She thought all the requirements had been met and her degree was completed. So, PSU student Molly Stack moved to Ireland, ready to launch a career in multimedia. After moving thousands of miles away from Portland, Stack was informed that she had not fulfilled all of her requirements. Because the classes she needed would not be offered online, a return to the states would be necessary if Stack wanted to graduate.
She thought all the requirements had been met and her degree was completed. So, PSU student Molly Stack moved to Ireland, ready to launch a career in multimedia.
After moving thousands of miles away from Portland, Stack was informed that she had not fulfilled all of her requirements. Because the classes she needed would not be offered online, a return to the states would be necessary if Stack wanted to graduate.
But Stack was not about to jeopardize her opportunities in a new country, so she decided to stay in Ireland, opting to switch her major from general studies to liberal studies, which offers more class flexibility.
For the past five years, Stack has been living in Ireland, while occasionally taking online classes through Portland State, slowly inching closer to her new degree. Stack has been enrolled at PSU since she was 24, nearly 10 years ago. Now she is finishing up her last PSU course, Film and Politics.
“I’m very thankful for PSU, and as funny as it sounds, I will miss the PSU academia,” she said.
The American-born Stack grew up in Pennsylvania before moving to Santa Cruz, Calif., when she was six. She moved around a few more times, to Washington and then to Bend, Ore., before finally enrolling at PSU.
In the summer of 2000, while Stack was enrolled at PSU, she studied abroad in Italy. After completing her studies, Stack spent some time exploring Ireland, sparking an interest that would eventually lead her to return.
During her short visit to Ireland, Stack said she met someone, and after her departure back to the states, they kept in touch through e-mail exchanges. Stack returned to Ireland in the summer of 2002, but the relationship eventually dwindled, and Stack once again returned to Portland, this time focused on completing her degree.
In the spring of 2003, Stack, believing she had completed her degree, moved back to Ireland to pursue multimedia and film production. It was not until moving that she discovered her misfortune.
Stack was on a three-month touring visa and was not allowed to work. She had to get her visa stamped again or leave the country.
“I was living in Ireland illegally for eight months after my visa ran out,” Stack said. “I had to get jobs that would pay me under the table.”
There were two options facing Stack: she could either continue to look for a company that would be willing to “sponsor” her, meaning they would pay for her yearly visa fees, or she could become self-employed. Stack decided to go for the latter, hoping to start her own company.
“My experience as an audio and visual technician while working in the multimedia lab at PSU gave me the skills I needed to feel confidant in pursuing this goal,” Stack said.
After officially applying through the Irish government for a worker’s visa, they informed Stack that she could either operate as an officially licensed independent filmmaker, which she had already been working as in the country unofficially, or leave Ireland.
“The Irish government decided for me that I was going to be a filmmaker,” Stack said.
While living and attending classes in Portland, Stack said she had nursed the idea of starting her own production company. But in Ireland she found the opportunity.
“When they told me my options I said, ‘OK, this is my dream job. Now I’ve got to do it. I have no choice now but to follow my dreams,'” she said.
This Sunday, both Stack and Hamilton will be in Moscow, Russia for the Union of European Football Associations championship game between Manchester United and Chelsea.
At the match, Stack will be active behind-the-scenes, working as an assistant producer for the live Irish television broadcast, while Hamilton will be roaming the sidelines as a field reporter.
Stack has a few scripts she has been working on for the past few years that she would like to revisit, however with her busy schedule, Stack struggles to find time.
“These things tend to incubate,” Stack said. “You work on them really intensely for a while and then you put them down.”
Moving to Ireland has provided Stack with a great opportunity to expand her creativity as a filmmaker, she said. “For them to basically decide my career for me was a bit strange, but also a gift at the same time.”