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Scripps' exclusive 'Today Show' internships enriching student experiences

Tony Sylvester | Jun 20, 2011

Scripps’ exclusive ‘Today’ show internships enriching student experiences

Six 2011-2012 interns, four alternates selected

The Scripps College of Communication Today Show interns for 2010-2012 include, clockwise from top left, Nadine Ajaka, Kelsey Borza, Andrew Fowler, Max Long, Ugonaa Okpalaoka and Graylyn Roose. / Photo by Christina BairdBy Tony Sylvester,tonymsylvester@gmail.com

RIGHT: The Scripps College of Communication “Today”
show interns for 2010-2012 include, clockwise from top left, Nadine Ajaka, Kelsey Borza, Andrew Fowler, Max Long, Ugonna Okpalaoka and Graylyn Roose. / Photos by Christina Baird

BELOW: 2010-2011 alternates for the Scripps College “Today” show internship program are; clockwise from top left: Annie Farinella, Russell Morrow, Brooke Selis and Alanna Martella.

ATHENS, Ohio (June 20, 2011)—The 2011-2012 student interns and alternates for one of the Scripps College’s most coveted exclusive internship programs at the “Today” show have been selected.

Scripps Alumni and Internship Coordinator Tina Stewart said the process was rewarding because this year’s pool of applicants was so strong.

“It’s been an amazing year altogether,” said Stewart. “The students were academically outstanding and had done their research. The finalists are also student leaders within the Scripps College.”

The six interns include Nadine Ajaka, Graylyn Roose, Kelsey Borza, Ugonna Okpalaoka, Max Long and Andrew Fowler. Two will intern each quarter. The four individuals selected as alternates were Annie Farinella, Alanna Martella, Russell Morrow and Brooke Selis.

Alumnus Matt Lauer, BSC ’97, established the internship program for Ohio University Scripps students more than ten years ago. The program has grown from three interns a year to six.

While with the “Today” show, Scripps students earn hands-on experience in television production, broadcast journalism, research and a variety of other tasks.

Stewart said that the program has become a recruitment tool for the Scripps College and that many students come in as freshmen with their eye on the opportunity

These kids grow up watching the ‘Today’ show,” she said. “Some of those chosen came here for this specific internship opportunity.“

The interns each receive a stipend, a travel voucher and the opportunity to meet with Lauer during the internship.

“For them to be apart of it is a dream come true,” said Stewart. “[These students were] the best Scripps College had to offer, and I’m pleased with our selections.”

Brief biographies on each of the ten students follow.

Fall interns

Nadine Ajaka is a Broadcast Journalism and Global Studies, Africa Major. She was interested in this internship because it will give the experience she needs to pursue journalism on a grander scale. “I've never had experience broadcasting to a national audience, and I think it will look very different than the other experiences I've had where news has been mostly local,” said Ajaka. When Ajaka received the news that she was selected to be a fall intern, she was ecstatic to know that she’ll be spending her 2011 Fall Quarter in New York City working for the award-winning morning news program. “I've been walking on air all week!” In addition to journalism, Ajaka’s interests are diverse. She’ll be going to Kenya this summer with the Foundation for Sustainable Development to pursue volunteer work in grassroots development. Additionally, she is a competitor on the Forensics team, which has recently been ranked fifth in the nation. “[Forensics] is one of my biggest passions,” said Ajaka.

Graylyn Roose is a junior Carr Van Anda Journalism major. She is pursuing a degree in broadcast, online and international journalism. “I hope to work as a foreign correspondent and/or producer in radio or television,” said Roose. “I am excited to have this opportunity to learn about all aspects of the ‘Today’ show.” Graylyn looks forward to the opportunity to fine tune her skills while interning this fall.

Winter Interns

Kelsey Borza’s career interests have been focused around journalism since she was in middle school when she first started watching the “Today” show. “I have wanted to be a reporter since sixth grade,” said Borza. She is excited to begin the internship for the exposure to many types of journalism, and not simply hard and local news. When Borza found out she would be interning at the “Today” show, it solidified her decision to study journalism at Scripps. “It is honestly a dream come true for me. I came to OU because of our strong ties with ‘Today’ and Matt Lauer, and I feel like the past three years of college have finally paid off for me,” she said. Borza spends a lot of her time working for WOUB, but when she “isn’t living at WOUB,” she loves to go snowboarding and wakeboarding.

Ugonna Okpalaoka declared broadcast journalism as her major last year. Her professional interests motivated her to apply for the “Today” show internship. After graduation, she wants to be a news producer and use her skills in multimedia production. She applied for this internship simply because she knew it would be an amazing opportunity. “I’ve heard great things from past interns, and I’m excited to learn from professionals in the field and meet new people,” she said. Okpalaoka is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and is involved in Athens Video Works Productions and the Association of Nigerians. She also does freelance video work.

Spring Interns

Max Long is a junior video production major and looks forward to the opportunity to learn exactly what goes into creating a daily program. Long has served as a show creator, head writer and executive producer for Athens Video Works. He has also interned for Waycross Community Media in Cincinnati, served as a production assistant for the Journal of Short Film and won honorable mention in the Campus Movie Fest last winter.

Andrew Fowler, an Ohio University Templeton Scholar, came from St. Louis, Mo. to study broadcast journalism. Fowler’s career goals are to work as an anchor or news reporter for a national news network. For Andrew, this internship is the experience he needs to understand how national networks work. “When people ask me what my dream job is, I honestly say working on the ‘Today’ show,” said Fowler. This opportunity has Fowler excited to gain more clarity in terms of where he wants his career to be. Fowler won a National Newspaper Award for a 2008 feature piece that he wrote for The St. Louis American, where he interned for two years and continues to work as a freelancer. This summer he will intern with the NBC affiliate station in St. Louis, KSDK-TV.

2010-2011 alternates for the Scripps College 'Today' show internship program are; clockwise from top left: Annie Farinella, Russell Morrow, Brooke Selis and Alanna Martella. / Photo by Christina BairdAlternates

Annie Farinella is a communication studies major and has career interests in organizational communication, human resources, social media strategy and journalism. Farinella applied for this internship to gain more industry experience. “The ‘Today’ internship would give me experience that I cannot get inside the classroom,” said Farinella. “To be recognized and considered for such a prestigious internship is a wonderful feeling.” Annie has talents outside communication, as she has demonstrated her performance abilities by playing the piano, singing and public speaking competitions.

Alanna Martella is a sophomore broadcast journalism major and has had an interest in current events since she was young. As a senior in high school, Martella was given a life changing opportunity. Due to a serious illness, Martella qualified as a wish recipient by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Her wish? To visit the “Today” show studios. “When I visited, I loved the energy of the show and the way the cast interacted with each other and with the producers and crew members,” said Martella. Since her visit, Martella set her goal on going back. Martella will intern for Channel 12 News in Cincinnati this summer while volunteering for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Russell Morrow is a video production major, with a twist. “Unlike many video production majors, I don’t want to go to Hollywood for movies,” said Morrow. “I would much rather be working in live television.” While Morrow is currently an alternate for the program, he is glad to have a chance at the internship. “No matter what I’d be doing, it would still be a way for me to get my foot in the door.” When Morrow is not busy working on videos, he serves as a leader in co-curricular organizations and enjoys sports and music.

Brooke Selis has been intrigued by journalism since childhood and hopes to become a reporter or news anchor. Currently, Selis interns for Channel 4 News in Detroit, an NBC affiliate. “The knowledge I have gained through working at various news stations is irreplaceable,” said Selis. Selis is a member of the Ohio University Crew Team. She also enjoys traveling and has been to 18 countries.