By Molly Loughman
Since Emerson extended its presence westward into Los Angeles over 30 years ago, Emerson Los Angeles has been seen as a hub mainly for students in the School of the Arts. But not anymore.
Thanks to Emerson’s presence and strong network in Los Angeles, students in the School of Communication are increasingly discovering valuable internship opportunities in journalism, marketing, public relations, and many other areas. (See the recent post by Ana Rosal ’19, who shares her experience as a marketing intern).
In fact, those opportunities often outnumber SOC students, says Mikhail Gershovich, Emerson LA Academic Director. “ELA isn’t just for VMA majors, and it’s not just for Performing Arts majors — ELA has opportunity for all Emerson students. And that’s really what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to create as many opportunities as we can in LA for all Emerson students,” Gershovich adds.
In order to take better advantage of internship opportunities, Gersovich is working to with SOC Dean Raul Reis and the faculty to rethink academic opportunities. Part of the problem, they agree, is that SOC students often wait until they are juniors to express interest in ELA for their senior year, which leaves inadequate time to plan for the courses or professors that would serve best their various academic needs. Reis is encouraging faculty advisors to discuss ELA with their students earlier in their academic careers.
Another possible option is the model set forth by the SOC’s Business of Creative Enterprises (BCE) program. This year, its seniors — and first graduating class — are studying at Emerson LA in either the spring or fall. Reis hopes BCE’s expansion approach into Emerson LA inspires students and faculty in other departments to plant the seeds of a Los Angeles experience, so by the time SOC students are seniors, they’ll have one.
“As a school, we want a bigger presence in Los Angeles because we know all the potential that is there — not only with all the opportunities we have now, but the ones we can develop as our presence grows,” says Reis. “If students want to go into the entertainment industry, ELA is a no-brainer. Many times students don’t know where they want to end up. But because the ELA internships, residential life, and academic and residential experience are so positive, students should consider going, even if they are not thinking of permanently living in LA.”
“I came to Emerson LA because I’ve wanted to work in the movie industry since I was 15, and this seemed like a good opportunity … and this campus is so cool. I’m an Artists and Repertoire (A&R) intern at Hopeless Records in Van Nuys doing marketing and sales — so a lot of sales sheets, learning how to promote records, learning how to sell records, get them in stores and on the shelves. I want to work for independent record labels because I feel like there’s a lot of care behind the music and this experience has solidified that… Emerson is kind of scary, but it’s a good kind of scary. You need to be challenged — and Emerson will do that.”
– Keely O’Connell ‘19
“I think ELA would be perfect during an election cycle. It’s hard to find politics [off season], but that’s almost made me look for politics more… The Entertainment PR class [at Emerson LA] is surprisingly political because a lot of stars are becoming super political nowadays, so a lot of what we were doing was talking about stars who’ve made political statements. And even in my Sports Media class, we talked a lot about Colin Kaepernick, and that’s wildly political.”
– Brianna Carpenter ‘19
Just some of the LA companies where SOC students interned during Fall 2019.
- Allied Integrated Marketing
- Anderson Group Public Relations
- BGB Studio
- Brave New Films
- The Ellen Degeneres Show
- Funny or Die
- Live Nation Entertainment
- Los Angeles Magazine
- More Media
- Slate PR
- Studio 71
- Red Light PR