Over winter break, students were in Los Angeles for an HWS careers program that gave them an exclusive look at media and film professions from high-profile alums, including CBS news correspondent and HWS trustee Bill Whitaker ’73, L.H.D. ’97 and screenwriter, director, and producer Mark Neveldine ’95.
Whitaker, an Emmy award-winner, was one of the featured guests who met with students during the three-day “Los Angeles: Behind the Scenes” experience, which took place Wednesday, Jan. 9, through Friday, Jan. 11. As a lauded news correspondent, Whitaker has covered a range of national and international stories, including the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and immigration issues on the United States-Mexico border.
Neveldine, who recently directed “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (2011), returned to the program this year to conclude the experience with a special discussion session with students. This year, students also visited the studio for the hit television show “Glee.”
Led by faculty of the Media and Society department, the students who participated received firsthand perspectives about the entertainment industry and related professions from more than a dozen alums representing seasoned executives, producers, and writers. The L.A. program was one of several annually held career-focused trips for students offered by the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development.
“Participating students gain valuable insights about career choices and professional networking,” says Brandi Ferrarra, director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development. “In addition, each of the experiences offers students the opportunity to learn from and network with alums. The L.A. program has an outstanding line-up of alumni and alumnae who will be meeting with students.”
Before the trip, Joseph Bisesto ’14, a media and society major, said he looked forward to attending the L.A. program, calling it a positive step for gaining insights on careers in the entertainment industry.
“It is inspiring how many HWS alums are involved in the entertainment industry, each making huge and important contributions,” Bisesto said. “My hope is to connect with them and learn the necessary steps to get where I want to be. We will be hearing from all sorts of people in all different aspects of entertainment. I’ve already learned that in order to pursue a career in the entertainment business you must network and network well.”
For the students who participated in the L.A. program, their learning experiences extend beyond the trip itself. Recently, Career Services hosted a networking workshop, as well as a special reception for students to practice their professional networking skills with local alums. More than 100 students participated.
Faculty who attended the L.A. trip, Professor and Chair of Media and Society Lester Friedman, Professor of English Grant Holly, Associate Professor of English Liz Lyon, also held an orientation for the participating students. A debriefing session was held at the end of the trip in order for students to reflect upon their experiences and share insights with each other.
“One of the great things about Hobart and William Smith Colleges is that you can fully develop yourself toward exactly who you want to be,” Bisesto said. “I am using what HWS has to offer by taking relevant classes, working on interesting projects, and focusing on and developing skills, all with the ultimate goal of helping me reach the entertainment industry.”
The above photos were taken during the 2013 HWS trip to Los Angeles.