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Internships and Fieldwork
At Ithaca College, Emily Brown ’12 was encouraged by professors to pursue her interests wherever they may take her—which happened to be all over the world. From juvenile detention centers in New Zealand to a secondary school in Slovakia and from a nonprofit in Colorado to graduate school in London, Emily’s path to learn about youth justice and education has taken many exciting turns. Her cross-cultural journey began with a research project.
As part of a senior year Research Methods course, Emily compared the juvenile justice systems of the United States and New Zealand. She conducted interviews with parole officers, judges, and lawyers in the U.S. through connections made by her sociology professors—but that’s only half of the story.
Through IC’s study abroad program, Emily headed to New Zealand to gather the information that would constitute the other half of her paper.
“While I was doing interviews on New Zealand’s criminal justice system, I was in communication with my professor at IC. We’re now working on getting the paper I wrote published in a sociological journal.”
As graduation neared, Emily was accepted to the highly competitive Fulbright program and went to teach students at a bilingual school in Slovakia—an assignment that drew on her knowledge from her English and sociology coursework at IC.
“My professors gave me the opportunity to work closely with them on projects that were close to me. That experiential learning is what gave me the confidence to move to a country where I didn’t speak the language [and yet was able to] successfully communicate my thoughts and really make an impact on students’ lives.”
Upon returning to the United States, Emily committed to one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) at a literacy nonprofit in Denver, Colorado. Her focus at the nonprofit was on volunteer organizing and community engagement, seeking out people who were willing to donate their time to tutor over 500 students in basic reading skills.
“At Ithaca, I was part of Alternative Spring Break, and I went to an organization that provided after-school and homeschooling services. The VISTAs there made a world of difference to the kids in the program. I knew I wanted to do that.”
As her assignment drew to a close, Emily applied and was accepted to the London School of Economics and Political Science for a master’s degree in criminal justice policy. She credits IC’s liberal arts focus for helping her connect her interests in a logical way.
“I’m looking at policy work and policy analysis, things I’m really interested in. The liberal arts education I received at IC was perfect for me because I’m intrigued by so many things, and it allowed me to understand how things intersect.”
College should prepare you for life after graduation, whether you go into the workforce or—as Elitsa Stoyanova did—enter a prestigious Ph.D. program in developmental biology and embryology. Thanks to three-and-a-half years of actual lab work as an undergraduate at Ithaca College, Elitsa will be able to dive right into serious research as a graduate student.
IC affords science students opportunities that larger institutions tend to reserve for graduate students. “It can be really hard to get into a lab and actually do research and not just wash the glassware,” Elitsa says of her peers’ experiences in programs at other universities. “So a lot of kids who are very talented wind up going to grad school with only a couple of months—maybe a year—of research experience.”
Elitsa worked with assistant professor Ian Woods who’s examining the genetics behind anxiety in zebrafish (the animals share a similar genetic structure to humans). This work could someday lead to better, more nuanced treatments for anxiety and depression.
“Ian has been fantastic. I owe my grad school success to him. He gave me great advice on how to write my personal statement, how to talk to my interviewer, what questions to ask. He has been really insightful about what it is to be a Ph.D. student in these times.”
As a junior, Elitsa gave a presentation at the 245th American Chemical Society national meeting in New Orleans, sharing what she’d learned about enzymes that make bacteria undetectable to host immune systems. She also worked in assistant professor Catherine Malele’s lab—forging a connection that helped Elitsa land a summer internship with the University of Pennsylvania’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
“I honestly think the entire science faculty [at Ithaca College] is phenomenal. They have all inspired me in a way.”
Elitsa chose Rockefeller University for graduate school because the program let her use her extensive experience right away. Since she’s already versed in basic lab techniques, she can focus on loftier goals. “I want to be able to think on my own and ask the right questions. I want to find a mentor who will give me enough freedom to explore my ideas. I want to be in charge of where the project is going—that is how you learn to be a scientist.”
>> More on this story: Beneath the Surface
Born in Ghana, West Africa, Piko Ewoodzie ’06 began learning about vastly different social structures when his family moved to the United States—first living in a small town in the Midwest and then in the South Bronx in New York City.
“My life’s story has been trying to understand different kinds of worlds,” says Piko. “Every time we went to a new place, it was a new chance for me to try to make sense of a new social world—new friends, new hierarchies, new definitions of what is cool and what is not cool.”
Knowing he wanted to study sociology, Piko discovered the opportunity to understand how different societies work on an even deeper level at Ithaca College. As part of the pioneering class of IC’s Martin Luther King Scholar Program, Piko was given the chance to travel, research global issues, and make an impact on how others see the world.
“Every year [in the MLK program] you design a project. You think about a research question, you go out of the country, you talk to people, you find answers, and then you come back and present to the school.”
With the MLK program, Piko went to Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica to learn what issues people face in other parts of the world. In a particularly eye-opening experience in Costa Rica, Piko spent a week with kids who were playing together at a gym. The children were from different areas, but they had a common connection. “Toward the end of the week we realized that these kids know each other because they live on the only land their families can afford, and every six months their houses get flooded. It just blew us away.”
Since graduation, Piko has continued to research sociological issues as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. For his dissertation, Piko went to Jackson, Mississippi, to examine how African Americans of different socioeconomic backgrounds acquire, prepare, and consume what they eat. He lived with people to discuss and experience their relationships with food firsthand—doing the same type of work he did as an MLK scholar at IC.
