Students invited to new Talent Pool website

By Lisa Schulz

Columbia students recently gained exclusive access to, a project and job search website designed to help students discover creative collaborative partners through a colorful sea of mini-portfolios.

Students have been pre-registered with their Oasis ID log-on since May. Site users are limited to students and alumni, but browsing privileges include the public.

A clicked box is the quick gateway to a student’s profile, displaying a short biography and select work samples. Boxes are color-coordinated to students’ academic year and contain their initials.

“It’s really important for students to understand that creative industry professionals don’t work in silos,” said Keesha Johnson, marketing coordinator of Career Initiatives. “It’s all about that

immediate access.”

Users are allowed to customize their search by changing the grid’s “x” and “y” axis variables that measure students’ work experience, availability, technique, style and the medium their work incorporates.

The more information a student provides, the bigger his or her box will appear on the grid, with a better chance to stand out among the overlapping profiles.

Johnson and the associate director of the Portfolio Center, Dirk Matthews, encourage all students to complete their profiles in a

timely manner.

Underclassmen and students who don’t have much work experience can still participate in the website.

“Talent Pool is a great platform for students to get comfortable networking and collaborating with peers in other departments,” Johnson said. “In the long run, they’ll find that those relationships will play a key role in their career and portfolio development.”

Sophomore film and video major Tim Desrochers contributed to the website as an underclassman with an extensive profile. He took an interest in Talent Pool after he’d contemplated creating a similar website.

“There’s no real easy way outside of classes to work with people who are at Columbia in your year and to look through their work,” Desrochers said. “To find out whether or not you want to work with that person or whether they could bring something to your project that you couldn’t get anywhere else. Talent Pool does that.”

Desrochers said he hasn’t built any networking with Columbia students since he joined during the summer while residing in his hometown of Boston. He said he plans on using the website for future projects.

On the other hand, junior audio arts and acoustics major Steven Earl and junior theatre major Rafal Cwiok have both reaped the benefits of having completed profiles on the website.

Earl, who joined the website in July, said the site was very successful for him. He obtained two paid job positions with a hip-hop artist and a country band.

Cwiok said he has worked with at least 10 students since he joined when the site began. He discovered the site through student film auditions.

“For new students coming in [and] looking for acting work, Talent Pool is going to help them out a lot,” he said.

However, Cwiok said he’s at the stage of his acting career where he’d like to look for bigger projects with future employers

and perspective companies.

Matthews said Talent Pool will have an extensive marketing campaign inviting creative industry professionals around the country during the fall semester.

As the website continues growing, improvements will be made as well. Earl said he’d like to see a hit counter indicating when potential partners sample his music on Talent Pool, similar to, a site he uses to host his artwork. Matthews said the team is working toward having “the idea of most popular and the most views for profiles.”

Desrochers said he’d like to see Facebook and social media integration in the website, so students can work together from afar but still remain within the boundaries of Columbia. He said students just have to work up the courage to put themselves on websites like Talent Pool to get noticed.

“You could be the most talented person in the world, but no one’s going to know about you unless you put yourself out there,” Desrochers said. “The first leap is the hardest one. But once you do that, you learn and you keep going.”