Entertainment and Creative Arts

Entertainment and creative arts industries have a vast reach on American culture and society, spanning a diverse range of career opportunities. This industry brings in alumni with backgrounds from a variety of different fields. From film & media production to theater and American poetry, there are professionals who have drawn from their experiences at UChicago to make their mark on media, television, the silver screen, the stage, and beyond. Alumni will share their experiences about how they took advantage of their UChicago experiences and refined the skills they accrued from their education to ones they now use in the work force.

Panel Participants

Tiffany Gholar, AB'01, M.A. Painting'09

Artist / Writer / Designer

Ms. Gholar graduated from the College in 2001 with a degree in general studies in the humanities. Her focus was art, creative writing, and film. While in the College, she was an active member of the Organization of Black Students. She returned to school after graduation to study fiction writing, interior design, and painting and now works as an artist, writer, and freelance interior designer. She is the author of three art books, 'Post-Consumerism,' 'Imperfect Things,' and 'The Doll Project,' and a young adult novel, 'A Bitter Pill to Swallow.' Her artwork has been exhibited in many Chicago area venues, including The Harold Washington Library and The Chicago Children's Museum.

David Goodman, AB'84, AB'84


Mr. Goodman graduated from the College with a degree in political science. After a short stint in book publishing, he started writing, and was soon hired as a staff writer on The Golden Girls. Since then, he has written for 20 television series, including American Dad, Allen Gregory, Dads, Futurama, and Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as Family Guy, where he's worked on and off for the last seventeen years, six of them as head writer and Executive Producer. He is currently working on a new project with Seth MacFarlane, a one-hour science fiction drama/comedy for Fox which will air in Fall, 2017. He is also the author of two Star Trek related books, "Federation: the First 150 Years", and "The Autobiography of James T. Kirk." He is currently the Vice President of the Writers Guild of America.

Robert Shoemaker, AB'14, MFA Naropa University, Creative Writing and Poetics (Expected 2018)

Poet-Playwright, Poetry Is Productions

Mr. Shoemaker is a poet-playwright attending the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Eric is a 2014 Theater and Performance Studies graduate of the College, with focuses in playwriting and scenic design. While attending the College, Eric was the Artistic Director of Classical Entertainment Society and a founding member of Memoryhouse Magazine's performance ensemble. Mr. Shoemaker's work has been published in his debut poetry collection "30 Days Dry" and in various journals including Rollick, LED, and Mosaic. His work has been seen throughout Chicago via various companies including Poetry Is Productions, which featured his successful musical PLATH/HUGHES, winner of the 2014 Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize for Best Play. Eric currently lives in Boulder, Colorado and is working on his second full-length poetry collection, to be published in 2017.

Patrick Thomas Underwood, AB'03, MFA'08 (American Film Institute)

Filmmaker, Peeled Apple Pictures

Patrick Thomas Underwood Director/Writer/Producer Mr. Underwood graduated from the College with an A.B. in cinema and media studies. He then moved to Venice, Italy, where his eight years of operatic training culminated in a year-long artistic residency with a teacher at the Teatro La Fenice. Returning to the States to pursue a career in film, he earned his MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He has written and directed seven shorts, including his AFI thesis film, SOFIA, which premiered at the Sedona International Film Festival in 2010. His debut feature, THE MIDDLE DISTANCE, debuted in the New Directors Competition at the 51st Chicago International Film Festival. He is currently at work on a second feature screenplay.

John Zhang, AB'12

Manager of Development, Le Vision Entertainment

While studying economics at the College, Mr. Zhang completed marketing and social media internships with Nickelodeon and MTV in New York. On campus, he was a member of Lambda Phi Epsilon, and frequent contributor of the CUSA and KSO cultural shows. After graduation, he found himself attracted to the creative side of the business so he made the move to Los Angeles. He found his first job through the College's career services at Perfect Storm Entertainment, the production company of director Justin Lin, where he mainly focused on developing and producing movies for the emerging Chinese market. Currently, he works as a Manager of Development at Le Vision Entertainment, a company that has been called the Netflix of China. Le Vision aims to produce four to six English language films per year for theatrical release and is an investor in the upcoming movie "Great Wall" starring Matt Damon.