Petra Goettel, Presidential Scholar, Class of 2021
Mount Airy, NC
Unless they’ve been tipped off that there are teasers or hidden scenes buried within or after the scrolling list of names and locations that follow movies, most people check out when the closing credits start rolling. Only the dedicated, the curious, or the aspiring filmmaker makes a practice of paying attention to the closing credits.
Georgia State Class of 2021 Presidential Scholar Petra Goettel pays attention to the closing credits. This habit, in fact, contributed to her ending up a Panther.
The explosive growth of Georgia’s film and television production industry is dryly chronicled in end credits for the hundreds of television and movies filmed in the state over the last decade. “Filmed on location in Atlanta, Georgia.” “Filmed at Pinewood Atlanta Studios”. Whether streaming Netflix in her bedroom or taking in a movie at the Creekside Stadium 10, the lone movie theater in her hometown of Mount Airy, NC, Petra noticed how frequently the entertainment she consumed was being made in Georgia.
And Petra wanted to be where the film opportunities were.
Her academic path came into focus during a summer camp at Long Island University in Brooklyn. There, she received classroom instruction from university instructors and got to work in the school’s television station. She was hooked.
Returning home to Mount Airy, Petra began exploring her options for studying film and television production. At Surrey Early College High School, she not only finished at the top of her class while staying involved with a variety of extracurricular activities, she also sought out opportunities to work on her film production skills. Her high school was a dual-degree magnet school; graduates received associate’s degrees in addition to their high school diplomas. Prospective students had to apply for acceptance to the school. To assist in Surrey Early College High School’s recruitment efforts, Petra led the development and production of a promotional film.
Looking at prospective colleges, Petra discovered Georgia State’s Film and Media program. Knowing how the industry was booming in Atlanta, Petra zoomed in attending Georgia State. Receiving the Presidential Scholarship made her decision an easy one.
“I’m want to be able to pursue opportunities for practical work experience while I get my education,” said Petra. “With its incredible connections in the film and television industry, Georgia State is perfect.”
While the educational and professional opportunities are the primary draw to Georgia State, Petra is looking forward to living in downtown Atlanta. Mount Airy lies three miles from the Virginia border in northwest North Carolina is home to about 10,000 residents. Charlotte and Raleigh, the nearest cities, are about two hours away. And while she loved the experience of growing up on a farm with her mother, father, brother, and grandparents, Petra is ready for all that a big city offers.
“My grandparents immigrated here from Germany and Yugoslavia. Living with them, and having the opportunity to travel some, provided me with a much different perspective on things than many of my high school classmates,” said Petra. “Georgia State and Atlanta are home to so many different people who have such different experiences than mine. I can’t wait to be in the middle of all that diverse, creative energy.”
As she opens her undergraduate career, Petra’s dedication and passion for her craft suggest it won’t be long before she sees a new, but familiar name in closing credits: her own.
To learn more about the Presidential Scholarship visit https://honors.gsu.edu/the-presidential-scholarship/.