Two words were all senior Ali Kerns needed to describe her Clemson Experience.

Endless opportunity.

“I’ve been amazed, and almost unprepared, for the amount of opportunities I’ve experienced,” she said.

A music enthusiast from an early age, Kerns began her undergraduate career as a voice major. She joined Clemson University Singers by enrolling in Music 3700, which carried with it a three-hour course credit and the ability to sing in a large ensemble. CU Singers also provided Kerns with her first “surreal experience.” The choir went to Germany and the Czech Republic, performing over a three-week span in a number of churches, including the site where legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach is buried.

While in CU Singers, she discovered TakeNote, Clemson’s exclusive female a cappella group. Kerns auditioned and the rest, as they say, is history. She joined the student-led organization which performs music ranging from 1960s hits to contemporary arrangements. TakeNote often performs at Tigerama, ring ceremonies, athletics competitions, and at local schools and community functions.

Members of female a cappella ensemble TakeNote prior to a performance

Kerns (sixth from left) is a member of TakeNote, Clemson’s female a cappella ensemble.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

“TakeNote has completely changed my experience for the better,” said Kerns, who sings alto two and does vocal percussion for the group. “I’ve formed so many relationships that I wouldn’t have otherwise had I not auditioned and joined. We are completely student-led, meaning we run rehearsals, arrange the music and organize meetings.”

Now a communication major, Kerns has been heavily involved in TakeNote’s marketing efforts, which includes running the group’s website. She handles similar duties for the Clemson chapter of Kappa Delta, including videography during the sorority recruitment period.

The interest in videography has taken Kerns to places she never imagined. Teaming with close friend Paul Trimmier, the two created a video project for a brand communications course and sent it to the creative media group in Clemson Athletics.

“We did a parody of the football ‘Why We Work’ video that is played before the fourth quarter at home games,” Kerns laughed. “It featured two guys doing walk-on tryouts and exercises, but being really bad at them.”

The video was enough to impress Nik Conklin, who coordinates digital content for the athletic department.

“We knew from the get-go that we wanted to bring Ali on board,” he said. “She showed a lot of storytelling potential.”

Kerns has taken the opportunity and run with it, serving in a student videographer role. She is a primary contributor of digital content for the women’s soccer and women’s tennis teams, while also chipping in heavily during football season.

Ali Kerns filming a video during a football game

Kerns is a student videographer for the athletic department.
Image Credit: Clemson Athletics

It’s helped her discover and pursue a passion.

“I remember freshman year, sitting in the stadium and looking up and watching those videos, and thought it would be so amazing to do something like that,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here right now without that brand communications project. Being a part of the social media team with athletics has completely defined my Clemson Experience.”

A Clemson Experience shaped and molded through her involvement with Student Affairs.

“There really is no place like Clemson,” she said. “When you come to Clemson, you get people that truly care about you. It’s not something you experience every day at other places. It’s been such an unbelievable experience, and I’m grateful for it.”