The Emmy Award-winning journalist and on-air talent at Univision Network was celebrated on Nov. 6 for her professional success and continued commitment to her alma mater during the School of Communications’ Homecoming festivities.
Maity Interiano ’07, an Emmy Award-winning journalist and on-air correspondent for Univision Network’s No. 1 rated live national morning show, “Despierta América,” was recognized on Nov. 6 with the School of Communications’ Outstanding Alumni Award. Interiano is the eleventh recipient of the award that celebrates alumni who have achieved significant professional success.
The Elon alumna was honored during the school’s Turning 21 Dinner Celebration, commemorating its 21 years of student-centered education that’s yielded thousands of alumni making a difference in communications and sport management industries. Among those on hand to celebrate Interiano and the school’s Turning 21 milestone – a nod to the university’s tradition of the same name – were President Connie Book, Dean Emeritus Paul Parsons and Dean Rochelle Ford, as well as nearly 100 faculty, staff, alumni and university administrators.
While unable to attend the ceremony due to a family engagement, Interiano accepted her alumni award via video, which was filmed during an on-campus visit two weeks before the dinner. In her acceptance speech, the alumna thanked her support system, which she said includes God, family, friends, mentors and “of course, Elon familia.”
“From day one, Elon supported 18-year-old Maity from Honduras, achieving her dream of being a journalist,” Interiano said.
The 2007 graduate recounted her humble beginnings when she arrived at Elon as an anxious and scared teenager who had never lived away her parents’ home in San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras. She fondly recalled her early days on campus toting camera equipment around to collect soundbites and b-roll for Phoenix 14, the precursor to today’s student-run Elon News Network. She quipped that one of her first weather reports was a mix of “English and some Español.”
“The more classes and hands-on experience I had, the more I fell in love with my passion for telling stories,” Interiano said. “I started learning about the history of TV, newspapers, radio, the impact and role it plays daily, and the responsibility that comes with having a microphone and camera in front of you.”
She thanked President Book and former Elon faculty member Brooke Barnett for instilling confidence in her work and encouraging her to chase her dreams. In fact, it was their encouragement that led Interiano to pursue her first internship at Univision, which she credits for jumpstarting her professional career.
In the video, Interiano said she feels compelled to pay forward the support she received at Elon, noting the impact of faculty, staff and student organizations. In fact, she returned in campus in October to repay that support and accepted the role as a co-chair of Elon LEADS, the largest campaign in the university’s history.
“Why did I accept this big responsibility when my plate is pretty full with my daily responsibilities? Because I believe in the impact Elon has on everyone that steps into this campus,” she said. “It gave me, a girl from Honduras whose first language is Spanish and had never lived in a foreign country, a world of opportunities. It prepared me for the professional I am today. It helped me discover that I can dream big and achieve everything and anything I choose to, and that is what I want for future generations. I want more girls and boys like me to dream big and get the best Elon experience.”
While on campus in October, and after recording her acceptance speech, Interiano met with student journalists and Assistant Professor Israel Balderas in the ENN newsroom, sharing details of her own professional journey. At the same time, Interiano – always the journalist – asked questions of the students to get a better sense of their experiences and perspectives. It was an exciting moment for the students and faculty alike. Full disclosure: In the moments before Interiano’s newsroom arrival, Balderas gushed about the graduate’s remarkable career, as well as her impact on and visibility in Latin American communities. According to Ford, it is these actions of support and mentorship that truly make Interiano an outstanding alumna.
“Maity Interiano is a shining example to our current – and future – student journalists of what is possible when hard work, persistence and talent are combined with a dedication to telling and reporting important stories,” Ford said. “As a school, our charge every day is to inspire students to learn, grow and positively impact the world. Maity embodies what ElonComm strives to accomplish on so many levels. She arrived on campus determined to succeed in broadcast journalism. As a student, she secured an internship with Univision and later returned to begin her career. Today, she is an integral part of the network’s top-rated morning show, informing, entertaining and empowering Latin American communities in the US and abroad. We are so very proud of Maity, and we are fortunate for her continued support of Elon and the School of Communications.”
Past recipients of the Outstanding Alumni Award include Jo Craven McGinty ’85, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner; Wes Durham ’88, a play-by-play announcer for ACC Network/ESPN; and Laith Majali ’05, a co-producer of “Theeb,” which was nominated in the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category.
Since her graduation, Interiano has continued to be a consistent presence in the Elon community. She was among the university’s Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients in 2012, and she was featured in a fundraising kickoff at the 2014 Evening for Elon event in New York City. Three years later, and a decade removed from her own graduation, she delivered the university’s Commencement address. Most recently, Interiano joined the School of Communications National Advisory Board in fall 2021.