Karen Chen

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My name is Karen Chen and I’m a third-year double major in Theater, Film, and Digital Productions and Media Cultural Studies. After finding my passion for filmmaking through programs provided by my high school in Bentonville, Arkansas, I started to dedicate time learning and experimenting within the various aspects of digital film. Academically, I am interested in the techniques used to share the most powerful stories and studying other famously impactful works.
I grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas and lived there for 12 years. I come Taiwanese background and my family has always made it a priority to keep me close to my culture as well as educate me through experience from a young age. Arkansas is located in the middle of the country and overwhelmingly conservative. I know first- hand about the mass areas of the US where important issues are ignored and deemed unimportant, where the voiceless remain unheard. I see it almost as a responsibility to find innovative ways to educate others. I believe exposure to people’s stories and the world around us is a major component in molding who we are. One of my first projects, my first documentary project, highlighted the story and powerful relationship of two brothers one of which had Autism. This story of how they maneuvered through a world of  adversity with warmth and compassion touched me so deeply that I knew I wanted to become a storyteller. 
Here at CSI I work as a Student Videographer and am involved in projects highlighting civic engagement in the Inland Empire with combined issues like Census, COVID-19, and State of Non- Profits. My goal is to take the work and research done here and of our partners and turn them into memorable narratives.  
What inspires me about our community partners is their devotion to serving and uplifting their communities. I am new to the Inland Empire, but I become increasingly more inspired as I learn more about the work that is done here.