Westmont Magazine A Drive for Internships
How far would you drive for a job? Four communication studies majors commuted to Los Angeles for internships this year. Seniors Samantha Hill, Jessica Blake, Angela Morgan, and Kristin Vaughan considered rush-hour traffic a small price to pay for experiences they relished.
Samantha Hill worked all year for Virgin Records, gaining exposure to publicity in the music industry. She knew when she was in 10th grade that she wanted to work for a record company. A typical day entailed preparing mailings, putting together press kits, answering the phone, dealing with the press, clipping articles, ordering CDs, and keeping biographies of artists straight.
“The drive is insignificant because this internship is the first step in achieving my goals,” she says. “There is a lot I want to do with my life, and every day counts. I love my internship, and it is worth the drive.”
Jessica Blake and Kristin Vaughan received information about their internships at the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles through the communication studies department and the Career and Life Planning Center at Westmont. A member of the Warrior soccer team for two years, Jessica helped news producers compile data about the major sporting events of the day. She was also able to observe editing and newswriting for the telecast.
“My experience has shown me how competitive news is,” she notes. “You have to be willing to start in a small market for low pay and climb the ladder to a place like L.A. — unless you get lucky. Sports reporting and anchoring are difficult for women to break into,” she continues, “but may be a good challenge.”
When Kristin participated in Westmont’s Urban program in San Francisco, she interned at KPIX, a CBS affiliate, and became interested in television news.
“I very much would like to be a reporter, but there are other aspects of television news that interest me as well,” she says. She appreciated her time at the L.A. station because she cultivated her writing skills in one-on-one sessions with her supervisor as well as learning about news media.
“Don’t be afraid to take the initiative,” she asserts. “In the news industry, you can’t be quiet. If you have an opinion, you should give it. Who knows, maybe somebody higher up might take you seriously. If they don’t, you haven’t lost anything by taking the initiative for yourself.”
Angela Morgan also found her internship at Career and Life Planning, opting to gain knowledge of the fashion industry.
“I have been interested in two different occupations my entire life,” she said. “I love fashion (which includes make-up and hair, as well as clothes), and I love kids. I don’t know which I am going to pursue.”
Realizing that a lack of experience kept her from a job in Montecito, Angela contacted two Westmont alumnae who work at Fredrick Atkins California, a company that monitors clothing trends as they develop and then puts out samples to see what sells.
“This job was actually a gift,” Angela explains. “I was supposed to have substantial retail experience to get it, and I haven’t ever worked in a store. I have much more experience working with kids,” she notes. “I may continue in the fashion field, but I do need to get that retail experience first.”
All four women encourage students to look beyond Santa Barbara for internships, especially if a drive to Los Angeles helps them realize their dreams.