In addition to his research, Piko is teaching sociology at Kenyon College, inspiring a new generation of students to examine global issues. “I think both in the classroom and outside the classroom—really all of what I’m doing now—is just a continuation of the things I did at Ithaca.
“I want to teach college students how to get excited about the complications of the world.”
>> More on this story: The Martin Luther King Scholar Program
School of Health Sciences and Human Performance | Sport Media
Viewers of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown regularly see Chris Berman, Keyshawn Johnson, and Mike Ditka analyzing that day’s upcoming games. But before any game highlights can make it to viewers’ screens at home, producers and production assistants work behind the scenes to select the best shots, plays, and clips. For IC sport media graduate and ESPN associate producer Gavin Cote ’12, it’s a team effort.
The production process, Gavin said, starts with a Thursday morning meeting and heats up as the wee hours of Sunday morning approach. That’s when Gavin and his colleagues start putting the final touches on their shot selections, voiceovers, edits, music, and sponsor messages.
“A three-hour show doesn’t come together by trying to be a hero and doing everything yourself,” Gavin said. “You can’t be afraid to ask for help. I learned that at IC.”
Some of that learning came from doing basketball play-by-play for ICTV and hosting Gridiron Report, a weekly update on Bomber football.
“It was awesome to host a show my junior year, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. Fortunately, a lot of great people helped me with editing and production decisions.”
And, because IC’s sport media major includes courses in liberal arts, sport theory, advertising, and sport video production, help also came from the classroom.
“I wouldn’t have gotten my foot in the door at ESPN without the background I got doing Gridiron Report and taking production classes in the Park School and writing classes in the sport media department,” Gavin said. “Having all that on my resume led to a production internship at ESPN the summer before my senior year.”
The network liked his work and offered him a full-time job the following spring—a month and a half before he graduated. After doing NBA highlights for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, Gavin now helps decide what weekly highlights NFL fans get to see.
“Production skills, working under deadline pressure, focusing on internships, developing writing skills, making contacts—everything I experienced at IC was relevant to what I’m doing now. Don’t think you can’t work at a certain place because it’s ESPN or NBC. I’m building on the skills I went to college for, and I’m getting paid to do something I love: watch sports.”
“I lived on the north fork of Long Island, and I was the only bassoon player on the north fork. The only one,” Sean says. So when it came time to choose a major at Ithaca College, Sean wasn’t worried about taking a different approach from some of his peers.
Many students go to college and make a decision: to focus on one field of study, learn about a specific area, and pick up related courses along the way. But some students, like Sean, have more varied interests. The young bassoonist had discovered a passion for science in high school and wanted to include both music and physics in his educational journey. At Ithaca College, an emphasis on cross-disciplinary learning made it easy for Sean to combine these very different fields and discover a career that draws from each.
“Acoustical engineering really brings them together. Musicians play in spaces all the time, and some are good spaces and some are just bad spaces,” says Sean. “As a performer I know that a good space involves good reverberation times. You will get liveness in the hall, your sound will be carried, but you don’t want it to be too live. If everything’s reflecting too well in the hall, you can get echoes, and it can make everything kind of muddy.”
Working with Luke Keller, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Alex Perialas, associate professor from the School of Music, Sean is doing an acoustical analysis of IC’s Ford Hall auditorium. The analysis will help determine what acoustical improvements will be made during upcoming renovations. “We’re looking at frequency response and reverberation times in Ford Hall to get a quantitative measurement of why we think the renovation has helped.”
Sean also landed a summer internship with SoundSense, an architectural acoustics firm on Long Island, where he worked alongside engineers to develop his skills. The internship helped Sean realize that his decision to combine music and physics was the right path for him. “Talking to the CEO about everything I would be doing caused me to realize that I’ve never been as excited. That’s really what I want to do. That’s my passion.”
Big decisions often have unexpected benefits. When Johanna Pan left her native Singapore to attend Ithaca College for theatrical production arts, a key factor in her decision to come to IC was the financial aid she was able to secure. Once here, she discovered she was enrolled in one of the most respected programs in the country.
“I like to call Ithaca a lucky accident because I didn’t realize how good the program was before I got here. And for that I’m very grateful,” she says.
In the theatrical design concentration, Johanna applied classroom lessons in costume and scenic design to Ithaca College Theatre’s yearly productions. As a senior, she was the costume designer for two period pieces: Translations, set in 1830s Ireland, and An Enemy of the People, in 1880s Norway.
Johanna researched the kinds of fabrics that were made at the time, how clothing was layered, and even the way seasons and climate in those locations dictated wardrobe choices. By understanding these factors, she and the production staff could apply them to their portrayals on the modern stage.
"What a lot of people don't realize about theatre design is that there are certain rules we create as a team. What does a short skirt mean as opposed to a long skirt? What are the colors of the world? What does this color mean to everyone across the board, and how are we going to use that to portray something? The audience may not notice them consciously, but the picture as a whole and what it presents is noticeable.”
Johanna spent a semester at the Ithaca College London Center, where she attended over 50 performances—from the West End to small pubs—for class and her own enjoyment.
“Seeing so much theatre in a country that loves theatre so much helps you understand why we do what we do. You are reminded of the magic when you’re not working on a show because you’re not involved and can just appreciate someone else's work.”
