Communication Department Hosts Inaugural Women in Production Alumnae Panel

by Gregory Boland & Madalyn Johnson, Contributor & Staff Writer

As the communication department has aged and grown at Manhattan College, so has its network of alumni. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, a panel of ten female alumni of the communication department gathered in the O’Malley Alumni room to describe their experiences in the fast paced and chaotic environment that many communication majors will be entering after graduation.

Numerous alumni returned to give communication students at MC an insight of how the industry is and what it expects. The women, which included Stephanie Brooks, Erica Cellucci, Rita Damiron, Becca Falbourn, Tina Fernandez, Dominque Girardi, Gabriella Girgis, Lindsay Gordon, Nereida Millan, and Nia Stevens, all work for major news and entertainment companies located in the heart of New York City. The companies included NBC, CBS, Engel entertainment, Cheddar, and SNL.

The panel was very informative and provided MC’s students with honest and real advice on what is really cool about working in the industry and how it has its upsets.

One downgrade mentioned was the hectic and unpredicted long hours on the job.  Becca Falbourn described that it is not all tribulation.

“[When asked] why am I doing this when I don’t get paid a lot but I have to wake up at four in the morning when I’m missing Christmas it’s because this, I’m helping viewers, I’m getting a crazy story, out there,” she said

Internships and making connections was also something that was emphasized throughout the whole panel. Many of the women explained how significant internships were to getting the jobs they have today, and how it can be a eyeopener for potential jobs students may be seeking for.

Tina Fernandez, who works for SNL as cast member Leslie Jones’ assistant, talked about she wished she did more internships during her time at Manhattan college and the importance of getting a connection.

“If you have an internship, you kinda can narrow your way to what you want and don’t want,” she said. “Looking back, I was lucky to get to work for NBC but if you’re not so fortunate, start off somewhere else because you never know where you can meet someone that can get you in there.”

Many students attended the panel to get some perspectives of how the industry is and how the process of getting an internship can be difficult. Jess Solan, a sophomore majoring in communications with a concentration in media production attended the panel and was really inspired by the impressive jobs the ten alumni have claimed.

“It really enforced what I wanted to do, even more so. I really love seeing everyone here, especially how passionate they are about their jobs. It really seems like a lot of inspiring people have come out of Manhattan College,” Solan said.

The women at the panel also discussed how gender and ethnic background has a played a role in the jobs they have landed with and why they have chosen the particular companies they work for.  Nereida Millan, who works for the page program at NBC, explained how trying to find a position at a network was really intimidating considering she is the first of her family to be a college graduate.

Millan mentioned how her wanted to ensure the company she worked for welcomed and respected women. She as well shared how she was worried her race and ethnicity would affect how she was perceived by mainstream TV networks.

“I have big curly hair and my whole life people told me keep it straight, it’s not professional. Millan said. “I really wanted the page program at NBC because I knew the opportunities it would give me and I said they’re going to have to take me as I am,  so I went with my big hair and they wouldn’t stop complimenting it.”

Millan explained how the acceptance made her feel welcome and comfortable in her own skin when presenting herself to the company.

“It was so just well received and something as small as that meant the world to me.”

To close up the panel, the women expressed how important it is to stay strong-willed despite how cruel and cut throat the communication field can be to newcomers.

“My advice for people going to the industry, nothing is above you,” Lindsey Gordon said.

Editor’s Note: Jess Solan is a staff writer for The Quadrangle