LaGuardia Community College Students Wow Judges at the Federal Reserve Financial Awareness Video Contest

Long Island City, NY—February 24, 2014—For three consecutive years, LaGuardia Community College media studies students have had impressive showings at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Financial Awareness Video Competition where college students in the tri-state area were invited to produce 30-second videos on financial literacy.  In 2010, the students captured first and second place; in 2011 the college had five finalists; and in 2012 a team of LaGuardia students took the top prize.

And 2013 was no different.  Three LaGuardia student filmmakers took second place, and only after two exciting first-place run offs.

“The success of our young filmmakers in the Federal Reserve Bank competition is just another example of the outstanding skills of our students,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia.  “Our media arts and technology programs attract first-rate students and our extraordinary faculty are helping these young filmmakers develop the skills needed to succeed in an extremely competitive industry.”

In the judging of this year’s contest, the judges twice voted a tie for first place, but because there was a cash prize involved there had to a clear winner. “They then asked for a show of hands from the audience and we unfortunately came up short,” said a disappointed Professor Joyce Rheuban, LaGuardia’s director of media programs.

Despite the second-place standing, Professor Rheuban said the students, Oswald Barrios, a media studies major; Jessica M’Sihid, liberal arts: social science and humanities major; and Christian Orellana, a media studies major, produced a top-prize public service announcement designed to promote financial awareness among their peers.

“In a 30-second spot, concept is everything,” she said. “The LaGuardia team articulated their message by exploiting the space of the frame–it was totally cinematic.”

The students’ video, titled “Texting and Credit,” is a fun piece with a serious message.  It stresses to young adults the importance of paying their bills on time and keeping track of their credit.  The team’s submission was up against 34 videos submitted by students from colleges and universities in New York, northern New Jersey and Connecticut.

In the video, Jessica and Christian play two college students who are busy texting each other.  As Jessica texts, a pink message bubble appears with the words, “I just bought a phone with my credit card.”  Christian’s response, in a blue bubble, is, “You have a credit card? Since when?”  Another pink message bubble appears, “Since I decided to build my credit and buy a studio. Christian says it sounds complicated, but Jessica assures him it is not. “I am working, putting away money and paying her bills on time.” As the students end their conversation, they look up from their phone only to discover they are sitting on opposite ends of the same bench.

“We wanted to end the video on a light note, so we had the two actors texting while they were only few feet away from each other,” said Oswald.

“But,” added Jessica, “we also ended it with an important message: ‘Know where you are with your credit. Pay your bills on time. Be responsible.’”

Already looking forward to next year’s contest, Oswald said, “Our team will be back to take home the prize.”

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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.