“Extremely competitive.” Those are the first two words used by the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) Foundation to describe a summer fellowship, for which Emory & Henry College junior Olivia Bailey is now a finalist.
The fellowship is awarded to 25 college students nationwide and offers expense-paid summer work experience in New York City at the most recognizable media corporations, including CNN, ESPN, ABC, CBS and NBC.
The Summer Fellowship Program teaches up-and-coming communicators the realities of the business world and includes practical experience and career-planning advice. Should Bailey land the fellowship, she will be the second E&H mass communications student to receive the fellowship. Sunni Blevins, a member of the E&H Class of 2005, received the fellowship for the summer after her graduation.
“I see this program as a great opportunity to gain some diversity in my experience. Also, working in New York City would be a great opportunity to see how well I could do in a very large media market,” said Bailey, who comes to Emory & Henry from Chilhowie, Va.
Bailey, a double major in mass communications and public policy & community service, currently serves as editor of the E&H student newspaper, The Whitetopper. She also serves as a co-host for EHC-TV and a sports announcer for WEHC 90.7. She has worked part-time for WCYB-TV in Bristol,Va., after working there as an intern. In addition, she will be travelling to Ireland in the fall on an international service project.
At Emory & Henry, Bailey says, students gain both breadth and depth in their mass communications education, which is, in large part, the result of small class sizes, a talented faculty, and a sophisticated program that prepares students well for the changing realities of the communications field.
Dr. Teresa Keller, the chair of the E&H Mass Communications Department, is not surprised that Bailey is a finalist in this national competition. “Few students anywhere have gained as much media experience at this stage as she has. She is extremely bright and capable with fabulous social skills, and her motivation to do good work is off the charts,” Keller said. “She is exactly the kind of person they (the IRTS Foundation) want to attract to the radio and television industry. I’m very proud of her for making the list of finalists.”
The IRTS Fellowship Program begins with an extensive one-week orientation to broadcasting, cable, advertising, and interactive media. Fellows have a rare opportunity to question industry professionals at panels, lectures and group discussions. They also take related field trips and learn career planning, networking and interviewing skills by attending industry social functions.
Following this first week, Fellows gain full-time "real world" experience at New York-based media establishments, to which each is assigned for the duration of the nine-week fellowship. Fellows are then able to reinforce or redefine specific career goals before settling into a permanent job in the electronic media industry.