For today’s look behind the scenes, we chatted with Zev Vernon-Lapow, our Audio/Video Team Lead.
Hello Zev, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today.
Alright, let’s begin. Could you please tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Sure, I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to working at Saylor, I spent ten years working with youth in various capacities as a Recreation Leader for the city of Berkeley. This included three summers as a camp counselor for Berkeley Day Camp, where I explored nature with some great kids, told stories and played the occasional game of dodgeball. I also worked at Adventure Playground, where I helped kids learn to use tools to build forts. I have yet to build a fort in Washington DC, but eventually I just may need to scratch that itch. I also spent a year working as an Americorps/Public Allies Teaching Fellow at Eagle Rock School, in Estes Park, Colorado. During the course of that year I earned a high school teaching credential and was trained in curriculum development. Plus, I got to work with some amazing young people — we learned a lot together. Off campus, I explored Colorado’s beauty and learned to snowboard. These days when I’m not at work I like to play music, bike around the city, read and watch films and television. I also love to travel.
You have a unique education background. How long have you been here with us?
I started working at the Saylor Foundation in August 2012. When I started working at Saylor, I was also working as a preschool teacher. My mornings were spent with young children who were learning about how the world works and my afternoons were spent facilitating more complex education for university students. I am fascinated by the potential of using technology to improve education. I also love being creative. Working at Saylor allows me to combine these interests.
We’re glad to have you…a lot of what happens for preschoolers is relevant in higher ed, too. What do you typically do here with us?
There is no typical day at Saylor. In my position as AV Team Lead, I coordinate the productions of Saylor’s various video learning initiatives. Some days are spent largely in meetings about productions or spent researching projects, new equipment and techniques. Other days are more heavily geared towards editing or production. I like having a slew of projects going on at once. There’s always something new to learn at Saylor, be it content for a course, or new techniques for our projects.
Sounds interesting; hope we get to see more fruits of your team’s work soon! While learning content, have you come across any worth recommending?
The course I am most excited about is still in development. I can’t say much about it at this point, but I can tell you that it is going to be heavy on video, features interviews with some brilliant people, and will be awesome. I’ve probably said too much already…
No worries, our lips are sealed…and we can distract the reader with some fun questions! First one: if you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit?
Is it a round-trip? If not, I’d probably stay here. Friends and family are one of the most important things for me. I’d be pretty lonely if I just had dinosaurs for company. Then again, if I could bring all my friends with me, let the good times roll. Pterodactyl races, Velociraptor battles, and those cars you can drive with your feet!
Sounds like fun, if possibly somewhat mis-informed. Next question: if you could travel anywhere in the world or universe, where would you go?
That’s a tough one! I think my next trip will be to Latin America or Eastern Europe. But I also want to go to Greece, Japan and Morocco. Or I would do a road trip across the US and camp in national parks.
Wow! Those trips sound like great ones, and you’ve managed to include every continent but Australia and Antarctica. Hope you get to travel soon! Last but not least, what’s your message to the people?
Never stop learning. There are always new ways to think about things and new skills to develop. Also, be sure to laugh a lot.