The Charger Blog

Students reflect on ‘Wonderful’ Opportunity to Explore Careers in Communications

Several Chargers attended a recent Digital Media Connecticut event in Stamford, enabling them to learn more about a variety of exciting careers in media and entertainment and to network with industry leaders.

November 10, 2023

By Jessie S. Hymowitz ’24, Sadara Funches ’24, and Noelle Miller ’24

Several Chargers attended a recent Digital Media Connecticut event.
Several Chargers attended a recent Digital Media Connecticut event."

The University’s Communications Department recently offered Chargers the opportunity to attend the Digital Media Connecticut’s Career Discovery event in Stamford, Conn. A program of The Village Community Foundation, the Career Discovery program introduces students to careers in the media and entertainment industry.

The program included speakers and mentors from companies such as Paramount and CNN, who discussed relevant topics such as career development and diversity. The program offered important networking opportunities for students, who also took part in small-group coaching sessions with industry mentors.

Below, three seniors reflect on their experiences at the event.

Jessie S. Hymowitz ’24

Participating in the DMCT Career Discovery event is the best thing I have done as an aspiring screenwriter. It allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and ask questions about the film and TV industries.

This event allowed me to meet and chat with so many industry professionals, learn about their personal experiences, and hear some of their advice. This included talking to people working with Nickelodeon and CNN who were willing to give advice and mingle with the students at the event.

The event included breakout sessions with industry leaders.
The event included breakout sessions with industry leaders.

The event began with a networking session in which the industry leaders could meet with the students who were from everywhere in Connecticut, from UConn to Yale. Then Danielle Gervais (casting director of ITV America) and Makeda Mays Green (senior VP of Paramount/Nickelodeon) had a “fireside chat” where they talked about how they started in the industry. Then S.E. Cupp (CNN) spoke on her experience in TV journalism. This gave a well-rounded view of the media industry and how to work in it.

Students even had “break-out chats” with the execs, and I got to speak to VP Green. She was wonderfully kind and gave great advice on how to follow through. Green wanted to hear all of our dreams for the future and told us to be “faithful” to ourselves and our creative pursuits and to take every job that we are offered. For example, one of Green’s earlier jobs was being Elmo at events, which helped her get connections within the children’s industry.

Since the event, she continues to be a great contact and mentor for how to make professional connections. This “break-out chat” also gave me an opportunity to meet other film students and network with them.

The DMCT event was a professional and wonderful networking event that helped me make connections and plans for my future. I thank the Communications Department and chair Tom Garrett for giving this opportunity to its students.

Students at the DMCT event in Stamford, Conn.
Students at the DMCT event in Stamford, Conn.
Sadara Funches ’24

As soon as I learned of the opportunity to attend the DMCT Career Discovery, I knew I wanted to attend. Taking advantage of a professional development program in the middle of the media and entertainment hub of Connecticut was a no-brainer. There was no other way I would have rather spent my day. Actually, I wish the event was a lot longer!

Being able to pick the brains of executive vice presidents and senior vice presidents of companies I’ve been watching my whole life was an invaluable opportunity as I am in the process of working on my post-graduation plans. I appreciate the range of moderators the event host chose, from a children’s media research executive and a casting professional for unscripted television to a CNN commentator.

Throughout the event, I interacted with the moderators and other participants, sharing my current challenges and hearing the same from others. I am glad I finally got to hear such diverse “foot in the door” stories, whether it was a linear path into the industry or a nonlinear path that started in a completely different field. It reminded me that there is no one way to succeed and excel – and that it is ok to be captivated by multiple things over time.

Sitting in discussions and breakout rooms with executive leaders in the industry opened my eyes even more to where your personal drive for anything can take you.

Noelle Miller ’24

Attending the DMCT Career Discovery event in Stamford was a pivotal moment in my life. When I signed up, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I would be listening to professionals in the media and entertainment industry, but nothing could have prepared me for what I learned during my time there.

I have been passionate about the field of media and entertainment since my first production class. So, when I found out I had the opportunity to hear from professionals working for companies such as Paramount, CNN, and Discovery, I immediately took it.

When I arrived, I felt nervous upon discovering that we would later break into groups for more individualized discussions with these professionals. I had no idea what to say or even if I would say anything. I tried to set my nerves aside as we settled into our seats and prepared for the event to begin.

Students listened to a fireside chat with industry professionals.
Students listened to a fireside chat with industry professionals.

After about 10 minutes of listening to Makeda Mays Green, senior VP at Paramount, speak with Danielle Gervais, the executive VP of casting & talent at ITV America, I was in awe and already taking plenty of notes. They shared their experiences within the field and offered incredible advice that I will hold close.

I acquired a thorough understanding of what it takes to enter the industry and achieve success. When we split into small groups, and I had the opportunity to converse with Liz Fine, senior VP at Spoke Studios, my life changed. Her passion for the industry shone through as she shared her experiences and responded to our questions.

I’m uncertain where else I could have found the answers I obtained at this event. I always felt that I would have trouble pursuing the career I desired after college, but I left the event feeling confident in my ability to achieve my goals. These professionals once had the same dreams I do, and with the knowledge I have now, I believe I can turn them into reality, too.

Jessie S. Hymowitz ’24, is an English major at the University of New Haven. Sadara Funches ’24 and Noelle Miller ’24 are communications majors.