Nia Stevens is one of the many recently graduated alumni from Manhattan College’s class of 2014 and is currently finding herself immersed in the professional world as a page for the CBS Broadcast Center based in New York City.
Stevens graduated from MC on May 18, 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting communications and a minor in digital media arts.
Reflecting on graduation, Stevens said she felt overwhelmed, relieved and accomplished all at once but was happy that she would never have to go to school again. However, that was the most intimidating aspect as well.
“The hardest part is the fact that you’re not preparing to go back to school,” she said. “You’re in school for sixteen years of your life. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of time and you’re so conditioned to be in school. From the moment when you’re not in school, it’s weird.”
When graduation came, Stevens did not have any jobs lined up but relied on the knowledge she had from previous experiences in the world of communication.
In high school, Stevens had the opportunity to work with MSG Varsity, an organization that follows high school sports in the New York metropolitan area. Through this experience, Stevens conducted interviews and realized that the communication industry was what she wanted to focus on as she continued her higher education.
“It’s great to see how your little interests here and there grow into something more concrete,” she said.
Dr. Michael Grabowski, associate professor for the Communication Department, had Stevens as a student for five courses
“She was not afraid to tackle a new assignment or production scenario, and she worked hard to learn beyond what was required to attain a professional level of accomplishment,” Grabowski said. “She sought out opportunities to produce projects for clients, gaining valuable experience in following projects through to completion.”
Stevens also credits her internship with a start-up production company during her senior year as a significant learning experience that helped to improve her confidence.
“It was just two girls working on a documentary film so I got to be a part of the creative process,” she said. “I helped them with regular work like logging their footage and transcribing it and transcoding it.”
Although Stevens appreciates the opportunities MC has to offer for internships, she said it is also a great experience to get internships without the help of others.
“It was a lot of character development because I was able to find this particular job with no connection to Manhattan College and begin to make my own connections as well as connections for people in the future,” she said.
Russell Stevens, Nia’s older brother and a MC alumnus of the class of 2006, said he’s enjoyed watching his sister grow and discover her passions.
“I’ve seen her grow from someone who had no real knowledge of how to speak professionally to someone who understands that being smart is only half the battle,” he said. “Being professional can sometimes be more important that what you specifically know.”
Stevens’ passion lies in the area of video editing and hopes that the 18-month duration of her job at CBS is just the start of her career in the industry.
“I’d love to get a job in a field at CBS that’s relevant even if it’s editing or working on a show,” she said. “I would love to stay at CBS because I really do like the company and everyone I’ve met so far is very nice. But also if I meet people outside of that, I would continue to apply to full time jobs and see what comes up from it.”
“With the page program, which is why it’s kind of fun and semi-interesting, there really is no typical day,” Stevens said of her current job. “Every day could be different especially when you are working with live audiences, nothing is the same.”
According to Stevens, the weekend news reports that she works on are a little more difficult because people expect pages to do as much work as everyone else in the office.
“When it comes to ten minutes before air, everyone needs a script including the director, the assistant director and the anchor of course,” she explained. “You have to get them the script and organize it according to the run down and then run it over to them and if any changes happen you have to run those changes over.”
If Stevens could give advice to current students at MC it would be to not burn bridges.
“In college, especially at Manhattan College, you’re in a small school and word travels very quickly,” she said. “You never know who is going to be your boss or have that email that you really need. It’s best to play it safe and be nice to everybody, as nice as you can, even if you don’t like them.”
Connection to alumni is the reason Stevens was accepted into the page program at CBS in the first place.
Although the post graduate life may seem far away and uncertain for some people, it will arrive quickly.
“It’s about making time for yourself and getting your life in order so that it can go as smoothly as possible,” Stevens said about her life after MC. “And that’s a very scary feat for a lot of college graduates.”