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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Marine Vet Turns in Machine Gun for Video Cam

Dru Davis knows what he’s going to do after the Thursday, Dec. 15, commencement ceremony. Sleep.

He hasn’t had much shut eye during the last 10 years. The 31-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps signed up right out of high school in El Paso, Texas; survived boot camp, and – following the attack on the World Trade Center towers – shipped out to Afghanistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden, then urban warfare in Iraq. After an assignment helping to train troops in Japan, he was sent on another tour in Iraq.

When an injury tore up his ankle and ligaments up to the knee, Davis mustered out and – with his GI benefits in hand – enrolled at UALR.

“I love movies and videos and I’ve always been told to do what you like to do,” the soon-to-be graduate said. He will graduate with a B.A. in mass communications following several sleep-depriving 18-hour semesters and full-load summers.

In between, Davis got a leg up on his new profession, landing an internship with ABC-TV-affiliate KATV, Channel 7. Practical classroom experience shooting video helped him secure the internship.

“In (Instructor and Production Supervisor) David Weekly’s class, we would shoot UALR basketball games to get camera experience,” he said. “That can open you up to all kinds of opportunities.”

With his camera experience on the basketball court, Davis was a valuable intern at KATV, shooting Friday night football for Sports Director Steve Sullivan.

Eventually, Davis said he wants to shoot a documentary about Marine boot camp and the making of a drill sergeant.

But first, sleep. “Then, I’m going all out to find what’s out there for me,” Davis said. “I want to show the world how graduates of our school do.”

He praised the school’s professors, many of whom are former professional journalists, broadcasters, and public relations executives.

“They are incredible,” he said. “Especially Bruce Popper, Timothy Edwards, and Amy Barnes.”

“Mrs. Barnes knows a lot of people behind the scenes. Her recommendation got me my internship,” he said of the associate professor and former news reporter, anchor, and producer.

“It was the best time of my life, and I’m so proud to be a UALR Trojan,” he said.