Asher Wertheimer has been at The University of Olivet his whole life – how is this possible? He was born and raised in Olivet and his parents teach at the University. From a young age, Asher has had the University’s core beliefs instilled in him, leading to a unique college journey of pursuing his passions.
Asher’s parents, Professor Gary Wertheimer and Professor Cynthia (Thia) Eller, have taught art at Olivet for over 37 years. Since Asher was a baby, he has attended college art exhibitions and used the campus as his playground. “I still have toys that are lost in the Mott elevator shafts. I knew this entire campus like the back of my hand, so it just made sense to go to college here. We thought about other places, but this is where I wanted to be,” Asher expressed.
Because Asher grew up surrounded by Olivet professors, he saw firsthand how they go above and beyond to help students follow their passions, which he’s experienced with the media production and communication professors.
When starting college, Asher knew he wanted to do something in the media area but was still unsure what that would look like. It wasn’t until his internship with Michigan Radio that he realized his passion for audio production.
“I knew from doing classes here that I really liked the media area, but working at Michigan Radio solidified it. You know I can do this for the rest of my life, and I would be happy. That was in part because of the opportunities here. The fact that when we go to the practicum, Professor Daine Pavloski says, ‘What do you want to do?’ I had the opportunity to explore video, animating, audio, live audio, radio and podcasts. I had a background in it by the time I was at Michigan Radio.”
Asher fell in love with audio for the same reason he loves to read. When a person reads, they have to comprehend what they’re reading and visualize what’s happening; a person has to do the same for audio. “I can describe to you the events happening; you know we’re sitting on the side of a waterfall, and you can hear the water, and I can describe the sun and birds. But to actually imagine what that’s like, you have to take part in that. You have to imagine what the rocks look like, whether there’s moss on them, which side of the waterfall you are sitting, on the left or the right. So you still have to take an active process on that. I really like that it allows for creativity on behalf of the consumer,” Asher said.
Asher is taking every advantage given to him as a student, whether by applying for internships or entering the broadcast competitions Professor Pavloski sends to him. His philosophy is, why not? “You never know what’s going to happen. It will not be detrimental to you. In fact, it looks better if you say, ‘I submitted,’ and I’m always submitting. Even if you don’t win a prize, the fact that you did it is enough, and hopefully, you learn something from it,” explained Asher. So far, Asher has won first place in the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, a statewide competition, for his podcast “30 Below: The Story Begins,” which was on dog sledding, and an honorable mention for his podcast on recycling, titled “Recycling and the Danger of Altruism,” he submitted in a national NPR student podcast challenge.
It was Asher’s “why not” mentality that combined his passion for traveling and audio. Already an accomplished world traveler before college, Asher’s lifelong dream of running sled dogs led him to apply to a Folk School in Norway. These schools focus on teaching practical life skills, and the one Asher chose offered a specialized class dedicated to dog sledding. Embracing this opportunity abroad, Asher seized the chance to follow his love for sled dogs and continue developing his audio production skills by creating a podcast about his experiences. It was this podcast that won him first prize in the Michigan Association of Broadcasters competition.
Even when Asher was halfway around the world, his professors kept in touch and encouraged him to grow. He said, “I’ve just been given an open road with good guides. They help guide me but don’t force me into any areas, and that’s the most important thing: I’m not boxed into anything that I don’t want to be forced into. And they just let me pick my own road, help me make it happen, offer advice where it’s warranted, and check in on me as a human being, too.” Asher credits Professor Pavloski, Professor Joanne Williams and Professor Kirk Hendershott-Kratzer. He continued, “They’re fantastic professors, especially those three who make media a great area to explore and they live up to what Olivet’s supposed to do. I think they’re worthy of a lot of recognition.”
Growing up at The University of Olivet, Asher knew that it is a place that helps and encourages its students to be more than they ever imagined and to build confidence to do good in the world. “That definitely shaped the path I’m on right now. I probably wouldn’t be doing quite everything I’m doing now if I had gone to a large public university. I can’t imagine anything different. But right now, being from Olivet and having that open road, I am very grateful I got to write my own script.”
To listen to Asher’s podcasts, click here.
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@UOlivet.edu.