SMC Students Introduce CA Ballot Measures in New Videos

This summer, seven Saint Mary’s students used their creativity and determination to create videos detailing the various 2020 California ballot measures, in partnership with the League of Women Voters (LVW) of Diablo Valley. The 12 non-partisan videos run four-to-eight minutes long and break down the pros and cons of each proposition. Each video was directed, edited, and narrated by SMC students. The students created these projects with the support of the Liberal Arts Bridge (LAB) Program.

“The Liberal Arts Bridge program supports career exploration and development for School of Liberal Arts majors, including funding otherwise unpaid internships with non-profit and public sector employers for students with financial need,” said School of Liberal Arts Dean Sheila Hassell Hughes. “I’m thrilled that we were able to support the five Communication majors who worked on this important project for the League of Women Voters with LAB Internship Scholarships. This is such a great professional opportunity for our students and such a vital service to our community!”

The students developed scripts discussing each measure and produced the videos. “Working with the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley on this voting initiative has been very fulfilling,” said Business Administration, Digital Media, and Data Analytics major Minivia Fernandes ’21. “Over the last few months, I’ve gained so much experience and understanding in what goes into the production process, while also practicing skills I’ve been taught in my Digital Media concentration classes. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to not only grow as a professional, but to also encourage informed voting.”

The student filmmakers include: Colette Huber ’21, Jordan Mansfield ’21, Stephanie Ramirez ’22, Minivia Fernandes ’21, Ava Parashis ’21, Kisa Knight ’23, and Luiza Nazakulova ’22.

The SMC performers are: Diana Carey ’21 (Props 14, 15, 23), Naomi Kalter ’22 (Props 22, 24, 25), Jillian Urzanqui ’22 (Props 18 and 29), Carolina Celis ’22 (Props 16 and 17) and Victoria Striebel ’21 (Props 20 and 21). 

Assistant Professor of Communication Jason Jakaitis congratulated the students on their projects: “We felt this opportunity embodied SMC's Lasallian mission, and we're so proud of the seven students who committed to the project. They conducted themselves like professionals on set and in their collaboration with the League of Women Voters, and they elevated the level of discourse about these important initiatives.”

Students recognized the significance of the impending election as they developed their videos. “The importance of everything that we are doing is really to inform my generation and other generations about these propositions,” said Communication major and Digital Studies minor Ava Parashis ’21. “The wording in the propositions can be a little confusing and complicated; this way we could put it in a simpler format to make sure people really know and understand the pros and cons, and can form their own opinions.”

“The students did all the work in a whirlwind time crunch between late August and the end of September,” Jakaitis added. “We had to wait for the ballot initiatives to be formalized in early/mid-August, and then for the League to finish their research on the propositions. Then, the research had to be turned into scripts before the filmmaking could even begin. We didn't sleep much that month,” Jakaitis said. The five Comm students received Comm 195 credit and were SOLA LAB fellows. The two non-SOLA students were also compensated for their work.

Watch the ballot videos

The ballot measure videos have more than 2,500 views to date. You can also watch a video called Find Your Voice that shows how the students created these videos as well.


League of Women Voters chapters throughout the state are sharing the videos over social media. The videos are also being programmed regularly on Contra Costa Community TV, and they are the centerpiece of Zoom presentations the League is making to dozens of local community groups throughout October.

For more on the Liberal Arts Bridge Program here.