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While working on her award-winning radio feature about domestic abuse, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduating senior Kayla Chilsen discovered that she wants to use her education and skills to help others.

“It helped me to realize that as a radio/TV/film major, I have a responsibility to do whatever I can to make a positive impact on our society,” she said. “The media today gets so much criticism for being an advocate of violence, and being a part of the media’s future, I want to do the opposite.”

“Domestic Abuse: A Radio Feature,” which earned Chilsen an undergraduate award during UW Oshkosh’s Celebration of Scholarship event in April, includes an interview with a domestic abuse survivor, along with clips from campus advocates and representatives of Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services in Oshkosh.

Creating the audio piece took many hours of preparation and production. It also proved to be an emotional task.

“The radio piece had to be put together in a way that not only pulls at the listeners’ heart strings, but also calls them to either take action against domestic violence or to seek help themselves,” said Chilsen, of Appleton. “All in all, it was not an easy process.”

During the interview, she tried to let the abuse survivor speak for herself.

“Never did I ask her, ‘OK and what happened next? If I broke in and spoke, I felt that it might distract her and pull her out of the story, making it less effective,” she said.

The result was worth the effort.

“The piece has already positively impacted a few individuals, and I hope it will continue to do so,” she said. “I plan on submitting it to local high schools and middle schools, in case they could use something like this in health classes.”

Chilsen will be among the more than 1,400 students to graduate during commencement ceremonies planned for Saturday, May 17, at UW Oshkosh. She plans to apply for production positions in the radio industry and, perhaps, television, as well as work as an independent videographer.

Click here to listen to the radio feature.

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