Seeking some technology tips? Look no further than Prof. Keith Zdrojowy, studio manager and engineer in charge for Sacred Heart University’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA).
“People always ask me ‘How’d you learn what you know?’ It’s a lot of trial and error. It’s not being afraid to fail. You can’t be afraid to break things,” Zdrojowy said.
On top of his work at the university, he has also run Keith Michael Productions –a wedding video and photography business– since 2005.
If it weren’t for a fateful friendship with a dorm neighbor who was majoring in media studies, you may have found Zdrojowy teaching high school science classes today. He entered college as a chemistry major, although he has always had a natural inclination for technology.
“It was my junior and senior year of high school. Once a month, our Board of Education would meet at the school, and I was the sound engineer for the broadcast. That’s what I did as a part-time job in high school,” Zdrojowy said. “Everything I did back then kind of led up to what I do now.”
In 2002, Zdrojowy graduated from Sacred Heart with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies. At the time, this was a small program within the English department. Beginning his junior year of college and continuing after graduation, he was employed at WSHU radio station as a production assistant.
“I worked there for a year, full-time, and then a position opened up in the audio-visual department at this university, which paid a little bit better. So, I applied and I worked there for a couple of years,” Zdrojowy said.
Briefly, Zdrojowy stepped away from the university, but it is undeniable that his professional calling is in the education industry.
“I did leave the university for a very short time to work at Subway Headquarters, which is a very depressing place to work, by the way. It was a very different scenario from education, it was cubicle city,” he said.
When Zdrojowy returned, he worked at the help desk in the Factory. Simultaneously, he earned his Master’s degree in Education from SHU.
Zdrojowy then spent over a year as a stay-at-home father, freelancer, and adjunct professor at Sacred Heart. When the $50 million Frank & Marisa Martire Center for the Liberal Arts was built, he was interviewed and hired as studio manager.
“For the first six months, I worked technically as a contractor because they couldn’t hire me until July 1, but they wanted me here while it was being built,” Zdrojowy said. “That way I met all the people that were building it and I learned all the ins and outs of everything we put in here.”
Zdrojowy has dedicated years of work to helping build and improve the SCMA, and he intends to keep it that way.
“We opened the building and I’ve been here ever since 2015 when we opened, and I’ll be here for another 20 years,” he said.
Zdrojowy’s classes are structured with student interests and ideas at the forefront. “I’m letting the students dictate the content of the course based on their interests. Because, to me, the end goal is to learn the process. As long as you learn the process using your own interests, you’re going to have a better time doing it,” he said.
“University is much different than what high school is. In high school, you have to hit certain things because it’s required by law. We’ve created these classes and within that class week as long as we hit this topic by the end of it, we can go in any direction we want,” Zdrojowy said.
He finds a level of importance in having an open mind and a willingness to learn in order to succeed in the technology or production area, especially as a studio engineer.
“There’s no school for studio engineers. You have to know IT stuff, you have to know broadcast things, you have to know audio things. You have to have all these different wells to pull from,” Zdrojowy said. “You just have to be a person that has a sort of technical aptitude of where certain things just make sense and you know how to find the answers to other things.”