Mariah Kliegl - Student Success

Mariah Kliegl - Student Success

Mariah Kliegl

My “Graceland Experience” led me to a summer internship working with ABC 7 and News Channel 8 in Washington D.C. It was unpaid but very hands on, and I learned so much about the world of broadcast journalism in just one summer! It’s fast, exciting and sometimes stressful, but makes for a wonderful work environment.

The internship is set up to fit the interests of the students. I chose which areas I wanted to learn about: producing, writing, reporting, etc. Then they partnered me with a team.

I was placed with Let’s Talk Live, the daytime talk show with cooking, fashion, lifestyle, sales and celebrity guests. I escorted guests to the set, helped set up between segments, ran the Twitter live behind-the-scenes updates, wrote blog posts and the “leads” for the day’s segments (the leads are what goes on the prompter for each segment, so I got to witness the hosts of the show reading the words I wrote!).

I was also placed with the 7 On Your Side investigative team. I shadowed reporters, which meant getting out of the office and watching how they seek out and execute the stories, and then how they put it all together. I also reviewed potential stories about various legal issues people are experiencing in the community and determined which ones were “news worthy” or ethical, etc. It was a great learning experience.

And how did I find this fabulous opportunity? In the fall of 2014, I asked Professor Isaac Pressnell about an internship for the summer. Isaac asked his friend, an executive producer and Emmy winner, George Jackson, about an internship program. Both Isaac and Professor Barbara Mesle provided letters of recommendation, which must have done the trick because I was awarded the internship!

When I was figuring out where I would stay for the summer while working at an unpaid internship, the Community of Christ was a big help. After making some calls and sending a few emails, I came to the doorstep of GU alumnus Ryan Pitt and his wife, Emma, who live in the parsonage of the D.C. Community of Christ, and they happened to have a basement apartment available at an extremely reasonable price! They were very welcoming and helpful. I knew the congregation was all standing behind me and rooting for me to succeed.

Words can’t express how grateful I am for this opportunity and how smoothly it all came together. I have had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember, and Graceland has nurtured that passion and expanded my knowledge and skills. Three years ago, I never would have guessed that I would end up interning in broadcast journalism, or even editing the university newspaper. But the teachers at GU have been so supportive and have encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. I think that is honestly the best thing they could have taught me. I will always be grateful to them for having faith in me even when I didn’t have faith in myself. And look where it landed me! In a city I’ve always dreamed of seeing, interning in a field I never imagined I would love so much.