Clark Student Spotlight: As Technology Advances, Student Advances With It

Student Wayne Woods graduated Clark with a degree in web design at age 60. (Theresa Matthiesen/The Independent)

By Theresa Matthiesen – Reporter

Most Clark students are under 30, exploring their options for education and careers. However, strolling through campus you’ll see many who don’t fit that mold. A few students share their stories.

Film production was very different in 1970 from how it is today. A camera captured video, and a separate person captured audio with a boom mic and a huge box housing 12 Dcell batteries around their neck. Later, the video and sound were mixed in a studio using expensive equipment.

In a century of technological advances, Wayne Woods, 60, said he found his job obsolete. Woods said he came to Clark for its Worker Retraining program and graduated recently with an Associate in Applied Technology degree in web development.

Woods said he attended Portland State University in a department called Center for the Moving Image,” but there was no degree or certificate associated with the program.

“I was there basically as a general studies, arts and letters student,” he said. “About as unfocused as you can get. Over three years, he said, he took all the classes he could and met people in the film industry but never graduated.

He said he was interested in audio post production because it’s “where the magic really happened.

Yet as digital and analog video acquisition became more prevalent, Woods said he saw his job disappearing.

“I saw the tech change from being primarily mechanical and electronic to almost entirely computer based by the time I was there for 14 years,” he said.

Looking back, Woods said he focused on his field as if it was the only one. “I kept at it to the point where my focus was so narrow,” he said. “It wasn’t wide enough to realize that the world was closing in around me.”

Woods said he tried freelancing but it wasn’t paying the bills so he had to go back to school unemployed. “I was very grateful to be eligible for the worker retraining program here,” he said. “I could not afford to be here without it.”

Woods said there’s a balance between being broad in your education but focused in an area you can brand and he’s still finding it.

“The program has given me the skills but I’m still developing that in myself,” he said. “Even at 60 years of age, Wayne is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.”  

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