Johanna took on several internships and jobs after graduation, including one with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical that had her traversing New York City’s clothing and fabric stores. The show is scheduled to open on Broadway in December 2013. She also plans to return to Singapore to fulfill a commitment she made to the Singaporean theatre industry when she received a scholarship from the Singapore National Arts Council. She then plans to head back to New York City to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts and rejoin the theatre scene.
“I want to live in New York City. I love the sheer amount of musicals that happen there and the sheer amount of theatre.”
As an Academic Enrichment Services tutor, writing center tutor, and teaching assistant at Ithaca College, Julia Becker has enjoyed helping other students on their paths to success. Her plan after graduation is to become an English teacher—but when she came to IC, she was unsure about her direction.
Julia entered Ithaca College’s Exploratory Program, which gives students up to four semesters before declaring a major to take courses across IC’s five schools, receiving focused advisement and mentoring along the way. “I’m an organized person, so not knowing what I wanted to do was kind of stressful,” Julia says. “The Exploratory Program at IC gave me a direction and a plan to get me going on a path that felt right.”
As a sophomore, Julia explored English as a possible major. “I took Intro to Poetry and [Approaches to] Literary Theory, and it just clicked. I hadn’t taken an English class since high school, and once I settled into it I realized that’s where I was supposed to be.”
As part of the Ithaca College Honors Program, Julia took her newfound love for English to the source with a semester abroad in London, England. Through an independent study course of her own creation, Julia collaborated with IC professor Robert Sullivan on his literary work. She spent weeks in the Rare Books Reading Room of the British Library, transcribing an original work by Renaissance-era humanist Sir Thomas Elyot. Julia and Professor Sullivan will eventually create a modern critical edition of the 16th-century book.
“Having the chance to work on something so unique that will result in a publication credit to my name is a valuable experience that I never imagined I could have as an undergraduate.”
Discovering her passion for English made Julia realize she wants to share it with others. She was accepted to the educational nonprofit Teach for America, and will be teaching English to secondary school students in a disadvantaged area after graduation. She also plans to pursue an English Ph.D. to become a professor.
“Working closely with students at Ithaca to help them excel and teach them important skills has been a rewarding experience. It has helped prepare me for the teaching that I’ll be going on to do in the future.”
Drew Steedman ’13 grew up near Boston loving to play sports (he was recruited by Ithaca College to play soccer) and loving to watch them (especially the Celtics and Bruins). As a business administration major, Drew decided to explore the business side of athletics. A paid internship with Fenway Sports Management—marketing firm for the Boston Red Sox—showed him what his future could hold.
“That experience showed me that I’d enjoy working in the sports industry,” he said. “Also, I made contacts that led to other internships.”
One was with Kraft Sports Group. The other was what Drew called “the jackpot”—a paid, semester-long stint at MSG Sports, promoter of the New York Knicks and Rangers.
“It took me to Madison Square Garden—the World’s Most Famous Arena,” Drew said. “The big lesson learned? If you want to set yourself apart in sports promotion, New York City is the place to go.”
The road to the Big Apple started with IC’s New York City Internship Program (ICNYC). In addition to a six-credit internship in New York, Drew enrolled for six course credits and worked with the business school to find the right internship.
“MSG was very competitive, but the president was friends with the president of FSM. That got me an interview, and the interview got me the job. I reported directly to the president.” Who was, Drew said, very high energy.
“Some days I’d work on a research project, some days e-mailing story clips, other days getting ready for that night’s game. It was go, go, go, and to my surprise, I liked it. It was like sports. Whatever comes your way, you have to know you can handle it.”
Being a Celtics fan working the Knicks sideline was the biggest challenge. “I had to put my loyalties on hold and focus on why I was there. Sports have a major impact on people. My favorite thing was taking clients courtside and seeing the thrill kids and parents got when a Knicks player signed a pregame autograph.”
Drew also sees how his semester at MSG will impact his career.
“I’m ready to tell interviewers, whatever that first job throws my way, I’ve already experienced it at The Garden.”
Editor's Note: After graduating from IC, Drew Steedman went to work for Fenway Sports Management in Boston before returning to Madison Square Garden. He is now an inside sales representative there, generating new business platforms for the Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty brands.
>> More on this story: ICNYC
Some day in the not-so-distant future, as cities expand and climate change continues, Andreas Jonathan will be working to strike a balance between urban growth and environmentalism. “We’re living in a world that is very quickly urbanizing. There are a lot of mega-cities continuing to grow, and I think cities will be the battleground for sustainability in the future,” Andreas says.
As a freshman at Ithaca College, Andreas was drawn to the environmental studies program. “There was a course called Environmental Sentinels, where the purpose was to discover what you’re trying to save. We had class at night in the natural lands where we were blindfolded and had to get back to campus just by listening. It made me think about my place in the natural world.”
Andreas also felt a calling he hadn’t yet fully identified. “I needed something to complement what I was learning, so I could channel my desire for a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive society.”
Luckily at Ithaca he had mentors to help him find the right program. "It’s been very easy for me to find people who care about my future. I learned about architectural studies by speaking with professors in the art history department.”
As a sophomore, Andreas secured an internship with the Institute for Urban Design in New York City. He joined the institute’s project team for the Venice International Architecture Biennale, an event where architects and designers from around the world showcase themed designs. The U.S. theme was “spontaneous interventions”—designing to solve urban problems and create new opportunities for the public.
“What I love most about architecture is that it's so much more than building and construction. There’s history, theory, stakeholder relations, and social and environmental consequences,” Andreas says. “It struck me that anyone working in design professions must constantly be balancing, learning.”
