NYC Behind the Scenes: Exploring Careers in Entertainment and the Arts – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

NYC Behind the Scenes: Exploring Careers in Entertainment and the Arts

HWS alums working in the competitive entertainment and media industries in New York City met with students who are exploring the fields through a three-day career exploration and networking event.

During winter break, more than a dozen Hobart and William Smith students participated in the Behind the Scenes program in New York City. Due to the pandemic, this year’s career exploration and networking event was held virtually, Jan. 12 – 14. Through the three-day experience facilitated by the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education and Associate Professor of Media & Society Lisa Patti, students met with HWS alums who work in a range of companies including BuzzFeed, CBS, Equinox, NBC, The Production Hive, Spark and Zenith.

Through presentations and networking sessions, students were exposed to careers in the competitive media industry from professionals who are involved in content creation, production, news, advertising and marketing.

Rachel Meller ’21, a media and society major with a minor in American studies, who wants to pursue a career in advertising says, “The Behind the Scenes program allowed me to connect with alumni and alumnae who are established within the field, expanding my network and allowing me to learn of their career paths as well as opportunities that may arise, such as positions that may be opening or training programs.”

The annual winter break event rotates between New York City and Los Angeles, cities known for their opportunities in entertainment and the arts. The program offers students a chance to engage directly with professionals in fields of interest. Each year, participating students establish important professional connections, get access to behind-the-scenes perspectives, and even land internships and set the foundation for possible future employment.

Shayna Riggins ’22, a media and society major with a double minor in Spanish and Africana Studies, is looking to launch a career in the media and advertising industry, “specifically creating content and managing brands pertaining to diversity, representation and advocacy of current issues.”

Riggins says the Behind the Scenes program and its rich alum network were a significant first step. “Hearing the journeys and experiences of fellow Hobart and William Smith community members allows me networking opportunities, mentorship and motivation to continue in the career path that I am pursuing. This program has given me exposure and great insight as to how I will continue to shape my path toward my career goal. I am very grateful.”

Participating firms with HWS alums included:

BuzzFeed: Duane Munn ’01, Director of Publishing, Social Media

CBS This Morning: Kate Gilhool ’16, Associate Producer

Equinox Media: Heather Ogletree ’09, Producer

NBCUniversal Media: Amber Williams ’17, NBC Page

The Olympics (NBC): Kelsey Rowley ’18, Production Assistant

The Production Hive: Kelley Hartmann ’16, Associate Producer

Spark Foundry: Brett Danzinger ’17, Senior Associate, Strategy, and Meegan Scally ’17, Senior Associate, Content

Viacom CBS, MTV Entertainment: Cecilia Foley ’18, Business Planning & Operations Manager

Zenith: Brittany Doyle ’10, Vice President, Zenith Content