Just because school is out for the summer doesn’t mean Emerson’s School of Communication (SOC) students have quit working.
Students are getting their feet through internships at local and national news desks, radio and TV broadcasting studios, control rooms, board rooms, publishing houses, hospitals, the Massachusetts State House, and various sporting venues, including Fenway Park.
This summer, the SOC is checking in with several of these students to see how they’re putting their Emerson education into practice.
Samantha Avalos ’18
NBC’s Today – June 4-August 1
As a young girl, Samantha Avalos grew up watching NBC’s Today every morning alongside her mother. Ever since her seventh-grade journalism class, she’s been in love with the craft.
When describing what sparked her passion for journalism, she alluded to what she considers an inspiring CBS News series, “Everybody Has a Story,” with correspondent Steve Hartman, who told the stories of random people across America.
“What I really like about journalism is being able to tell people’s stories that you don’t really hear – whether it’s here, abroad, or about major crises around the world,” said Avalos, a second-semester senior who came to Emerson for its quality journalism program. “I love the national news aspect.”
Now, the aspiring TV producer is working as an intern for Today at NBC Universal in Studio City, California. Her job involves transcribing all the interviews received through either NBC’s Los Angeles or New York City bureaus, and also monitoring social media for trending topics and sources.
In addition to her transcription work, Avalos has spent time working with Stay Tuned, a twice-daily news show on Snapchat during VidCon, a multi-genre online video conference. There, she helped coordinate talent and operated cameras on set.
“Even if I was sitting there just watching, I was learning so much from everyone,” she said. “I think the reward is getting to pick people’s brains. My favorite thing to do is ask some of the producers how they got to where they are and if they have any advice.”
Last year, Avalos was the news director at Emerson’s WEBN-TV, where she coordinated staff, wrote scripts, and produced shows.
“Everything I learned, even just a little bit, from my Emerson classes taught me how to run the [WEBN] organization and then take all of my skills and apply it to where I can at my internship,” Avalos said. “I think Emerson’s journalism program really prepared me. Even if I were to get a job right now, I’d feel really prepared.”
Jessica Braunstein ‘20
Business of Creative Enterprises
Warner Music, June 12-August 15
Live music makes Jessica Braunstein happy. A frequent concert-goer since age 6, the Business of Creative Enterprises (BCE) major is interning for Warner Music Group in New York City. She said she’s set on making a living doing something she loves: artist development and touring.
Braunstein was one of the first students to enter into Emerson’s recently launched BCE program. The curriculum for students in the major is individually tailored based on career goals via relevant coursework and internships. Braunstein attained her internship after Emerson held a Warner Music Group information session on campus.
“Every individual student who’s in that program, more or less, we’ve all been able to figure out what we want to do and express that to [BCE faculty], and they’ve been able to help us out,” she said.
Braunstein has been able to apply her BCE experience as a radio promotions intern at Warner Music under its Atlantic Records label. There, she is tasked with sifting through radio media base reports that rank the top 200 songs for every radio format, and then note which are by Atlantic artists.
She also helps brainstorm creative promotional ideas for songs being pushed, and scans social media to learn what fans are saying about Atlantic songs and artists.
“The other interns are great, too,” she said. “Everyone is really competitive and driven. It’s just like Emerson, because everyone at Emerson is super driven, so it doesn’t feel any different.”
Helping her gain more professional experience is Atlantic Records’ Marketing Madness program, in which all interns create marketing campaigns for Atlantic artists and present them to the label’s chief operating officer and other executives.
“It’s also cool to learn about other things going on outside promotions,” Braunstein said. “Coming from the BCE program, I was a lot more confident going into the internship because from BCE, we get the hard principles of business and we also get to be more creative about it.
“We get the best of both worlds at Emerson.”
Rey Sleiman Sawan ‘18
Apple, May 21-August 21
Just one credit shy from completing his degree, Rey Sawan of Dubai praised Emerson for being a place of diverse beliefs and perspectives.
“At the end of the day, I’m in the business of understanding people, and the more people I can understand, the more perspectives I can understand, and also, the better I’ll be at my job,” said Sawan, currently a planning intern at Apple.
Sawan reports to Apple’s Marketing Communication Building – one of the technology behemoth’s 80 buildings at its Cupertino, California, headquarters. He likened his role as a planning intern to a brand strategist, helping to direct an advertising campaign, including its message, where it appears, how it appears, and to whom.
Sawan, who recently celebrated his four-year anniversary in the United States, said Emerson has fueled his desire to learn more about other people and their unique viewpoints.
“[At Emerson], we had all gathered around a similar passion: communication,” he said. “Being exposed to people who solve problems creatively in many different ways, whether it’s behind a camera, behind words, or behind business – it’s just the ability to approach and critically think about things with a lot of different scopes, on a human level and on a professional level.”