Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?
“You can take the girl out of the Bronx, but u can’t take the Bronx out of the girl” Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, I’ve has been working as an on-camera personality/reporter and blogger since graduation from Syracuse University. I graduated in 2008 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communication. At Syracuse, I was president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, I was DJ “Juice” on Z89 every Saturday night on the Danger Zone and I acted as a mentor with the DIMES mentoring group.
What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?
Looking back, my experience at Syracuse University was more like a roller coaster at Six Flags than a four year stint at college. I started Syracuse without knowing anyone or what a 101 class would be like. I had no idea what ride I was getting on, I was just excited, innocent and ready to get into it all. Then I started to feel similar to the way you do on those parts of a roller coaster where you freak out because your climbing a huge hill and preparing for the drop. It’s like these moments of a full on panic. Stupidly and prematurely, since, I had not even reached the top yet… I was just a freshman. I had moments of I don’t fit it, I don’t understand the material. I’d call home crying to my parents because I didn’t think I could handle the work load. College was really overwhelming at times. As a girl from the Bronx, I often doubted my high school education. I didn’t see it as up to par with the work I was doing at Newhouse. I took classes with students who were already well versed in media, worked for their student newspapers, worked for their student run radio station, announced the sports games. I had none of that experience and that really intimated me. But like any roller coaster, you get to the top and realize you can handle the rest of the ride if you just let go. I was able to let go of my own insecurities at one point and learned I had skills I brought to the class that other classmates lacked. By the end of my freshman year, I felt I added unique value and insight to my classes. This was crucial. I learned a lot, my grades improved, I grasped the material quicker and I really started to enjoy my overall college experience.
What did you do post-SU?
I graduated in 2008, which was right around the time the market crashed. It was really difficult to land a job, but I somehow managed two interviews… one with NBC and one at ESPN. I thought I nailed the NBC interview and tanked the ESPN interview. Ironically, I was offered a position at ESPN and not at NBC. However, instead of taking the ESPN position at what I thought would be a dream job for me; I decided to take the opportunity to travel in hopes that when I returned, the market would give me a few more options. I bought a one-way ticket to London and somehow talked my way in to working as a freelancer for an advertising agency as a production assistant. Unfortunately, I returned to the US to a still struggling job market, so out of pure desperation I applied for every job I possibly could. One position in particular I had applied for, was a national contest for Nike.com to be their Field Reporter. A dream job I never imagined actually winning. But, somehow I won out of tons of aspiring reporters and bloggers. I spent that year interviewing and writing about athletes and celebrities like Serena Williams, Lebron James and Reece Witherspoon. Then my contract finished and I was back on my own freelancing as a sideline reporter and writing for different production companies. I currently work at truTV for Turner Broadcasting in the Digital Department and I love it.
What’s the best advice you would give to current students?
Never give up is too cliché, but maybe along the lines of never stop working. I think even when I was between jobs; I never just sat and stopped working in media. I wrote on my own time, I took photos, I read a lot and I applied for jobs. Even when you’re not being paid for it, you should work on your career and skill sets that are going to build you as an overall employee and person. On that note, I also recommend that anyone that is very career driven should have a hobby outside of your career to give yourself the time to step away from it. For me it’s running. I love to run and clear my mind from all the madness working in media can bring. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am running and sometimes I feel more refreshed when I have writers block after a long run. Whether its painting, cooking, running or just going for a walk… find something that is outside of your career that you can enjoy as well! It’s also great for networking!
What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?
I think the LANSU scholarship is one of the best scholarships for a student to be awarded with. I love that its focus is to create programs and develop relationships for our demographic. As a Latina, I find Hispanics can sometimes be overlooked. The ones that make it to college are usually Americanized to an extent, but are raised with very different traditions and ambitions than some of our counterparts. Some of us who are first generation aren’t given much direction in regards to education, it’s a complete culture shock to attend a huge school and I, personally, had no one to tell me what to expect at a huge University and what it would be like to live far away from home. To have a scholarship program that helps smart students who are looking to really take full advantage of what Syracuse University has to offer… well what’s better than that?