For Andreas, learning to strike that delicate balance began with the conversations he had with mentors at IC. He plans to extend his knowledge of design beyond graduation as he pursues dual master’s degrees in architecture and city planning followed by a Ph.D.
“When I was little and was asked, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ I didn’t really know. But I knew there was this scar on the world that needed to be fixed. Then I started falling in love with architecture, city design, and social justice. It was what I always planned on doing before I even knew what it was.”
The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Program at Ithaca College uses the phrase “citizenship and service in the global community,” and that’s exactly the spirit of connection and commitment that attracted Greta Hardware.
“[The MLK program] gave me a different perspective others in my major didn’t have,” she says. “It inspired me to explore classes on social justice issues and do research outside my major but still integrate the business world and look at it from a different perspective.”
For example, Greta used several international trips built into the MLK Scholar Program to research free-trade agreements between the United States and countries she visited—South Korea, Costa Rica, Spain, and Morocco. During her junior year, the accounting and finance major had the opportunity to present her findings at IC’s Whalen Academic Symposium, where students present research projects to the campus community.
“When I was in South Korea, there were real-time discussions about free trade, and we saw protests at the U.S. embassy. It was a very real experience. [The overseas trips] helped me realize I want an international experience, that I like learning about different perspectives. That stuck with me.”
The international component was one reason she joined the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers after graduation. “I found out you could do tours in different offices around the world. I knew I wanted to work at a PWC office in another country for an extended amount of time.” Greta’s done a two-month stint in Sydney, Australia, and hopes to land a longer stint in a Spanish-speaking country.
She was also drawn by PWC’s community involvement, an important aspect of life for Greta. She’s been involved in programs that teach school children the importance of financial management, done cancer walks, and assisted with community service projects as fundamental as painting at local schools.
PWC offered her a job after college based on her performance during a summer internship with the firm, and Greta credits her education with helping prepare her.
“The School of Business puts you in a professional environment, which simulates the real world. Presentations, student organizations in which you play a professional role conducting activities in your field, internships in the industries that interest you, contact with recent alumni—you get a real-world perspective on what it’s going to be like after college.”
>> More on this story: MLK Scholar Program
Meghan Swope understands the importance of a quality education. As an account assistant in the education division of strategic communications firm GMMB, Meghan works with a number of nonprofits to help kids get a great education, regardless of their background or zip code.
“The issues facing education today have a ripple effect on some of society’s other issues,” Meghan says. “The foundations we work for are trying to ensure that everyone graduates from high school with the skills that they need for college or a career.”
Meghan’s education led her to the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, where she majored in communication management and design. As a Park scholar, Meghan got not only a full scholarship but also an open door to a world of opportunity in communications and community service. She chatted one-on-one with Christiane Amanpour when the CNN anchor visited IC as part of the Park Distinguished Visitor Series. She studied abroad in Australia. She used IC’s industry connections to land multiple internships—as part of IC’s Los Angeles program she interned in the publicity department of Fox Broadcasting and the production department of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and during her senior year she interned at PR firm Fleishman-Hillard. All this gave Meghan a powerful edge over the competition when she moved to D.C. after graduation.
“In a city like D.C., there are so many young people vying for one job. I had almost a full year of internship experience at graduation. I think that put me ahead of the game for sure,” Meghan recalls. “At GMMB, I’ve been told that my skills are beyond what they’re used to. When you [are hired at] a public relations agency, there’s an expectation that they’ll have to teach you how to write a press release and use industry tools. Because of IC, I came in already prepared for that.”
The IC experience also ignited Meghan’s passion for supporting important issues and causes. She participated in Relay for Life, Colleges Against Cancer, and Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND). At GMMB, she combines her drive to help others with her communication skills by planning events and developing messaging to grow public awareness of her clients’ missions.
“I want to keep making a difference for my clients and in my own life. I think that’s how the world changes—with optimistic people who are passionate about the work they do, who are motivated and feel like they have the support they need to achieve change.”
>> More on this story: Park Scholar Program
“Imagine not being able to talk at all,” said Maritsa Sherenian. “And you’ll have an inkling of what life is like for people with speech disorders. Even telling someone they’re thirsty is very, very difficult. They’re isolated in their own skins. Imagine that.”
Maritsa has not only imagined that, at IC she’s confronted it.
“I had my first clinical placement as an undergrad at Ithaca,” she said. “It involved accent modification with a young boy. It appealed to me because I was one-on-one with someone who needed help.”
Maritsa also formed one-on-one relationships with faculty.
“I did research for a professor who was studying college students’ awareness of autism,” Maritsa said. “Like all the faculty, he was a great help. They all knew when to push me and when I needed a gentle hand.”
Though Maritsa applied to several grad schools, Ithaca was her first choice.
“I knew I’d thrive here, especially since I already knew the professors,” she said. “That was huge.”
Also huge was the revelation Maritsa had once she was in the grad program. It took place in a horse barn.
“Children with autism typically have trouble developing natural speech,” Maritsa said. “One of my professors, Tina Caswell, was addressing that issue with a therapy program that placed autistic children on horseback and equipped them with iPads containing speech-generating software.”
Maritsa assisted with the program. The children, she said, became different people.
“The horse’s gentle gait calmed them. In that better frame of mind, they focused on the iPads and sent messages to their parents—not just about basic needs but also about what they were feeling. Moms and dads told us that for the first time, they could have a conversation with their children.”
