington

“While I have learned a great deal of technical know-how in my coursework, this trip gave me an opportunity to work on the networking aspect of the business; thus rounding out my education and giving me hope for my future post-graduation.”  – Patrick Monroe

“The spring break in LA was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my entire life.”  – Kristen Pelz

“It would be an understatement to say that this trip was absolutely incredible. I have never felt so privileged to be a part of an experience like the Spring Break Career Orientation. We visited multiple studios daily and spoke to KU Alumni who are in the business during meal times. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip simply due to the fact that, as students, we gained so much knowledge from the one-on-one conversations. To be able to physically sit down and talk to someone who is in the business, ask questions and be encouraged, gave us KU Students an advantage over pretty much any other person trying to get into the film industry.” – Kayla Higginbotham

“One of the best feelings is knowing that there is a huge network of Jayhawks in LA that is watching over each other. Everyone was so great and welcoming! Thank you so much for the opportunity of a lifetime!” – Caleb Knueven

“The trip made the idea of breaking into the industry far less daunting due to these personal connections. It’s a whirlwind of a awesome week.” – Sarah Tucker

“The thing that surprised me most about the trip was just how dedicated the Jayhawk community is out there. It’s such a strong, tight-knit group this is very welcoming and always available to assist the next person who chooses to move out there.” – Kurtis Myers

“The trip itinerary was a wonderful way to be exposed to the city.  This trip was my first to Los Angeles and it was not overwhelming.  In fact, with the help of alums, I felt very comfortable, particularly when they introduced us to future working environments.  Although the film industry seemed like organized chaos, I learned that Hollywood isn’t a mythical place far, far away.  The trip gave me a newfound tenacity to achieve my goal of working in Hollywood, and for that, I am extremely grateful.” – Devin Schwyhart

“The Spring Break trip to Los Angeles with the Film Department was an amazing experience. The trip was not only a blast, it was a great opportunity to meet key players in the film industry and learn the ins and outs of how to get your foot in the door. On our third day we went to an animation studio called Titmouse. Upon entering the building I was immediately in love with the place. As an artist, I had finally seen something that would suit not only my career aspirations, but also my personal hobbies. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who made this trip possible! It was an eye opening experience and it helped me find myself just in the nick of time!” – Grahm Rivers Petersen

“After LA I was excited, reinvigorated, open to new prospective job ideas, and ready to get the ball rolling.  I cannot express in words how grateful I am to have gotten the opportunity to have met all these people and to have made the many connections I did.  I owe any future success in my career to this experience.” – Heather Elaine Rafferty

“The amount of KU community that was so supportive, willing to help, and eager to meet us was overwhelming and extremely reassuring.” – Morgan LaForge

“This trip opened my eyes to something great, and like so many others, with hard work and determination, I know I will succeed. This trip showed me a glimpse of my future, and I am pleased.” – Derek Boettcher

“Hopefully I’ll get a job in writing soon. :) Once that happens, I’d LOVE to host a tour for future Spring Breaks. It was such incredible experience; I’d love to pay it forward!” – Laura Beason