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Syllabus: It's Up to You… New York Internship
Broadens Horizons for SC Student

by Sarah Kallail '05

For almost three months this summer, Frank Sinatra's New York, New York was a soundtrack that played through my mind over and over again. As I walked to work, I would look up to see the Empire State Building towering over me and could feel the song sneaking into my brain:

Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today — I want to be a part of it — New York, New York.

I continued walking to the grimy subway station, hardly a place of culture. Yet, on any given day I would pass the most talented dancers and musicians the island of Manhattan could offer.

These little town blues, are melting away—I'll make a brand new start of it — in old New York.

Avoiding 45 sets of eyes (as a true New Yorker does), I arrived at a destination best known for its enormous Christmas tree. An American symbol, perhaps, that lights up entire city blocks. This is a place that I happened to call work; most other people call it Rockefeller Center.

You might ask what a kid like me is doing singing Frank Sinatra songs and traipsing about New York City. I could answer this the easy way: I had an internship all summer at NBC. However, I choose to say that, well, I was having the single greatest experience of my life.

I was born in Manhattan, Kansas, and never thought I would live in another city named Manhattan. As a communications major, I heard about the amazing internships other students were getting in the media industry and decided to look into it myself. A cousin in the television business let me know that the NBC Networks in New York had a great intern program and encouraged me to apply. After a failed attempt to make it into the exclusive program last year, I came back more determined than ever to get the internship for my final eligible summer.

So last year, every time the numbers "212" popped up on my cell phone, I felt a surge go through my body. The calls from the New York area code meant that I had to prove I was better than the 2,000 other applicants hoping for a chance to intern at the National Broadcasting Company. After four phone interviews, the final call came and I was told that they would love to have me as a part of the NBC internship team for the summer. I'd be shocked if my screams did not wake up the entire Reid Apartment building.

Feelings of excitement, worry, anxiety, and curiosity were rushing all around me. Would I like New York? Is it safe? Would I finally learn how to do laundry by myself? I had learned from my numerous interviews that I would be working in the news talent department. Since my area of interest was reporting and anchoring, this would to be a good placement for me. And, as it turned out, my internship was superb. I learned quickly that the people I was working next to and in contact with are known throughout the world; a five-minute conversation with them is a dream for many people. I was in the executive offices of NBC News working under the vice president of talent, Elena Nachmanoff. Right around the corner was President Neil Shapiro, and neighboring us were the offices of Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and The Today Show.

I was able to do many exciting things as the summer progressed. Not only was I working in a place where seeing TV personalities was an everyday occurrence, I had the chance to interview Donald Trump and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and bump elbows with several other celebrities. I witnessed a taping of The Today Show, and attended the Friday concerts in the Plaza.

As part of the seven-member NBC Mobile team, a project that started this summer, I helped bring updated headline news to anyone with a video phone. I shadowed in the Access Hollywood department and helped on an interview in the Trump Plaza with singer Sarah McLachlan. I stood on Tom Brokaw's mark and looked into his camera 10 minutes before the taping of Nightly News began.

Most importantly, I sat in an office with the top people in my profession every day and watched, listened, and learned all I could. I soaked in as much as anyone possibly could and enjoyed every second of it.

Looking back now, I arrived at LaGuardia Airport a scared Kansas girl, but I left full of confidence and a little bit of that famous New York attitude. My summer was not only a good learning experience, but an eye-opening point in life that I will never forget. Now when I walk through the streets of Winfield, Kansas, that familiar song starts to play again…

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere — It's up to you — New York, New York

Am I forever changed? Maybe. However, I am fully ready to face the real world that lies ahead, armed now with a small can of Mace (you never know) and a dream that feels reachable.

Summer breaks allow students to earn academic credit while exploring their future careers. A representative list of internships by SC students during the summer of 2004 reveals the breadth of experience available to enterprising Moundbuilders.

  • Shalah Allison - Texas A&M University, nuclear stellar astrophysics project
  • Nathan Blue - Wyldewood Cellars winery, Mulvane
  • Ann Chartier - Summer camp, Maryland
  • Shalonda Davis - General Electric, Strother Field; Cowley County Mental Health, Winfield
  • Alison Ebright - Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kan., music ministry
  • Rachel Ferguson - Winfield Courier
  • Mollie Foster - Outward Bound, camp counselor
  • Ruth Guernsey - Kids Impacting Cowley County
  • Nicole Guthrie - Mountain Top, Tennessee
  • Christy Hopkins - campaign for Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, Colorado
  • Sarah Kallail - NBC, New York
  • Karen Klabzuba - ad agency, Chicago
  • Josh Melcher - Countryside United Methodist Church, Topeka
  • Monica Morrison - Montrose (Colo.) Christian Church, music ministry
  • Lance Patterson - Youth ministry at church in Texas
  • Rachel Pollock - Camp Horizon
  • Evan Pollock - Montana State University, solar coronal astrophysics project
  • Project Transformation in Dallas - Joel Wilke, Kaely Podschun, Eric Lind, Melissa Williams, Natalie Carlson, Lindsey Harold
  • Project Transformation in Oklahoma City - Carlos Nagami, Karen Talamantes, Natalie Carlson
  • Leah Rankin and Adam Thompson - First United Methodist Church in Winfield, youth ministry
  • Tara Revell - Target internship program, Kansas City
  • Trisha Rodebush - First Presbyterian Church in Winfield, youth ministry
  • Leesa Rosebrook and Andrea Woolf - Target internship program, Chicago
  • Natalie Terry - Lehigh University, photonics/optoelectronics project
  • Melissa Wham - General Electric, Strother Field