English major Audrey Holmes '19, a digital intern for NBC Nightly News, poses with anchor Lester Holt.
New York Semester students tour NBC studios.
Brenna Kent '(third from left), a political science major, interns at the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Economics major Cheng-En Wu ’19 at his desk in New York.
The memorabilia on the 44th floor of the News Corp. Building — Emmy statues, the red and black costume of Marvel Comics character Deadpool, even a life-sized stuffed dog in a full body cast (a prop from the film “There’s Something About Mary”) — represent content to Martha Datlen ’09. On a Tuesday afternoon, Datlen explained to Holy Cross New York Semester Program students that as an associate director at Fox Networks Group, she sells such content to media buyers, publishers and advertisers.
The presentation had been arranged by New York Semester Program Director Alison Mangiero, who each week recruits New York alumni to explain where they work, how they got there and what they do. That week, Datlen co-hosted students with Jillian Chudwick ’13, supervisor of video investment at integrated communications agency OMD, and talked about the media landscape: new and traditional platforms, content publishers and producers, programmatic buying and other ad tech, RFPs, integrated budgets and cross-channel strategies. Students in their professional best — slacks and ties, skirts and blazers — listened and munched on pizza and, as they arose, asked questions: How do you sell to a new client? Who’s responsible for writing an RFP? What does it mean that Disney has acquired Fox?
Earlier in the month, students heard from alumni at Inherent Group, which invests in socially sustainable ventures, and also from hedge fund Eminence Capital. The next week, they would spend four consecutive evenings meeting with alumni who work in the entrepreneurial space: founders of startups, marketers and coders.
The goal of these sessions, and the program overall, is to help students understand how to build meaningful careers.
“Business can be a noble endeavor,” Mangiero says. “You can be and should be a sort of intellectual business leader. The way to do that is to continue doing what you basically have done the whole time you were at Holy Cross: You constantly have to be reading, and you have to be a student of the world.”
The New York Semester Program, founded in 2016, drew inspiration from its counterpart in Washington, D.C., which has been offered by the College since 1971. As with Washington, accepted students receive housing — in Arlington for those in the capital, Brooklyn for the New Yorkers — guidance finding and selecting internships, and ongoing mentorship from Mangiero and her colleague, Washington Semester Program Director Gary DeAngelis.
Students take weekly academic seminars to supplement the internships they attend four days a week. They receive lectures from notable alumni, such as political commentator Chris Matthews ’67 and Save the Children President Mark Shriver ’86. At the end of the semester, students submit capstone projects. In New York, they present on a topic related to their internships to Mangiero and to a board of alumni who work in a related industry; in Washington, they write, finalize and defend theses on public policy as it relates to what they learned that semester.
“This is very much at the level of a master’s thesis. It’s 45 to 50 pages from each student,” DeAngelis says. “It gives students the opportunity to spend a whole semester really diving into some pretty serious research.”
This year in New York, students who study English, finance and political science have internships with organizations such as Blackrock, NBC and Cambridge Insurance Advisors.
Kara Cuzzone ’19, an anthropology major, was drawn to a semester away for the opportunities New York offers. “I was interested in publishing,” she says, and landed an internship at Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines. “I assist all of the different editors — transcribing interviews, doing research.”
And, of course, students respond to the allure of New York City, which was on full display that Tuesday evening as Datlen concluded her talk with a tour of Fox Networks. The group explored the space that, in addition to showcasing film and television memorabilia, boasted a coffee shop and a bird’s-eye view as the sky turned pink on an unseasonably warm afternoon. Datlen thanked the group for coming, and the students, in turn, thanked her for her time and advice as they called the elevator to catch the subway. They had work in the morning.
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Written by Christopher Amenta ’06 for the Spring 2018 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.
About Holy Cross Magazine
Holy Cross Magazine (HCM) is the quarterly alumni publication of the College of the Holy Cross. The award-winning publication is mailed to alumni and friends of the College and includes intriguing profiles, make-you-think features, alumni news, exclusive photos and more. Visit magazine.holycross.edu/about to contact HCM, submit alumni class notes, milestones, or letters to the editor.
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