From mentoring to scholarships, SMPA starts career network

Media Credit: Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Officials in the School of Media and Public Affairs launched the Career Access Network last month to start a mentoring program and give scholarships to students pursuing unpaid internships after their junior years.

Updated: Oct. 5, 2015 at 2:27 p.m.

Journalism and political communication students will now have an easier way to break into the business.

The School of Media and Public Affairs launched a Career Access Network in September that will run networking events, offer financial help to students who want to participate in unpaid internships the summer after their junior year and start a student-alumni mentoring program, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email.

Frank Sesno, the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, said in an email that the school is excited about the new opportunities for students and believes this will “help students jump-start their careers.”

“SMPA CAN will allow students to accept internships that will lead to connections and jobs,” Sesno said. “This is about opportunity and making sure everyone gets to step on that first rung of the ladder to success.”

Kathryn Green, an SMPA National Council member and an alumna, has offered to match up to $18,000 in gifts toward the network. Green said she chose to donate to the program because she believes it is just as important for students to have “practical experience as well as academic experience.”

“It is the networking and the experience they get through internships that allows them to become employed in media when they graduate,” Green said.

Green said that this is an opportunity for students to get the internships that they could not have afforded to accept before.

“This was a way to help out especially since they are not getting paid for their internship,” she added. “It is a way to help defray some expenses so they can take summer jobs that they might ordinarily have to turn down.”

Officials hope to raise $250,000 to fund the program for the next five years. The campaign has currently raised $4,250 out of the $18,000 needed to match Green’s pledge.

Green said she hopes other alumni will see the value in the program and will also want to make a contribution.

“I am sure most graduates from SMPA have at some point had internships and they know how important it is,” Green said. “This is the kind of fund that you don’t have to give a huge amount. You can donate $50 and it will still help somebody.”

CAN will also launch a student‒alumni mentoring program. Green said that although she hadn’t considered it, she might join the program if there is an interested student in the New York area.

Senior Nana Agyemang was able to intern for CBS because of the SMPA J. Michael Shanahan Journalism Internship Fund, which she received through the network.

Agyemang described the experience as eye-opening, and said her time at CBS showed her how broadcast news was more than being on the big screen: she also learned off-camera journalism skills.

“My whole life, I told myself I wanted to be a news anchor, but after interning at CBS News I realized that in order to be that, I had to also be everything else behind the screen: a writer, reporter, photographer and researcher,” Agyemang said in an email.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported SMPA officials hope to fund the program in five years. They hope to fund it for five years. We regret this error.

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