Originally from Illinois, Mike Sear graduated from DePauw in 1990 with a degree in Economics and Communications with a Business Administration minor. Coming into college, Sear was unsure of what he wanted to do, and, following in his older brother's footsteps, he decided to declare an Economics major. Over time, Sears said he “started developing some passion towards storytelling,” which is when he chose to also major in Communications. 

Credit: Annika Christiansen

Sear helps people tell stories, as he did with Sophomore Media Fellows on Nov. 8. An integral part of the Media Fellows program is an internship during their Junior year, and Sophomore Media Fellows attend a series of workshops to help them prepare for their internships. Sear, the first speaker of this series, led an interview workshop. Sear has done many workshops at DePauw but always tailors them to “what's important to [students] right now.” 

During this workshop, Sear took volunteers and asked them the top three questions that are asked at interviews: tell me about yourself, why do you want to work for us, and why should we hire you? Volunteers would answer these questions and Sear would help them to rework their answers and frame them in a way that would tell a more compelling story. 

While on campus, Sear also visited the incoming class of Media Fellows to hold a mock press conference with Dean of the Creative School Marcus Hayes. Students were given news outlets at random, some including The Economist, Southern Living, Food Network and our very own The DePauw. Then,they were tasked with coming up with one question to ask Hayes while also staying in line with their media outlet and creating a headline with Hayes' response. Sear explained, “It's trying to put the students in real world situations, so you have to think on your feet, figure it out, and you walk away doing something very tangible.” 

Through his visit to DePauw, Sear exemplified the importance of storytelling. Sear cited an Indigenous proverb: “Tell me the facts and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.” This proverb rang true the whole time Sear taught. 

When asked what piece of advice he would give DePauw students, Sears responded, “Follow your heart, take advantage of the Winter Term, take advantage of the internships, that's all the experiential learning that people talk about now. … it's a small town but leads to a really big life because you are able to do a lot of big experiences while you're in college, and that's the best time to do them.”