Behind the Scenes: Success After Stevens

6/25/2014

For many Stevens students, ingenuity, drive, and involvement in activities do not end the moment they walk proudly across a stage to get their diplomas; rather, they carry these qualities with them well into their professional lives. This is particularly the case with Mark Schubin, an alumnus from the class of 1971 and the first from Stevens to win an Emmy award.

Schubin, who concentrated his studies in chemical engineering, was also heavily involved with campus activities. He held a number of positions with WCPR, the campus radio station, and wrote a column for the Stevens newspaper. It is this blend of the humanities and technology that led Schubin to become a television and production engineer. During his exciting career, Schubin has been in charge of the production of shows such as “Sesame Street,” “Live from the Met,” and “Live from Lincoln Center.”

A few months ago Schubin sent a letter to Dr. Lisa Dolling, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), congratulating her on Stevens’ new partnership with the IEEE History Center and its relocation from Rutgers to Stevens. From there a connection formed. “The more we spoke,” said Dolling, “the more we thought of the exciting ways Mark could contribute to our efforts at CAL as we continue to celebrate that all too important intersection of the arts, humanities, and technology.”

Recently, Schubin led Dolling and Professors Ricky Graham, Diana Bush, and Anthony Pennino on a personalized tour of the Metropolitan Opera where they got to see every aspect of putting on a production—everything from the sewing of the costumes to the building of the sets. The two hour long tour began inside a media truck parked outside of Lincoln Center and ended with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Opera House, where in addition to peering into every nook and cranny imaginable, Dolling got a chance to stand in the conductor’s pit. “As someone who grew up regularly attending operas at the Met,” Dolling declared, “this was a dream come true.”

Along with showing the space, Schubin shared the history of the opera and how it was responsible, in many ways, for driving technology forward. “We were amazed at the extent to which Mark’s ingenuity and engineering acumen were responsible for so many of the technological developments we see today, culminating in the Live in HD global transmissions of the Metropolitan Opera,” added Dolling.

Today it seems that technology and the arts are inextricably intertwined, something Schubin says opera was at the forefront of realizing. His own work continues to examine the connection between the history of the opera and media technology. CAL aims to impart a similar message, consisting of a deep appreciation for the traditional arts and humanities alongside a recognition that technology has always been at the core of the most creative fields.

Each time Dean Dolling and her colleagues get together with Schubin they continue to listen as he regales them with not only the history of the opera, but the ways Schubin himself contributed to technological advances in all the arts. What made it all possible, he is quick to point out, were the opportunities Stevens gave him to study the arts and humanities, a tradition he was thrilled to learn lives on in the College of Arts and Letters.

In fact it was learning about CAL that inspired Schubin to reach out to his alma mater in the first place. And now that he has done so we can all look forward to his upcoming lecture on Thursday, October 30th, from 6:00-8:00 pm hosted by CAL. His talk will coincide with National Opera Week from October 25 to November 3rd.