Camille Ralston-Cowin, Mass Media Alumna, Rockets to Success

Camille Ralston-Cowin

By Dennis Conway

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the Mass Media Film and Video Society welcomed guest speaker and NASA Lead Video Producer Camille Ralston – Cowin. Ralston – Cowin spoke with students for almost 50 minutes about her experiences in video production, her duties at NASA, and her path to get there. NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) employs around 3,000 government employees and 12,000 contractors (from private corporations). Ralston – Cowin works for a global company called Leidos, but her office is at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, from which she spoke.

At V.S.U., Ralston – Cowin earned her Mass Media B.F.A. in 2014, and her Communication M.A. in 2018. She also worked in the Office of Strategic Communications & Marketing while here. She currently works in the Flight Operations Directorate in the Operations Division at NASA, in their Daily Operations and Crew Support Learning Lab, creating content for future and current astronauts. Much of her work supports the I.S.S. (International Space Station) and Artemis astronauts and their missions.

Ralston – Cowin is actively involved with supplying video products for the I.S.S. She creates internal videos, e-learning videos, and assists with internal training to help astronauts understand technology and space hardware. She is also the liaison to Hollywood studios to obtain current “Movie Night” videos for the astronauts to view during their leisure time. She is in charge of selecting and ordering video equipment for her division.

NASA supports an active video production department, for communication, promotion, and educational purposes. More specifically, Ralston – Cowin works on creative content, space hardware capture, onboard training, and psychological support, such as making “Lessons Learned” videos to improve astronaut performance. One of her spacewalk documentaries won an I.M.O.C. (Integrated Missions Operations Contract) award at NASA, as she converted several hours of interview footage into a 50-minute educational program.

Ralston – Cowin’s professional path started with a semester-long internship with C.N.N. at their Washington, D.C. Bureau, pushing back her graduation for a semester. After attaining her B.A., Ralston – Cowin worked in a number of positions both as a free-lancer and in full-time positions. These included jobs at the N.F.L. Network, the NBC show “The Voice” as Producer’s Assistant, the TruTV cable channel’s “Fake-Off” reality show as Art Coordinator, and with B&L Sound and Lighting as a Media Director.

Originally, Ralston – Cowin said that she wanted to be a social media manager for companies, but back in 2014, she says that “many companies did not see a need or want to pay for a social media manager.” She got her current job almost by accident. While taking a tour of NASA in Houston, where her brother worked as a spacesuit engineer, she met a video producer who said that they needed people with multiple production skills, which was hard to find. She raised her hand and told him that “I can do [all] that.”

Ralston – Cowin says that she had many tough decisions to make along the way in her career. At one point, she turned down an offer to move to Los Angeles and be a permanent employee on “The Voice,” because she wasn’t sure she wanted to work in T.V. And while she enjoyed her time in News production at C.N.N., she said that she wanted to “make the world a better place.” She wanted to “tell stories that help people” and “do documentaries.” She claims that at NASA, “I get to do all of that here. I get to do documentaries, and make short videos. If I wanted to do a short film, they’d probably let me.”

In response to V.S.U. students asking for career advice, Ralston – Cowin advised them to create error-free resumes (check your spelling), use professional templates (such as templates found on Canva or Etsy), get internships, and use good audio and lighting when doing virtual interviews. She says that NASA has numerous internships, with contracted companies and through the agency, and recommends that students look at “Linked-In Jobs” and for those opportunities and others. During internships, she advised that students come early to their job, and learn how other people there do their jobs and work with equipment and technology. It will help them earn a good reputation and get references.

The Mass Media Film and Video Society meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in Room 1001 in the Mass Media Building. For more information, please email F.V.S. President Mya Arthur at