April 16, 2008

For Students, an Inside Look at CNBC in New York City

Lafayette’s proximity to the media capital enables students to help stage the business network’s Executive Leadership Awards program

Students experienced the power of Lafayette’s proximity to New York City, the world’s media capital, in a two-day internship at CNBC.

  • Our Proximity Advantage: New York City internships and externships are a part of the unique Lafayette student experience
  • 74 students shadow alumni and parents at ESPN, ABC News World News, The New York Times, CNN Headline News, and elsewhere

Kara Boodakian ’07, a production coordinator for CNBC’s Fast Money, was the event production coordinator for CNBC’s Executive Leadership Awards (ELAs) program.

“The ELAs are one of the most prestigious events hosted by CNBC each year, and after recruiting a great group of CNBC internal assets, we knew a strong group of interns was necessary to complement that team,” explains Boodakian. “At Lafayette’s Arts, Entertainment, Media & Communications Networking Night, I mentioned the opportunity to many of the students, worked closely with Rachel Moeller ’88, associate director of career services, and spread the word about the event. The response was fantastic, and I was confident that if the students were able to make the two-day commitment, we would have a strong group.”

An anthropology and sociology graduate, Boodakian was among 40 alumni working in media, communications, entertainment, and the arts who took time to network with students interested in those career paths. She was eager to offer another opportunity at CNBC.

“There are so many Lafayette students interested in the media and production, and no college towns have the resources or opportunities equal to those in New York City,” she says. “I found this event in particular to be so great for students because they were intimately involved in all facets of production, from the dress rehearsal and pre-production coordination to the event execution in which they assisted CNBC producers and escorted VIP guests through the event. As with many internships, participation allows students to see what the industry is really like, which helps them make more informed decisions about their future career paths.”

Brian Piper ’08 (Hollis, N.H.) was a guest associate producer. It opened the psychology major’s eyes to career opportunities in media.

“My internship was incredible,” he says. “It was incredible to have the exposure to such a large-scale production. I have never seen such an event and I was truly amazed at how fast it all came together to become such an elegant, impressive affair. The high energy and helpfulness of the event staff were really incredible and very motivating for me. This experience has certainly made me more aware of career opportunities in the media world.”

Karen Ruggles ’08 (Easton, Pa.) hopes to pursue a career in film production. Because she produced Lafayette’s first-ever, undergraduate-run, live telecast of election-night coverage (view the telecast), Ruggles had an idea of what was in store at CNBC, but was fascinated by how the event came together.

“Behind-the-scenes was exciting and illuminating,” says the English/art double major. “I learned a lot about the group effort of a production and how seamlessness is ideal but adaptation is reality. Productions like the ELAs require a symbiotic trust relationship among all those putting on the program; anticipation and alertness of what’s going on are key.”

Boodakian appreciates how a connection with New York City alumnus Will Wermuth ’98, head of the page program at NBC, helped her explore different areas of the media industry. She participated in NBC’s Page Program, which opened the door for a similar opportunity with CNBC.

“As a page I gave tours of the NBC studios and worked at Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” she recalls. “I entered the program with an open mind and that is what led me to working as a page at CNBC’s Fast Money. The Page Program really is one of those opportunities where it is all what you make of it, and I was fortunate to find some great mentors in some of the older pages as well as past managers of the program.”

Ruggles, who grew up in Easton, is used to the short trip to New York City and is happy to still have that ability at school.

“Having New York City so close is important not only for networking and internship opportunities, but for cultural opportunities as well,” she says. “I could go into the city to see a Broadway play this weekend if I wanted to and get home in time to do homework for Monday’s class.”

Piper agrees. Like Ruggles, he has attended networking events with New York City alumni and reaped benefits he knows would not have been possible if he attended most other colleges.

“New York has so many incredible resources, from social venues to connections to the work world after college,” he says. “It’s hard not to take advantage of these considering Lafayette’s location in relation to the city.”

Other students Boodakian hosted for the ELAs include economics and business majors Jennifer Abel ’09 (Ridgewood, N.J.), Craig Burel ’10 (Towaco, N.J.), and Adam Greenwald ’08 (Watchung, N.J.); government and law majors Jesse Clemmens ’09 (Ossining, N.J.), Michaela St. Onge ’10 (Bedford, Mass.), and Jennifer Weisbrich ’08 (Long Valley, N.J.); psychology majors Daryn Carp ’10 (Montclair, N.J.) and Lisa Mascali ’10 (Manhasset, N.Y.); anthropology and sociology majors Lindsay Majno ’10 (Sudbury, Mass.) and Brendan Willard ’09 (Gaithersburg, Md.); A.B. engineering major Scott Bortz ’08 (Allentown, Pa.); electrical and computer engineering major Kristen Lanzi ’08 (Johnston, R.I.); Barbara Pennington ’10 (New Canaan, Conn.); government & law and French double major Carolyn Romney ’08 (Ridgewood, N.J.); and English major Anna Schaefer ’10 (Swiftwater, Pa.).

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