GI Film Fest Intern: Meet Steph

By Marquis Watson

Want to know about an enthusiastic, relatable, and an ingenious member of the GI Film Festival internship team? Meet Stephanie (Steph) Riley, a rising sophomore at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Stephanie was born March 26, 1995 in Jacksonville, FL. What makes her unique is that Steph likes having a positive outlook on life, even during seemingly negative situations. Her goal in life is “to be successful,” which she defines as not a measure of material things or monetary worth, but simply inspiring others.


Steph likes pop music and pop artist Bruno Mars and also enjoys yoga, eating, sprinting, and lifting. Yet, she hates running and working out and has been recovering from a broken foot. Steph says she has a talent for being talentless, but added when pressed, that her talents could be flexibility and math.  But most importantly, Steph, likes to write poems. Her favorite original work, “Satisfaction,” is about empowering people and not letting others become an obstacle in reaching one’s life goal.

Like everyone, Steph has her favorites. Her favorite number is 4.  Her favorite actor is Kerry Washington, her favorite military movie is Forrest Gump however her favorite all-time movie is Seven Pounds because the plot is “absolutely amazing” and extremely emotional. Stephanie thinks that after watching the movie, if one does not shed a tear, he or she is quite possibly not human.


Steph’s personality is very blunt, bright, and warm all in one.  Steph showed her bluntness when asked which utensil best matched her personality.  She replied  a fork because she does not ease around like a spoon, nor does she “lightly stab” like a spork. She feels that like a fork, she is more direct. Being direct also makes for her drive.

In regards to shaping the characteristics of her personality, her life’s biggest challenge enabled her to trust other people and their help, make a joke when the mood seems to be dark, and tell someone when she needs or does not need something. Her biggest fear is disappointing her mother.  There is no surprise that this determined cadet’s favorite quote is by Winston Churchill, which says “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  Stephanie says her dream that would be to live in Brazil where she could dabble in Portuguese.


Steph’s amazed by the unique route the GI Film Festival has taken to bridge the military-civilian gap through film. She feels that it is a great way to get awareness out to the public because everyone enjoys watches movies. She also loves that the GI Film Festival seeks to enhance the careers of military personnel who are thespians at heart. Stephanie is a true leader among her peers, constantly striving for success.  She hopes she can use what she gains from the GI Film Festival to help continue to bridge the gap between military and civilians.

Follow GI Film Festival @gifilm

Follow Marquis Watson @imarq_

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