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Jessica Sturgeon Visualizes a Career in Audio Post Production

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Like many students interested in audio and music, recent Audio Arts and Acoustics graduate Jessica Sturgeon found her happy place by starting to play multiple instruments at a young age. With an ear for music, a career in audio started to become a path for her during her senior year at Guerin Prep High School where, as she recollects, “I started recording myself and became instantly fascinated with the process of recording and wanted to learn more.”

Taking her talents to Columbia College Chicago and deciding to major in Audio was a decision that came naturally. “I liked the fact that there was a school in Chicago (where I’m from) that had so many interesting majors to explore.”

Though she had found a college that checked many of the boxes she was seeking, the adjustment period from high school to college can at times bring doubt. In Jessica’s case, she took these feelings and turned them into an advantage. “I felt like I didn’t know as much as my classmates, and I think this imposter syndrome came over me. That prompted me to dedicate as much time to my passions as I could. Imposter syndrome is not fun, but I think in a way it was a double-edged sword that helped me stay focused on my goals.”

As she started to make her way within the audio field, Jessica turned to internship experiences as a barometer to test her skills. Her first internship was with Modesty Files, a podcast that takes an in-depth look at toxic religious fundamentalism. Though the podcast originated form the east coast, it allowed her to participate remotely. This internship also helped her in securing her current internship with BAM Studios in Chicago. With this being an in-person internship, and also at a recording studio, her hands-on experience has grown by leaps and bounds. “My experience at BAM this summer is extensive. I am fortunate enough to sit in on many different types of sessions, from mixing to recording ADR, to VO for animations. I am learning how a studio operates, how to interact with clients, and what it means to be a good assistant to the lead engineers. I feel so lucky to help any way that I can and I’m grateful for the experience and knowledge that I am gaining. BAM truly cares about enhancing my abilities and skills as an engineer, and I am so appreciative of that.”

Jessica’s success at her internships has been a direct result of her studious approach in learning and observing from the talented faculty instructors in the Audio Arts & Acoustics Department. According to her, “I truly believe a majority of the classes I took impacted my workflow now, in one way or another. I would say early audio classes gave me a great foundation and understanding of sound. AVMI with Michael Coyle solidified my passion for post sound, and my later courses such as PPA III helped enhance my current workflow.”

In terms of future plans, Jessica is taking it day-by-day. “I am very happy with where I am at right now so I plan on staying in Chicago for a bit and seeing what happens. I am working on some short films and would like to try to keep finding freelance projects to work on. I am always trying to learn something new so I would like to start learning more game sound design as well.”

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