Whether she was on the college’s presidential search committee, working with NBC’s Lester Holt, or anchoring ICTV’s Newswatch, Ciara Lucas '17 can’t say enough about the Park School and the opportunities that were presented to her throughout her four years. “The Park School gives students the opportunities to lay a strong foundation for the future. Not a lot of college students can say they know what it’s like to be out in the field,” said Lucas. “Knowing how to work under pressure and being involved in ICTV, radio, and newspaper, both on campus and off campus, has provided me with the skills and knowledge to take the next steps.”
Lucas is now a general assignment reporter and multimedia journalist for WJCL in Savannah, Georgia. At WJCL, Lucas covers just about everything from human interest stories to crime and hard news. Transitioning was a bit difficult for her, but she understands that journalism is a public service and she is working for the community. Every day is about meeting new people in Savannah, and she understands the importance of adapting and adjusting to a new city and its environment.
While at Ithaca College, Lucas was very involved in ICTV, especially Newswatch, where she was able to learn different positions that gave her a deeper understanding of the newsroom. For her, Newswatch was a great test to see whether this was something she wanted to pursue.
“I like paying it forward. I want people to be inspired and do more. Current students who feel lost, who don’t think they have that proper outlet, they do at the Park School. They have the ability to pursue their dream,” said Lucas.
During her time at IC, Lucas was the vice president of the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, where she represented the school at regional conferences. She was also on the student government as a student trustee and the senior class president. She was on the presidential search committee, which selected President Shirley Collado.
“I always had an interest in student leadership in general. I made myself available and was involved in the campus community. I felt as though I left my mark at my alma mater,” said Lucas.
Lucas was also part of a team that traveled to Selma, Alabama, in 2015 for the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. She worked with NBC Nightly News to tell untold stories. “When you step into the Park School as a student, you immediately get hands-on experience,” said Lucas. “The field work opportunities, media positions through student orgs, and off campus opportunities give you the chance to start learning as soon as you get to Ithaca College.”
Lucas’ advice to aspiring journalists is not to stress over the job search. She urges graduates to give themselves a break after college and prepare to jump back into journalism to start pursing their dreams.
“You cannot imagine your future because you don’t know where this job will take you. Don’t get caught up in where you are going because you’re going to figure it out,” said Lucas. “Be proud of yourself that you got your degree.”
For Lucas, IC was the right school to pursue her greatest ambitions. She hopes students take every opportunity they can while in the Park School.
“Once you graduate, you are readier than you ever thought you were. If there are any doubts, know that you have been trained to do this and you are in the right place.”