WHO IS JACK WESTERHEIDE?
If you made it this far you're probably interested in something about me, Jack Westerheide. I'm currently a junior at The Ohio State University pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies with a focus on the World Economy & Business. But to really understand who I am and what I'm passionate about we have to go back to 2010 somewhere in the Mediterranean. In the summer before my 8th grade year, my family decided to plan a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate some familial milestones. As a kid growing up in Central Ohio, Europe and the Mediterranean were just some different colored areas on the globe in my dad's office. That was until we landed in Barcelona. As soon as we stepped out of the airport I knew "this wasn't Granville, OH (Pop. 3,646) anymore". A bustling city with more culture than I had ever experienced before. My grandma had invested in Canon PowerShot point and shoot cameras for my sister and I to document our trip. Needless to say I had collected more photos of the tour bus that took us from the airport to the hotel than most would deem necessary. As the trip progressed I found new inspiration in exploring places like Côte d'Azur and the Italian Riviera.
The original itinerary included a stop in Alexandria, Egypt; but in late 2010, Egypt was at the boiling point of the Arab Spring. In this case we diverted to Turkey. A country I had never given much thought to growing up, but one that has stuck with me after all these years. It was in an open air restaurant that I first heard Ezan. In Turkish, the Islamic call to worship. At that moment I realized that this is what I wanted to do. To be able to live a life experiencing new cultures and ideas, to break down the walls of language and ideology and to connect people from every point in the spectrum of the human race. A mind blowing epiphany from a soon-to-be 8th grader, I know.
The years would roll on as they usually do, my family would start to take more and more trips whenever we had the opportunity. We completed the iconic Chevy Chase roadtrip out west driving from Ohio to Salt Lake City, Utah and back. We went to London, to Paris, to the Bahamas. We even took a huge leap of faith and took a trip to Canada to see what all the fuss was about. But then one snowy day in January on my way home from Chipotle, (not an ad), my mom reads an email from our High School principle asking for students interested in participating in a new study abroad program to sign up for an info meeting. I asked where, the reply was SHANGHAI. That was it, after hearing the name of the city I was in. Sign me up. I was on the list before the informational meeting even ended. Over spring break in 2014 I embarked on a 14 hour flight to Shanghai with 20 other students from my high school class. Don't forget, Granville, OH: Pop. 3,646. After the half day flight spent between two elderly Chinese women with disproportionally small bladders we had arrived in China. Take away the jet lag and we were still all in a dream-like state. This place was unlike any other I had been to since the Mediterranean. Ditch the renaissance architecture for endless skyscraper apartments and bustling city centers. China had a culture that hit us smack in the face as soon as we stepped outside. That week and a half in China sits in my memory with the same weight and recollection as what I ate for breakfast this morning. Not only did I return with increased passion for travel but with an exceptional appreciation and fascination for the Chinese culture.
China had opened my eyes on a new passion as well in photography and video. I ditched the point and shoot for an entry level DSLR and a GoPro and was ready to start capturing the world around me. I started to understand why my parents always had to stop for photo shoots on vacation and placed value in capturing my life through photography not only to remember the events but to share them with others back home. I was no longer the 8th grader taking 200 photos of passing buses and informational signs in Barcelona. I started to work on my framing and story telling as well as in my technical proficiency when it came to getting the right shot.
Senior year of high school came with more schoolwork and more focus put on the future. Everyday the trip to China became more and more distant but no less impactful. Those 20 students and I were the pioneer class in a new program at our high school, the Global Scholars program. We were invited back to another Global Student Leaders Summit in 2015, this year in San Jose, Costa Rica. In this summit the organization was offering up internships for the time we would be in the country. With my developing passion for photography and my foundational passion in travel I applied for the Photography Internship in San Jose. As it turned out, I was one of two student photographers selected to capture the event and the country. In this role I was able to work more on my portrait and documentary photography as I traveled around the country with my fellow students. I was also granted the incredible opportunity to be part of a closed interview with Dr. Jane Goodall who stressed the importance of exploration and taking advantage of the time we have on Earth. By the end of the school year I had solidified my decision to attend The Ohio State University for college and to major in International Studies and to minor in Chinese and Business.
I would love to have a career that could combine my passion for international travel with my interests in business and digital media marketing. Everyday the world becomes more and more interconnected through use of the internet and social media. I believe that a business with a strong brand and message has the potential to transcend borders and connect with people from every corner of the globe. With my past experiences and determination for future success I believe that I could add value to any organization with an interest in promoting and producing original and creative content.