From her time at Ithaca College to her first journalism job at CBS2/Fox 28 news in Cedar Rapids, Emily Chavez (’19) says that she is always learning. As a first-generation student, Chavez did a lot of self-directed learning at IC. Moving away from home for college helped her to build the courage she needed to move farther away from home to follow her career.
“When I encountered an experience, I didn't really know what to do,” Chavez said. “It definitely made me a stronger person and kind of made me a pioneer in a sense.”
Her experiences at Ithaca College prepared Chavez for her first job. In less than a year, she’s covered devastating storms, political caucuses and a pandemic.
“I feel like I grew a lot as a journalist within a year, just because I was kind of thrown into the fire,” Chavez said. “This year was really critical and just kind of flexing my MMJ journalistic skills.”
She learned a lot of those multimedia journalism skills through the Mobile Social Journalism class that she took with Anthony Adornato, associate professor in the Department of Journalism. The class prepared her for a job full of responsibilities like recording interviews, getting good B-roll with her phone, branding herself, and using social media to reach out to sources.
Chavez also credits a trip to cover the 2019 Women’s March in Washington, D.C., offered through the Department of Journalism, with preparing her as a professional journalist.
“That was also so surreal, kind of learning how to cover a big event, and homing in, and how to tell the stories that were that needed to be told,” she said. “That I think definitely helped me shape my career definitely gave me some skills and memories that I'll never forget.”
Real-life experiences like that trip helped her to become a successful MMJ at CBS Fox 28 news, where she shoots, edits and writes all of her material herself.
Journalism is so much more than just the shooting and editing for Chavez, though. It’s about the people.
“My favorite part of everyday is I just love, love interviewing,” Chavez said. “Hearing someone who's so passionate about what they taught, like, what they know and what they're an expert in is just my favorite thing.”
But, above all else, her experience as a first-generation student has taught her how to take charge and give herself credit for her accomplishments.
“It's okay to make mistakes, and you don't have to have your entire life figured out,” Chavez said. “I feel like we forget, we're all still so young. And we're still learning from all of our experiences.”