Alumni Profile: Laurel Mick '08

Sam McCann (a class of 2012 journalism major from Alexandria, Virginia) caught up with Park Scholar alumna Laurel Mick, a story producer for Top Chef.

In 2004, Laurel Mick was a high school senior searching for a small college feel that would cultivate her interest in film and television production.

“I really wanted a smaller school experience. Because I’m from a small town I wanted to push myself and challenge myself in a way that I hadn’t been so I wanted to go to school out of state,” Mick explained.

She entered Ithaca College that fall as a Park Scholar and found exactly what she was looking for. The small school feel she sought, though, didn’t lead to an insular experience. On the contrary, while studying at the College Mick spent semesters abroad in London, India and Los Angeles, sharpening her media skills while getting unparalleled cultural encounters.

Mick, who now works in L.A. as a story producer on popular reality television shows like Top Chef credits Ithaca College and its Park Scholar program for many of the opportunities she’s had professionally and personally since entering IC.

“It was such a nurturing experience for me…I felt safe here and that’s what helped me take advantage of the study abroad opportunities and keep pushing myself further and further and eventually move to the west coast.”

Before making that move, though, Mick first made two more. First hopping on a plane to India, Mick, an anthropology minor, was able to experience a completely different culture.

“I was really interested in story-telling and different cultures, and I had spent a lot of time in south-Asian studies and so I wanted to go to India to do some documentary work,” Mick said. “And I also wanted to live in a developing country because I thought that it would really expand my world-view, so I did an India program… I was basically cut off from everything that I had ever known or experienced before, which was completely invaluable to me. Not only did I learn so much being there, but you learn so much about self-sufficiency and you learn so much about what inspires you and, to be cheesy, what’s important and what’s not important in life”

Next, Mick went to London, interning with NBC news. That internship led to another one in L.A. in the spring of her senior year, which Mick hoped would lead to a job following graduation.

“I heard some people were offered jobs out of the program and was excited to cultivate that opportunity,” she said. “So I took a couple different internships out in L.A. One of those internships was with a reality production company called Magical Elves that were doing Project Runway at the time, they were doing Top Chef, Top Design— a couple different shows that were really inspiring to me as a viewer.”

Mick managed to parlay that internship with Magical Elves into an entry-level position once she had her degree, and packed her bags once more, this time for a more permanent move to L.A.

Now that she’s comfortably settled in her job as story editor for Magical Elves, working on popular T.V. shows like Top Chef, Mick reflects fondly on her time at IC and the Park Scholar Program, and how it fostered the values that she still prizes today.

“As close as the Park Community is, the Park Scholar community is that much closer. What I love about the program is how Park Scholars have this passion for social justice and social awareness. That is really important.”



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