Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
For Kristen Barry, working in Hollywood is not just a day at the beach. Sometimes it’s a morning on the mountain or a night at the skate park. No matter where she is, she’s always in on the action.
As a sports broadcast producer at Transition, Kristen creates webcasts and broadcasts of surf events, working on location and behind the scenes to produce short features. When she’s not on the beach, Kristen is working as ESPN’s Winter and Summer X Games talent coordinator. “I work with agents and publicists and sometimes go right to the athletes to try to get them to come on X Center,” Kristen says.
For Kristen, making her way in broadcasting was all about finding the right path and the right people. She found both as an undergraduate at Ithaca College, where she got the opportunity to intern at E! and Style Network. “There was this huge database of internships that IC already had contact with, so it cut through a lot of red tape.”
Kristen’s internship experiences made two things clear to her: she belonged in broadcasting, and she wanted to move to L.A. after graduation. Hollywood is a tough place for a recent grad to start a career, but Kristen faced it with confidence. “I left New York with a good deal of knowledge in editing, writing, and advertising—all areas that helped me build a great foundation. Within about a month of graduating, I had lined up my first production assistant position.”
From there, Kristen built a successful freelance career, doing production work on reality television, documentaries, and live events. Now, she has found her creative home in sports broadcasting, working action-packed events every day. “I was very lucky to combine my passion for action sports with my background in live television.”
>> More on this story: Park School of Communications internships
As Queen of the Night in the Ithaca College Theatre production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, Mengchun Yang delivered one of the world's most well-known arias to a packed audience. She stunned the crowd with her pitch-perfect performance, bringing the vengeful queen to life with her commanding stage presence.
For Mengchun, the journey to the IC stage was a long one—halfway around the world—but she knew that a graduate degree in performance at Ithaca College would be well worth the trip. She auditioned in her home country of China and wowed visiting faculty with her powerful soprano. Late that summer, Mengchun packed her bags and was on her way to Ithaca.
In IC's welcoming community, Mengchun quickly found a second family—music professors invited her over for home-cooked meals, music school peers helped her overcome the language barrier, and the women's chorus and choir provided a place for her to sing with new friends. She soon learned of an opportunity to broaden her range: "During my first semester, they had auditions for The Magic Flute. I just went to try. I never thought I would get a role or be a part of the opera, but I got it," Mengchun says.
She was cast as Queen of the Night, which has one of the most vocally demanding arias in opera. In nightly rehearsals with a supportive cast and crew, she developed her passion for opera. "I learned many things. I know how to prepare a whole opera: to learn the music and then read the dialogue and then the acting—and mix it together with the orchestra."
When opening night arrived, her music school family helped calm her nerves. "I was very excited and a little bit nervous. My friends and my teachers were all sitting in the audience to see me. That made me feel like family. I felt like, 'Okay. I can sing to my family.'"
Mengchun hopes to go on to sing opera professionally in China, where it’s becoming increasingly popular. With one outstanding performance already under her belt, she has a promising future as one of China's next stars.
"Being on stage, you are not yourself. You are that person. You have another personality. You need to build a person and have yourself and mix them together. I feel like I can see my value being on stage."
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