When I earned tenure, I decided I wanted to learn more about media and the power of media.
I drafted and mailed a letter to Tyler Perry Studios in May 2013 (I found the address online), convinced that I was going to be on the set of all the Tyler Perry Studio productions doing my sabbatical and learning the ins and outs of movie production.
I wrote the letter below and called the studio, but I couldn't even talk to anyone beyond the operator. I'm sure that letter ended up in a garbage can.
Although that particular dream didn't manifest, my dreams never died. I found new ways to engage, and I have sought media resources out for myself. Although I never made it to Tyler Perry Studios, I am learning tips that are building a brand that is bigger than I could have imagined at that time.
Never give up on your dreams, even if you don't pass the telephone operator.
Dear Mr. Perry,
My name is Monica F. Cox, and I am an Associate Professor in (Department) at (University). Several weeks ago I called your Studio and talked to someone about the possibility of my taking a six-month sabbatical (at no cost to you) at Tyler Perry Studios (TPS). Unlike a traditional sabbatical in which I might spend my time as a visiting scholar at another university, I have decided to think “out of the box” and to engage with staff at TPS in an effort to learn of ways that I might incorporate real-world media expertise into my world of engineering education.
Inspired by your ability to provide wholesome entertainment to the masses and to apply spiritual principles to everyday situations, I have decided to escape my comfort zone as a professor by seeking an opportunity to work with you and your staff. By the end of this sabbatical, I plan to acquire the skills to complete the following:
· Produce and market affordable educational resources and/or media that expose preschool and K-12 children, particularly those in impoverished areas, to science and engineering (S&E) principles and activities,
· Create programming that presents the untold stories of minority professionals in S&E via biographical and fictional dramas, and
· Form connections that allow me to integrate effective media practices, engineering education principles, and entrepreneurship.
For years, I have known that combining media and entrepreneurship is my destiny. I have prayed of how to do this, and TPS continues to emerge as a possibility for me to achieve my dreams.
If you would like additional information about how to contact me concerning additional questions or concerns, or if you have any ideas about how I engage in an opportunity that aligns with my goals, I would appreciate your consideration.
Someone may contact me via e-mail at (e-mail address) or via telephone at (telephone number). You are also welcome to read additional details about me in the attached profile.
Thanks for all that you do for the Black community and for the Body of Christ!
Monica F. Cox