The experience was also a first for Maritsa.
“I’d ridden horses since I was 10 or 11, and it dawned on me that an activity I loved could be a treatment option. Before, I’d pictured speech therapy as sitting in a small room with a client. I was open to new directions.”
Though Maritsa’s other graduate school experiences didn’t take place around horses, neither did they happen in enclosed spaces. For example, she spent two semesters working with a 13-year-old girl with Rett syndrome, a rare form of autism.
“Rett syndrome robs children of their muscle control and therefore their ability to speak, but they often retain their cognitive faculties,” Maritsa said. “With help from assistive technology, the young lady was able to convey how she felt. When she let me know she liked to make jewelry, we began making jewelry. Rarely had she experienced that kind of interaction. The world had always seen her as some tiny little girl, but she was a teenager, and she knew full well what was going on around her.”
Maritsa spent the last semester of her graduate program in full-time externships, one with autistic middle schoolers and the other with pediatric patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Friends at other grad schools have told me they hadn’t gotten the hours of actual work I did at IC,” Maritsa said. “They were more in the classroom, listening to a teacher explain something, while I’ve worked in clinics and one-on-one situations.”
Those opportunities to observe and discover, she said, will serve her well as she begins her job as a speech therapist at an elementary school.
“Society needs speech pathologists. My six years at IC have given me the foundation to be a first-rate clinician.”
Odds are good the technology you’ll use 20 years from now hasn’t been dreamed up yet. For modern-day communications experts like Susan Cort, things like websites, blogs, and social media are industry basics today. But they weren’t when she was a student at Ithaca College.
“It’s funny because everything I’m in charge of now was not invented when I was at IC,” she says.
Susan coordinates public relations for an integrated communications company that helps clients with marketing solutions across multiple media platforms. Her position builds on a varied career as a TV news anchor and reporter, PR director for the Hershey resort, high school broadcast journalism teacher, and successful communications freelancer.
Despite the technological change she’s witnessed firsthand, she says IC gave her the foundation to understand how to communicate and tell stories regardless of media evolution.
“You’ll need to be flexible so you can take everything you’ve learned in school and in your career and apply it to whatever the next thing is--whatever the latest technology is and however people are communicating,” Susan says.
Hands-on opportunities at Ithaca helped Susan focus her passion for communications. She immersed herself in the college TV and radio stations, anchoring news programs, hosting shows, and working on coverage during the 1984 election. She also interned at CNN in New York City, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (during a semester abroad in London), and the New Jersey Nightly News in Newark.
“I had real-world experiences at 18, 19 years old,” Susan says. “When I was ready to get a job, not only did I have a fabulous education from a college that had a terrific reputation; I had experience. I had demo tapes that showed I could be a broadcast journalist.”
On a recent tour of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at IC, Susan says the evolution of technology between her time as a student and today boggled her mind. “The student guides were showing me the Macs and all the high-tech equipment they had there and I said, ‘Wow. When I was here, we sat in the hall and wrote our news scripts on electric typewriters.’ The whole group got really quiet. They couldn’t imagine that.”
Whether you graduated in 1986 or will graduate in 2016, the benefits of Ithaca College are constant. “The combination of a quality education and real hands-on experience make me feel like, as IC grads, we’re kind of unstoppable,” Susan says. “We can do anything we set out to do.”
A lot of people dream of traveling the world. Not many dream of educating it. Shannon Burns came to Ithaca College with an interest in multicultural music education, which led her to an exciting future teaching and learning about music across the globe.
Shannon’s international travels began with a class she took during her senior year at Ithaca College. "I’ve always been interested in other people’s cultures and the impact that music has, but it really came into focus while I was studying African drumming and dance at Ithaca," says Shannon. Assisting in class was the School of Music’s artist in residence, Sulley Imoro. At the end of the semester, Shannon spent four weeks in Ghana with Imoro, studying the music and dance of another culture.
Spending time abroad sparked Shannon’s desire to compare Irish and African music, and to explore music as a tool for bridging cultural gaps. When she learned of the School of Music’s ties to Ireland’s University of Limerick, she applied to the master’s program in ethnomusicology there and was accepted.
After completing her master’s degree, Shannon was recruited by the University of Limerick to teach music theory to undergraduate students. She and some friends also launched a music center in the local community. The purpose of the center is to "make music more accessible, whether it’s through providing scholarships, production fees, or an instrument bank," she says.
Pursuing music education in Ireland wasn’t the last stop for Shannon—she recently returned to Africa on a volunteer trip to Mozambique. "My experience with African drumming and dance at Ithaca and in Ghana helped me bond with people in Mozambique—talking about dance, dancing, or singing with them.
"Visiting Africa again reaffirmed for me how important music is to the overall being and how it is a medium through which people can connect and experience life, regardless of language barriers," Shannon says.
Amanda Schlenker arrived at Ithaca College in the fall of her freshman year knowing she wanted to become an occupational therapist. What she didn’t know was how far an IC education could take her in this interactive, hands-on field.
She completed Ithaca’s five-year, B.S./M.S. occupational therapy program in 2009, and then launched her career in Boston with Thom Child & Family Services, a leading provider of programs for children with developmental difficulties.
“It was a job where I had to be independent,” she says. “My classes and fieldwork and internships gave me the experiences and the self-confidence I needed.”
