Melanie Meisner ’23 runs the show at Elon Student Television

After working three years on "Elon After Hours," Meisner takes reins as ESTV station manager.

As a child, Melanie Meisner ’23 wished that she could spend all of her time in front of the television instead of doing homework. She always acknowledged her passion for movies and television but did not realize that there were options outside of the STEM field.

Now, she is a cinema and television arts and communications design double major and is running Elon Student Television (ESTV), a student-run organization currently producing five television shows, as station manager.

Arriving at Elon, she found herself speechless when learning that the majority of ESTV producers were only in their sophomore year.

“That first meeting in the Jane & Brian Williams Studio at the School of Communications made me realize I am on the right path to success in the real world after Elon University and relieved me of the hunt for a community that I can effortlessly fit into,” said Meisner.

In high school, Meisner directed student news shows with any equipment that she had available to her, often using a laptop as a teleprompter. Elon’s School of Communications provided her with full studio equipment and a subsequent challenge to master the new technology.

Meisner was inspired when she saw women in many of ESTV’s leadership roles and was instantly connected with a network of students similar to her.

As a first-year student, Meisner gained valuable experience as an assistant producer for “Elon After Hours.” She was thrown into leadership roles early on and was commended for her success with the Newcomer of the Year award from the Elon University Student Media Board in May 2020.

Eventually, Meisner received a promotion to producer of “Elon After Hours,” where she supervised and managed a crew of 17 students successfully through pre-production, production, post-production and social media marketing.

Kai Swanson, assistant professor of cinema and television arts and faculty adviser for ESTV, has known Meisner since 2021 and is confident of the positive change she will bring to the organization.

“Not only is she a hard worker, but she is methodical in her approach to pre-production and running a set,” Swanson said. “She leads confidently and with humor. Although she has high expectations for each show, it is never above the cast and crew member’s well-being.”

Meisner said she aims to “bring people together in a fun way that is not class” and truly puts all of her effort into her work with ESTV.

She has implemented a hierarchical structure to improve communication skills and opportunities for the crew. The management works to keep the organization running while producers work to put on shows.

“When everyone is focused on working hand in hand, the most successful work can be accomplished,” said Meisner.

To continue her legacy once she graduates this spring, Meisner wants to apply for awards, increase student awareness of ESTV and focus on recruiting and training students who may not have any production experience.

“ESTV is probably the reason I stayed at Elon after freshman year,” Meisner said. “The connections I have been able to make and sustain through ESTV are remarkable, and I am happy that the staff trusts me in this leadership role to do what I think is best for the organization.”