Tuning the Student Mind

The Creators

Chelsea Jackson (Richer)

Director & Former Student

The Tuning the Student Mind film is my first completed project after graduating from film school. While I watch it with such fondness now, I also can’t help but feel nervous when it reaches a new audience. Molly and I laugh together about what we would change about the film being 10 years out from its completion. We love hearing that it continues to resonate with people in ways we only dreamed of.  

I consider the Tuning the Student Mind project a testament to the potential of education. As Molly says, students will remember how you made them feel – about learning and about themselves. Teaching at the college level has been a dream of mine ever since I experienced Molly’s unique skill in mentoring young people. I thought securing a teaching job would be a tall order, but when an email from the University of Colorado landed in my inbox out of the blue last fall inquiring about my interest in lecturing, the time felt ripe. I am now teaching Documentary as Social Practice to seniors who are preparing to enter the world of documentary filmmaking. I read the corresponding chapter in Molly’s book before each of the weekly classes. Her words echo in how I connect with my students. So far, it’s the most rewarding experience next to (and not far from) raising a family. 

When we’re not snack delivery people or running around to baseball practices, my husband Rob and I run a documentary production house in Longmont, Colorado called Jackson House Films. We specialize in social justice and environmental documentary work including steady projects for our local PBS station. They say if you love what you do you never work a day in your life. I don’t think that’s true, it’s often very hard work, but boy do I love every bit of it. 

Molly Beauregard

Professor & Author

Like Chelsea, I find it very hard to believe that the Tuning the Student Mind film is almost ten years old. Rewatching it now tugs at my heartstrings. I’ve always considered the film to be a love letter of sorts – from me to my students and from Chelsea to me. Working together on the film remains one of the sweetest seasons of my life. We were truly making it up as we went! I suppose Chelsea would call that a documentary filmmaking, but it certainly did make for some interesting times. We both learned so much through making the film.

In the years since the film premiered, I’ve continued to teach, write, take care of children – and now grandchildren, and think about the power of consciousness-centered education. I remain committed to my original mission of bringing meditation to students. I now serve as the co-director of the Program in Consciousness and Creativity at the University of Michigan and can attest to the fact that interest in this model for learning continues to grow. 

It’s lots of fun to remake this website as a container of sorts. The film certainly has a life of its own – it continues to twist and turn in the wind ending up in unexpected hands. A few months ago, I received an image of school children in Uganda watching it. I’ve also shared it with teachers in Korea, India, and Nigeria. It’s a bit like the little engine that could – I think I can, I think I can!! 

Chelsea and I had high hopes when we started this project. Like most ambitious dreamers, we thought we might be changing the world. I’m not sure we quite succeeded in that, but we certainly transformed each other through our long years of friendship and collaboration. 

We hope you enjoy our story!