Her experiences included work at the College’s own OT clinic, internships that put her classroom knowledge to real-world test, an anatomy class where she dissected a human cadaver (an option for OT students), and a thesis exploring how happiness affects performance, which she presented at the World OT Conference in Santiago, Chile.
Now she’s back in the Ithaca area, working at Child’s Play Occupational Therapy where she helps kids overcome challenges to live more fulfilled lives.
“I specialized in sensory integration,” Amanda says. “Everything we do comes to us through our senses. If there’s a problem there, it can throw off a kid’s world. So I come in and help families see how their child is interpreting the world differently, and then I offer ways to help get the kids back on track.”
Child’s Play is run by the IC faculty member who taught the pediatric occupational therapy courses Amanda took at Ithaca.
As for the future, Amanda is full of ideas. She’d like to combine music with occupational therapy, practice in a low-income community, or perhaps return to South America to share her skills.
“I knew in high school that OT would be a good fit for me,” she says. “I just followed that pathway through IC to graduation and into my career. There are so many opportunities. Ithaca’s given me the resources I need to learn and grow.”
>> More on this story: Occupational and Physical Therapy Clinic
Offering a good grounding in communications, marketing, and business, IC’s integrated marketing communications major is one-stop shopping for prospective public relations and advertising professionals. Christianne Enos couldn’t find a similar program at any other school. She wasn’t thrilled, though, with central New York’s less-than-balmy weather and its distance from her home near New York City.
“I knew that once I graduated from IC, I’d be able to do public relations, advertising, and marketing,” Christianne said. “So, I picked the college for its curriculum and planned to deal with whatever else came my way.”
“Whatever else” turned out to be an unforeseen chain of events that started her freshman year, when Christianne joined IC’s student chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). That led to Christianne’s election as the organization’s secretary, which positioned her to answer “yes” when faculty adviser Scott Hamula asked if any AAF officers cared to try for a Stickell internship, a paid, 10-week, hands-on opportunity available only to student members of the AAF. After a demanding selection process, Christianne was one of 15 applicants chosen from 200 student chapters nationwide. Assigned to IBM’s corporate headquarters, Christianne worked with the company’s advertising team and its agency, Ogilvy & Mather. From that experience came contacts, and from those contacts, a job. Christianne is now an assistant account executive at Ogilvy. Her account? IBM.
“The internship got me into the real world,” Christianne said. “My bosses and team members pushed me to challenge myself, and as a result, I learned the ins and outs of business-to-business marketing and how to maintain a client-agency relationship. A lot of advertising is learned once you get there.”
And getting there meant taking that first step into the unknown.
“Everything I experienced at IC prepared me for this job,” Christianne said, “and for my next job and the job after that. At IC, I learned to be ready for the unexpected.”
More on this story: AAF Student Chapter
It’s not easy to find free time in Jake Tenenbaum’s schedule. The business administration major has minors in integrated marketing communications and legal studies, and he also spends time as co-president of Ithaca’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. So when does he sleep?
“It’s going to sound nerdy, but for me the work is fun. Ithaca is such a hands-on school, and it’s given me the opportunity to learn such an incredible amount inside the classroom and through different student organizations. For instance, my consumer behavior class helped me understand the reasons the professionals at my internships made many of the decisions they did while I was there.”
“With the Business Link organization, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and helping others connect with alumni in their industry. We help students beginning in their freshman year to get in touch with alumni in their hometown, allowing them to foster relationships in an off-campus setting.”
Those experiences came in handy, scoring Jake an exciting internship in New York City with alumnus Chris Burch’s newest venture. Burch’s company, J. Christopher Capital, which owns the popular tech brands Powermat and Jawbone, had two fashion lines that were nearing their launch. “I was involved in the process of designing taglines and comparison charts for the two new companies, C Wonder and Monika Chiang,” Jake says. “It was just an amazing chance to organize all of my skills from Ithaca in one place.”
Jake plans on graduating a year early and already has a job offer on the table thanks to the connections he’s made through Ithaca. “I feel ready to lead. I want to go out and do well, and the links I made with business professionals due to my involvement on campus have placed me right where I want to be.”
Editor's Note: Jake impressed CEO and Ithaca alumnus Chris Burch '76 so much during his internship that Chris offered Jake a vital client-facing role at J. Christopher Capital immediately following graduation. Jake now works as a corporate gifting coordinator promoting the C. Wonder and Monika Chiang brands.
School of Humanities and Sciences | Theatrical Production Arts
“I was 10 when I saw the stage production of The Lion King, and I knew right then I wanted to make theatre my career,” said Max Doolittle ’11. “The trouble was, I suffered from stage fright, and that led me to work backstage.”
Max started painting scenery before discovering his calling was lighting and design.
“In high school, I was looking for a college program that would teach me how to create moving theatre in the real world,” Max said. “I picked IC because lots of people told me that if I was thinking about theatre design, I needed to consider Ithaca College.”
By the time Max graduated with a B.F.A. in theatre production arts, the “real world” that he had been aiming for turned out to be the place where he’d studied for four years.
In addition to Max’s experience as lighting designer for two Ithaca College Theatre productions, his undergraduate resume included more than a dozen gigs with central New York theatre companies as well as assignments as associate or assistant lighting designer at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Adirondack Theatre Festival, and Minnesota Opera.
