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Baston flourishing in RTV program with help of JLC

December 7, 2015
By cnp
Posted in Communication Studies

D.J. Baston's high school senior English class assignment called for the students to apply to at least 10 colleges and universities. Baston applied to only one.

"My high school teacher wasn’t too happy with me," Baston recalled. "She thought I should have applied to more universities, but I had visited Ozarks and knew in my heart that it was the only place for me."

The hunch proved correct for Baston, a junior RTV major from Austin, Texas. With the help of the Jones Learning Center, Baston, who has a diagnosed learning disability, earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average in his first semester at Ozarks and he hasn’t looked back.

"There were some teachers at my school who didn’t think I was college material, so I enjoyed going back after that first semester and showing them my GPA," said Baston, who suffers from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. "When I got to Ozarks, for the first time in my life I had the support and help I needed with the JLC and with my professors, and I made the best grades of my life. I think everyone knew then what I had already known; that I had made the right choice."

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Junior RTV major D.J. Baston has used his drone expertise to shoot videography and photography on several projects, including a university marketing video.

Baston said his learning disabilities made it difficult to write essays, something he thought might keep him from pursuing a college degree.

"In high school I had really thought about joining the military or going to work with my grandparents because college didn’t seem to be in the cards for me," he said. "I was scared to death about the writing I would have to do in college. The JLC and [academic support coordinator] Debby Mooney have really worked with me and helped make the impossible possible for me. I don’t like to think where I might be without the JLC and Ozarks."

Baston has thrived in the RTV program, where he has had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and hone his skills in videography and broadcasting.

"Growing up I always had a passion for cameras and for videography," he said. "When I got to Ozarks, I got to get behind an expensive camera my first week here. I thought that was amazing to be able to jump right in and start working with the equipment and practicing my passion. It certainly doesn’t seem like school when you love what you’re doing."

Combining his love of videography with his thirst for learning and utilizing new technology, it’s no surprise that Baston was one of the first people on campus to utilize drones for videography. His drone videography work was showcased in a university marketing video this past summer.

"It’s neat to be part of new technology," Baston said. "I’ve been able to use my drone to shoot some projects for the university and also to help train others. I enjoy being on the front end of new technology and looking at the ways it can help us do our jobs better."

Baston is also a member of the University’s clay target shooting team, whom he first became acquainted with while he was in high school and the team was participating in a meet in nearby San Antonio, Texas.

"I met the team in San Antonio and had lunch with them and that was the clincher for me," Baston said. "They made me feel like a member of the team and I was only in high school. It’s been great to be part of a close-knit team."

Baston, who plans to pursue a professional career in broadcasting following graduation, said, "Ozarks has made all the difference in the world for me."

"I’ve grown in ways I never would have imagined," he said. "God placed me here for a reason and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else."