Detroit Regional Chamber > Education & Talent > Detroit Promise Student Spotlight: Meet Raya Ellsberry

Detroit Promise Student Spotlight: Meet Raya Ellsberry

October 12, 2022

The Detroit Promise is a last-dollar scholarship that ensures all eligible Detroit residents have a tuition-free path to an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or technical certificate at participating academic institutions. Since 2013, it has helped more than 5,000 students access postsecondary education. To help showcase the impact of the Detroit Promise on these students, the Chamber is sharing student spotlights. View the first spotlight below.

Raya Ellsberry is a born and raised Detroit native. Basketball has always been a central thread in her life. Ellsberry shot hoops with peers on her fifth-grade team, played in middle school, and was a member of Cass Technical High School’s girls’ team for three years. A journey to “figure out who [she] was outside of basketball” led Ellsberry to a high school film production course where she found the exact pieces of herself she’d been looking for. This course ignited an interest in all things film, which prompted Ellsberry to major in film production at Oakland University.

Ellsberry graduated in April 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in cinematography and film and video production and several internships under her belt. She is now continuing to build her skill set and experience as a full-time motion graphics intern for the Detroit Pistons, the perfect marriage of video and basketball.

Q&A with Raya Ellsberry

What does your day-to-day look like?

“I come in and usually have maybe three or four projects circling around me. Depending on the due dates, that’s which one I’ll go through first. So, I’ll do any motion graphic projects that were assigned to me by my project manager, and once I get done, it’s on to the next project. In between, I have millions of meetings that I attend.”

What has been one of your favorite projects to work on so far?

“There was this project I had to do for the entertainment team. I had to build out a whole new project for Hooper, the mascot; I had to make a whole new animation for it. Making it from scratch was obviously rewarding, but also annoying… but that project was awesome because of the idea I had for it. I didn’t think that they would go for the animation. My thinking was, ‘why would they listen to me? I just got here,’ but it turned out great. They wanted me to do the animation as a template for the rest of the entertainment teams.”

What advice would you give to current students interested in your field or just students in general?

“Being authentic goes a long way. If you have to put on a façade for a place, that’s just not the place for you. You’re tiring yourself out trying to keep up that charade. Every place that I’ve went to has loved me for me. If you’re being fake about that, eventually somebody’s going to feel that. So being authentic goes a long way.”

For opportunities to connect with Ellsberry or her work, check out her LinkedIn.

Learn more about the Detroit Regional Chamber’s flagship education and talent programs.