“The spring of my senior year, another student and I collaborated with faculty mentor Steve TenEyck in producing Salome with the Minnesota Opera,” Max said. “We created the scenery and worked with Steve to figure out the lighting for each scene. It was a large-scale opera with world-class singers and musicians. I was amazed to see how the real world operates and also to have that strong credit on my resume.”
Max spent the summer after graduation working on regional shows and is now in demand for various theatre projects in NYC at Access Theatre, Ars Nova Theatre, Soho Rep Theatre, and The Juilliard School, among others.
“I could talk forever about model constructing, computer drafting, and all the practical skills the IC theatre faculty taught me,” Max said. “But beyond that, there’s an indescribable something. I’m going to call it professionalism. At IC, they run things exactly the way a regional theatre would, from the proper way to communicate with directors to how to come up with design ideas. The skills I learned at IC are the same ones I’m using now in my career.”
>> More on this story: Department of Theatre Arts
School of Health Sciences and Human Performance | Clinical Exercise Science
A sure way to impress on a job interview is to answer questions with relevant examples drawn from experience. That’s exactly what Christine Giovinazzo ’11 did as a candidate for a position at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Christine drew on her experiences working with IC Fit Kids, a program on the Ithaca College campus designed to show children and teens the benefits of exercise and healthy living.
“A lot of my interview questions were scenario-based, and I was able to answer the majority of them based on my experiences working with the kids,” she says.
Those experiences ranged from developing customized fitness plans for kids—be they couch potatoes or promising athletes—to working with parents to address questions and alleviate concerns. It turned out to be great preparation for the interview at CHOP, which is one of the premiere hospitals for children in the country.
Days before she graduated from IC, Christine found out she landed the job as a physical therapy specialist in the hospital’s healthy weight program. Now, she trains children in different exercises and activities, and works with a range of other specialists in the hospital, all with the goal of guiding overweight and morbidly obese children to healthier futures.
Christine is positive the opportunity to work with a program like IC Fit Kids was one of the biggest reasons she got the job. The program gave her more hands-on experience than the average college graduate, she says.
“That was really something that impressed the interviewers,” Christine reflects. “I don’t think they often get candidates right out of college who have worked so directly with kids.”
>> More on this story: IC Fit Kids - Fuse
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
Pianists make music with keyboards. Engineers use mixing consoles. Thanks to IC’s sound recording technology program, Shalini Gandhi ’11 can do both.
“I was a pre-med student in Australia when I decided sound recording was something I really wanted to do and America would be the best place to learn it,” Shalini said. “So I took two years off, worked and saved, and made my way to Ithaca.”
Fortunately, Shalini was already an accomplished pianist, because at IC, studying audio engineering requires majoring in performance.
“After doing all the things performance majors do, I had to find free time to get into the studio. As it turned out, I was quite happy recording until four in the morning because recording was my passion.”
The console Shalini spent four years training on—while being paid as an Ithaca College recording services engineer—was the same she uses now, working for WireWorld Studio in Nashville. Plus, the people who taught her, like her current colleagues, were seasoned professionals, among them Alex Perialas, a Grammy-nominated audio engineer and producer with 131 albums to his credit.
“In addition to teaching us the technology,” Shalini says, “Alex gave us insights into the business end of the industry.”
Perialas, whose recording credits include Brian Wilson and Johnny Dowd, helped secure Shalini a curriculum-required internship, at a studio in Nashville, and introduced her to a former colleague, who offered her a job the summer before her senior year.
“This industry isn’t one where you just wave your degree and expect people to hire you,” Shalini says. “Alex’s connections got my foot in the door, and from there, I showed people that IC taught me how things work, not just how to make things work.”
Knowing how to perform didn’t hurt either.
“As a student, I complained about spending so much time sight singing and playing the piano, but my boss is an engineer through and through, and he’s found me useful because I can talk knowledgeably to musicians. Fortunately IC faculty pushed me and expected a lot out of me.”
>> More on this story: Recording Services of the School of Music
There are no bogeys when it comes to finding a major in college. So when Adam Karnish switched from biology to chemistry and then to physics during his first two years at Ithaca College, he was never in danger of going over par.
The lifelong golfer’s fondness for math and science eventually drew him to Ithaca’s physics department. “I’ve always been a logical thinker, and physics is the study of how things work, so that really interested me,” he says.
The summer before his senior year, Adam joined an Ithaca College/Cornell research team studying the composition of an asteroid. The project required remotely accessing the controls of a telescope in Hawaii to do some of the work.
For his senior research project, Adam turned his attention to a different flying object: the golf ball. The real goal was to develop his knowledge of computer modeling software, but he took the opportunity to apply it to something he enjoyed.
After graduation, Adam landed a job with the United States Golf Association, where he now works to define individual course ratings and handicaps using statistical analysis and linear regression—skills he honed in Ithaca’s physics department.
“Within the first 10 years, a new golf course goes through big changes,” Adam says. “Trees, grasses, speed of the green—it evolves dramatically.” Because of that, a course needs to be rated at least three times in its first 10 years of existence, he says, and then once every 10 years after.
Theoretical scores produced from the course rating are compared to actual golfers’ scores to determine the course handicap. Those results are fed back into the course rating system.
“If the score is affected more by shots near the green, or by the difficulty of the contours of the green, that information needs to be weighed more heavily to reflect the actual scores made by players,” Adam says.
Adam also teaches course rating and handicap systems at golf courses around the country. Giving research presentations as a student helped prepare him for this aspect of the job, too.
