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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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UW student chosen for ‘Project Freshman’ web cast

[media-credit name=’NATALIE WEINBERGER/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]aol2_nw_416[/media-credit]University of Wisconsin freshman Sarah Whiteaker has been selected as one of six college students nationwide to appear in America Online's new documentary series "Project Freshman."

The reality-based web cast will consist of self-taped footage from students' everyday activities and "confessionals" in which they discuss and highlight their transition to campus life.

"I was not totally shocked when I found out I was chosen, but I was surprised because I didn't think it would happen to me," Whiteaker said. "I felt like I should be excited right away but it didn't really hit me until I had to set up a meeting with my producer."

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The show intends to put a positive light on the college experience but in a realistic fashion, focusing on the varying experiences it can offer.

Whiteaker filled out an application this summer after seeing an advertisement for the show on AOL. After interviewing for the show and being selected as a finalist, Whiteaker had to send in a short video about herself and her life.

The show's producers said they enjoyed Sarah's candidness, according to a UW release.

"I've always been a good student," Whiteaker said in her video clip. "But college — it's different, and it's scary."

Whiteaker's friend and fellow UW freshman Ilana Feingold said the reality show will be a good opportunity for Whiteaker to break out of her shell.

"Sarah is a good, honest person and I think it will give her the opportunity to voice herself, because she [can] be kind of shy," Feingold said.

Whiteaker has previous experience with filmmaking as a member of the film society at Pius XI High School in Milwaukee, her hometown.

"I made a documentary on Asian youth in high schools and the loss of their cultural diversity," Whiteaker said. "I find the whole idea of film and production interesting and I think participating in the show will help me enhance my skills and grow in this area."

Whiteaker said she is enthusiastic about the opportunity, adding she feels as though the show will help keep her focused and on track.

"I think the show will help me practice time management and keep focused on school," she said. "I have a scholarship that I have to keep and I think this will help."

Whiteaker said she thinks "Project Freshman" and reality TV on the web is a good idea and will draw a good audience.

"I think Web TV is a great way to get information and entertainment out to people who may otherwise not have access to the program," she said in a release.

Whiteaker said she is enjoying college so far and feels she is adjusting well to living the college life at a large campus.

The program will also feature freshmen from Florida, Missouri, Notre Dame, Marshall and Dallas Baptist universities.

Whiteaker's features will rotate with those of other students, airing a new show every other week. The website will air new episodes every Thursday, starting Sept. 23, on AOL RED for teenagers.

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