Autumn Gonzalez is a WHSAD alumnus who graduated in 2017. While in high school, Autumn participated in many after school activities, such as SkillsUSA, open houses, architecture club, and was also a student ambassador. “She knew how to manage her time, she was very punctual, and a go-getter,” says Mr. Codio, the 12th grade Architecture and Design teacher. Now Autumn is an executive assistant at a non-profit film production company called Shine Global. Shine Global produces films targeted to helping children and telling stories you otherwise wouldn’t hear.
Post high school graduation she began studying architecture at City College, but after only a semester, she realized that this wasn’t what she wanted to do. She felt a little lost and started taking some advertising classes because in high school that always seemed cool to her. Since advertising and film are in the same department, she wound up almost accidentally being introduced to the industry and immediately loved it. “When I started thinking about it, film has always been something that I look to to escape, in a way, “ says Autumn. She realized how much film has influenced her life, and how the relationship she has with her family often revolves around films. She ended up taking the leap of faith and switching her major to film. She always enjoyed her film classes, despite having to take the last year and a half of college over Zoom. After getting her degree, she started working at a dine-in movie theater while she handed out resumes. Back in 2019 she did an internship with Shine Global, so when she saw they had a slot for an executive assistant, she emailed the executive director and ended up getting the job. Being an assistant, her day to day job consists of mostly sending emails, but she hopes to one day be able to produce a film of her own with the company. “I enjoy screenwriting, I like telling stories, and I’ve always been told I’m a good writer, so I might as well try and put it to good use.” Even though she’s not currently working on anything, one of her goals is to be able to see one of her films through from beginning to end; from the idea all the way to the screen.
Despite the fact her current job has little to nothing to do with architecture or design, she still says her time at WHSAD helped her get where she is now. The teachers here were always so encouraging and always trying to get her to try new things. She said that, because of the tight knit community here at WHSAD, she grew more comfortable and less shy. She learned how to network and strengthened her people skills as well as her confidence. She also mentioned how WHSAD really helped her break out of her shell and taught her leadership skills: “I would tell my high school self that it’s okay if you end up where you didn’t think you would. Life is not always going to go how you planned it, so I would say be a little bit more relaxed, and not so fixed on one path or mission. Once you get out into the world, there are going to be so many different opportunities. It’s okay to venture off a little.”