“One thing I really learned at Ithaca was how to speak in front of a group of people and explain my thoughts clearly, in an organized manner, to convey whatever message I'm trying to bring to the audience,” he says.
>> More on this story: How to Get Involved in Research
“I describe Ithaca as a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience,” says Alex Moore ’07. His own Ithaca College adventure has taken a winding and rewarding path.
When Alex decided to add a writing minor to his politics major, his father suggested (as fathers do) that a grant writing course might make him more employable. Alex took his father’s advice and during the course, he read a book about nonprofit organizations. Its author, Robert Egger, was president of a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that helps the homeless. Alex emailed Egger, Egger emailed back, and shortly afterward Alex was on his way to intern at Egger’s organization, DC Central Kitchen, to write grant proposals.
“It’s one of those Ithaca chain reactions where you start in one place and wind up someplace very different,” Alex says. “What motivated me was the question of poverty—how does it happen and what can we do about it?”
Questions of poverty, human rights, and social justice continue to shape Alex’s career. He has completed a master’s degree, and now he’s working on his Ph.D. in political science, focusing his studies on humanitarian intervention in international relations. His goal is to become a college professor. “I want to have the kind of impact that my Ithaca professors had on me,” he says.
And just what was that impact? “Ithaca taught me the value of examining the unquestioned ground I stand on,” Alex says. “It’s social change. It’s changing the way people think. It’s asking big questions about the world and yourself.”
Journalists want to stay on top of a story, not be the focus. It’s hard not to take notice of up-and-comer Aaron Edwards, though.
The senior journalism major at Ithaca College has interned with some of the biggest names in the business, but it all started by signing up to write for IC’s nationally-recognized student paper, the Ithacan. Three weeks later, his first article was published, but not without a lot of work.
“When I filed my first story during freshman year, my editor sat me down, politely told me that it was a hot mess, and worked with me for hours to fine tune it,” he says.
Aaron’s experiences at IC set the stage for his internship with CBS, where he conducted preliminary interviews for the Evening News with Katie Couric; for his stint with the New York Times Institute, where he reported about the impact of the Gulf oil spill on coastal towns; and for an internship with the Associated Press bureau in London, where he interviewed Jesse Eisenberg and other celebrities, covered protests, and worked on the field team covering the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Now Aaron’s bringing all his real-world experience back to The Ithacan’s top post as editor-in-chief. And he’s ready for life after IC with a competitive job waiting at the New York Times as one of four James Reston Reporting Fellows.
“I’m reassured because I put in the time, and the hours of work at school. I feel like I’ve set myself up for early success after I graduate,” he says.
>> More on this story: The Ithacan
For Nancy Patterson, baseball is more about pulled hamstrings and sore muscles than RBIs and ERAs. Working with the Inland Empire 66ers, a former minor league affiliate of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, turned out to be the perfect first step to her dream job.
The path to the Inland Empire team ran straight through Ithaca, where Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in clinical exercise science and athletic training in 2006 and a master’s in exercise and sport sciences two years later. Ithaca College prepared her well, she says, for the challenge of pro sports: “The first time being on your own with a team can be nerve-wracking. But between the classes at Ithaca and our on-field experience, I felt very well prepared.”
That on-field experience included working with several Ithaca sports teams and internships with minor league affiliates of the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox.
“When I first graduated, I felt like I was much more prepared and experienced than recent grads from other programs,” Patterson says. “I attribute this to the way IC’s program is put together and the outstanding professors who put in the extra time and effort to help the students succeed.”
And succeed she has. After joining the Inland Empire 66ers team as its athletic trainer in the winter of 2009, Nancy got promoted to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. Then the call from the big leagues came: she’s now assistant athletic trainer for the L.A. Dodgers.
“Going to Ithaca is what allowed me to go into baseball,” Nancy says. “Everyone has heard of Ithaca’s athletic training program.”
>> More on this story: Office of Experiential Learning
As a singer, student government representative, and integrated marketing communications major at Ithaca College, Jimmy Knowles knows how to make voices heard.
Freshman year, Jimmy joined Ithacappella, IC’s renowned all-male a cappella group, and was elected to the student government. When faculty steered him into Ithaca’s IMC program, “Something just clicked, and all these different parts of my life came together,” he says.
Jimmy became a lead vocalist and promoter for Ithacappella. Freshman year, he performed a solo at Lincoln Center when the group made it to an international collegiate a cappella competition. The following year, his marketing efforts helped bring 1,200 people to the group’s first concert of the year. “I remember hitting the stage and thinking, ‘I did this. I got these people here.’ That was when I realized what I’m doing is really big,” he says.
That kind of real-world experience helped him snag one of eight internships at New York City–based Serino/Coyne, a top ad agency specializing in Broadway promotions. “They fired questions at me about the work we’d be doing, and I was like, ‘Okay, I did this two months ago in class. I got this,’” he says.
As a junior, Jimmy spearheaded Ithacappella’s involvement in the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide among gay youth. The group’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” sung with local school kids to benefit the project, went viral on the Internet and drew the attention of MTV, Ellen DeGeneres, Perez Hilton, and others.
Once a senior, Jimmy served as president of both Ithacappella and the senior class. He relished the creativity and collaboration of the Ithaca College community.
“The professors and administrators here really want you to succeed. I have never been told that I can’t do something. It’s always, ‘Let’s find a way to make this work.’ Ithaca College has taught me to believe in myself.”
More on this story: Ithacappella