Young alumni visit
to share experiences

 

A giving spirit seems to pervade the Elon community. It's a part of the people who live and work here; people come to be members of the community because it is a commonality they feel and share; and it's a characteristic that keeps former Elon students returning to inspire the young people who have taken their places at the university.

School of Communications alumni regularly visit in courses, and in one recent busy week faculty and students were treated to several stellar in-class presentations.

Allison Deiboldt, a 2002 graduate who now works as a researcher with Disney's ABC television in New York, visited with Communications Research students.

Stephen Herbster, a 1993 graduate who has worked creating video content for Jumbotrons, television and in-house promotions for a number of organizations, including Fox 8 TV, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the Information Television Network, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Memphis Grizzlies, and now for the Carolina Panthers, visited with Corporate Video students.

And Samiha Khanna, a 2003 graduate who works as the Durham police beat reporter for the Raleigh News & Observer talked with students enrolled in Reporting for the Public Good.

Khanna urged students to take advantage of the on-campus, student-media opportunities they have to develop their talent. "Being a staff writer and an editor at The Pendulum was one of the best experiences I had at Elon," she said. "Elon is your playground. There are so many resources here. You can try so many things and see what you like. Take advantage and learn every skill you can. From there you go step-by-step. After you have that on-campus experience, you go after a good internship or two. Unpaid internships are worth your investment because of the experience you get. Even a part-time internship is better than no experience."

Khanna leveraged her clips from Elon's student newspaper into an unpaid internship opportunity at the Greensboro News & Record. After working there five months, she assembled her clips and took them to the annual Raleigh News & Observer Job Fair, where she made the contacts that led to her next internship, a temporary, paid, post-graduate position with the News & Observer.

"The more effort you put into your work at an internship, the more they will give you to do," she said. "You create your own opportunities by working hard, asking questions, showing off your skills. The first thing you have to do as an intern is eliminate the word 'no' and the phrase 'I can't' from your vocabulary. Showing up early and doing everything you are asked to do will open doors for you."

Khanna explained how she turned a summer internship in Raleigh into a full-time job. "I became the intern who never went away," she said with a smile. "I paid my dues. I covered the tractor festival, I did a story on hog-farm manure in July - phew. I networked and when I found out a reporter was going on family leave, I got a stay of execution when I requested that they keep me on to fill in temporarily on her rural beat."

Khanna's hustle on the Johnston County beat during the fall of 2003 and the impassioned case she made to N&O editors when she heard about a full-time job opening covering the Durham police beat led to her hiring as a full-timer at North Carolina's most distinguished daily newspaper.

"The things I learned in internships along the way can be boiled down to three points," she told students. "First, be flexible - be committed, come early, stay late and be ready for anything they throw at you. Second, be persistent - stick with things even when the going gets rough, keep on top of things and show initiative. Third, develop a thick skin - I'm sensitive, and when I started out I would cry at the drop of a hat. In this job you take criticism. You have to remember that it's part of the process. There are going to be days when you think you don't know anything. But you have to take it all in stride."

 

 

Share your news and items of interest. To contact us, e-mail: communications@elon.edu
School of Communications 
2850 Campus Box 
Elon, NC 27244-2010   (336) 278-5724 
E-mail: communications@elon.edu
Last Modified:  4/23/04
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