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Jonathan Stafstrom

Jonathan Stafstrom

Hometown: Madison, WI
High School: Home-schooled
Intended Major: Philosophy, Film and Media Studies
Possible Career: Filmmaking

Jonathan attended a large, public school in Madison through the 9th grade. Desiring a more integrated education, he decided to pursue home-schooling. He worked together with his parents to design a challenging and interesting curriculum for his own independent, self-directed reading, supplemented with courses taken at the University of Wisconsin

Home-schooling allowed Jonathan the flexibility and time to purse his many passions, particularly his work as a youth mentor with Bridge the Gap, a cultural arts group for at-risk middle school students. He used rap and hip-hop to engage the boys' creativity and encourage them to use poetry and performance as a constructive outlet. He coached them on writing raps, discussed the history of this form of music and how that history merges with the life of the artist and informs the work and how it affects the lives of the audience.

Jonathan is also a successful artist, having earned many awards for his poetry and music. He wrote his own rap musical at the age of 14. He also plays piano and drums, as well as bagpipes with the Madison Bagpipe and Drum Corps. He also plays keyboard, conducts and writes all the music for a small orchestral rock band, worked as a drum instructor at Friends Music Camp, and has created several films and a CD of his poetry. His community service includes working with Food Not Bombs preparing and serving food to the homeless in Madison. He has also attended the Wisconsin Youth in Government program.

Jonathan's Evans projects included learning mechanics by building a bicycle which he uses regularly on campus. However, he had a bad accident when riding through Philadelphia the summer after his freshman year which ruined his plans for working in that city. He spent the summer of 2008 as an apprentice to the filmmaker, Eric Byler, on the production of 9300 Liberty a documentary which examines the racial and cultural tensions of immigration legislation that has torn apart the community in Prince William County, Maryland. This experience convinced him that he wanted to pursue a career as a filmmaker.