Today we have a guest post from our lovely and talented student intern Aya, a Senior in the College who was selected to participate in this year’s Georgetown Entertainment & Media Alliance (GEMA) Externship during her spring break. Aya is the kind of Senior who you just get so excited for as graduation nears, since you have a feeling they are going to make a big impact in the professional world. We hope you will feel as inspired as we were to hear about her experiences in New York City and remember that the power of the Hoya Network is yours to leverage!
While most college students spend their spring breaks jet skiing in Puerto Rico or tanning on South Beach, I traveled up to New York City for a once in a life time opportunity. For the past few years, the Georgetown Entertainment & Media Alliance (GEMA) has held a week long externship for 12 senior and graduate students in Los Angeles and New York City. The externship “gives students an opportunity to meet experienced professionals in the fields of entertainment and media, and get a first-hand look at day-to-day operations in the industry”. For some time, I struggled with the idea of not pursuing a traditional post graduate plan. While so many of my friends received offers from consulting firms and graduate school acceptance letters, I wondered whether or not I made the right decision to decline an offer from Teach for America last fall. The GEMA externship revealed that I not only had I made the right decision, but also the best decision for me.
My experience during the externship truly reaffirmed my love for media, advocacy and music. On the first day, I met with two amazing Georgetown alumni, Teddy Zambetti (COL’80) Senior Director of Music Production and In-house Composer at Sirius XM Radio and Allison Gilbert (COL ‘92) Television and Digital News Producer at CNN. I was overwhelmed by their passion, charisma and willingness to help fellow Hoyas. At both Sirius and CNN the externs received tours of the studio and given opportunities to speak to the alumni about their career paths. I learned the value of following your heart. As someone who has always aspired to be on television, channeling the thoughtfulness and success of women like Oprah Winfrey and Melissa Harris-Perry, I found the wisdom shared by the various alumni to be not only insightful, but also encouraging.
After considering extending my trip a few extra days, I left New York feeling bold. I met amazing women in magazine publishing, television production and correspondence, marketing and music and digital strategy from companies ranging from the Ad Council, CNN, NBC, ABC, Warner Music Group and People Magazine just to name a few. Though the job titles each woman held were different, each woman shared their love for media and entertainment and possessed one key trait, tenacity.
As I continue my journey to be “Oprah with a PhD”, I am reminded of the importance of a strong network. Thankfully, Georgetown has revealed that a Hoya can be encountered anywhere—even in a small Indian café around 30 Rock during lunchtime. I am reminded how a simple thank you email can lead to a long road of opportunities. In the words of Georgetown alum John Hodges (COL ’00), Partner at A24 Films, networking is more than who you know or what you know, but also “how you play your cards”. The GEMA Externship helped me realize the amazing hand of cards that I have been dealt and exposed me to the various venues where they could be played.