News & Events

Latest News

Aug 22, 2014

Two summers with 'Conan' produce appreciation, love, respect

This is the 15th and final in a series about College of Communications students completing summer internships. In this installment, a first-person piece with an accompanying video crafted in true "Conan" style, senior advertising major Aidan Zordich from Youngstown, Ohio, writes about her experience the past two summers.


How a bowl of Trix changed my life

One night, after a full day of fall classes, I curled up on my couch with a bowl of Trix to watch “Conan.” During act one, Conan launched the Audience Plus One contest -- one lucky winner would appear "live" (virtually) on the show.

I (literally) jumped up and got busy on my 10-second clip. After winning, thanks to my insane family and friends, I soon found myself hearing terms like “mic’d up,” “sound check,” and “from the top” while getting ready for my appearance.

Chris Hayes, the show’s IT director, was so great. The first rehearsal was in my tiny, shoebox room in State College. We had zero Wi-Fi and had to scrap it. Usually, that means the entire skit is scrapped for good, but the next day, he called and said, "I can't believe it, but we're on!"

Not chancing it, I raced home out Interstate 80 to Youngstown in time for the first run-through. With my fingers crossed and a 40-foot Ethernet cord, the show went on. It was a full day of production and, by the end, I was hooked.

I think Hayes could tell I was loving it, and during down time he told me about the show's summer internship program.

My first year, I was a general production intern. We did anything and everything "Conan." We spent the days on our toes and Marie Weber, our coordinator, was great at keeping it fast-paced and fun.

Leaving Burbank, California, and the show last summer was hard, but I was only going into my junior year at Penn State. With a shift toward production, I sat down with my adviser, Shelley Vukman, to add a few film production classes to my curriculum -- all steps to make myself better prepared to apply for a second internship at "Conan."

Aidan Zordich Conan resumeThis time, I built a website so I could incorporate some of my film work. I also had fun with my updated resume and cards [Eds. Note: Crafted in a "Conan" theme. (Photo)], but I think the bags of Flipz I added to the package really got me the job.

Nick Centofante, the office coordinator, contacted me about applying as a monologue intern.

In that position, we comb through daily papers, sites and feeds to find outrageousness. From there, the writers twist that general info into their hilarious jokes. Being a small part of that process this summer and getting to see the writers’ material come together was so cool!

What I found through my internships at “Conan” is a love for TV, an appreciation for humor and a respect for talent. There is a beginning and end to each day, and at “Conan” you get to see your days work on national television! It's magical -- kind of like Trix!

Aug 22, 2014

Communications contingent ready for Croke Park Classic, hands-on opportunities

A nine-day working trip covering the Croke Park Classic blends educational opportunities and real-life experiences for a group of communications students.

Aug 21, 2014

Communications alumni drive Emmy nominations for WPSU

Numerous College of Communications alumni played integral roles in programs produced by Penn State Public Media that recently earned Mid-Atlantic Emmy nominations.

Six programs produced by the University-licensed PBS affiliate earned nominations, with eight alumni and one instructor from the College of Communications a large part of that success. The regional awards coordinated by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognize local productions for excellence in TV programming and individual achievment.

Communications alumni who were part of the Penn State Public Media nominations were:

  • associate producer Patrick Baxter, a 2008 media studies master’s degree recipient, for “Water Blues, Green Solutions”;
  • producer Whitney Chirdon, a 2000 media studies graduate, for “Our Town”;
  • editor Cole Cullen, who earned his broadcast-cable degree in 1996, for “Water Blues, Green Solutions”;
  • audio mixer Michael Klein, a 2002 film-video graduate, who worked on “Music Theatre Spotlight 2013” and “Penn State Football: The Next Chapter”;
  • associate producer DaVita Miles, a 2010 film-video graduate, for “Penn Staet Football: The Next Chapter”;
  • associate producer Shade Olasimbo, who earned her journalism degree in 2012, for “Penn State Football: The Next Chapter”;
  • photographer Mark Stitzer, a 2002 film-video graduate, for “Water Blues, Green Solutions”; and
  • videographer William Wallace, who earned his journalism degree in 1976, for “Our Town.”

College of Communications instructor Topher Yorks, who earned his Penn State degree from the College of Arts & Architecture in 1999, was the lead producer for “Penn State Football: The Next Chapter” and Jen Bortz, who earned her Penn State degree from the College of the Liberal Arts in 1992, was the show's audio mixer.

Winners will be named at the 32nd annual Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards, scheduled Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Philadelphia Hilton on City Avenue in Philadelphia. The Mid-Atlantic chapter represents Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and parts of West Virginia and Ohio.

Aug 21, 2014

Post-graduate internship helpful for recent graduate

This is the 14th in a series about College of Communications students completing summer internships.

It has been a summer filled with passion and projects for Brodney Nicol.

Nicol, a 2014 graduate who majored in broadcast journalism, has completed his post-graduate summer internship with Zodiak Productions. 

Nicol, from Astoria Queens, New York, assisted production managers and department supervisors, helped with daily projects with production staff coordinators, distributed incoming documents, and completed time coding, script editing, screening edits, editing transcripts and logging cue sheets.

“I would say the most rewarding part of my internship would be actually being surrounded by professionals that have a passion for what they do," Nicol said. "Being able to have the chance to go out into the field and get a taste of what I would be getting into within the production world of television was great. Learning everything there is to know from doing small work to doing big work such as going out in the field and assisting with the casting directors, was important. Even small things, such as running delivery errands to the TruTv headquarters, were helpful.”

Nicol’s internship also allowed him to broaden his skill set.

“I would say one of most challenging parts of the internship was when it came down to editing videos on a system that I've never used before," he said. "It wasn't so much new to me when it came to editing video, but using a program that I've never done before made it more challenging."

Nicol was also able to assist a casting director with filming a new show.

“They were looking for a spacious and luxury location for a filming of a the show. For a full week I got to help out during the filming and throw in a couple ideas on what they could do with a few scenes, assist with the equipment and observe just how some of the coordinators instructed the cast on their roles and exactly what their character does,” said Nicol. “I must say it was pretty interesting to be around a full set for a week and just take in everything that they were doing. Not only that, but at times we got to go inside the studio and watch how they pull out the videos and transition everything into one full length episode. The whole process is entertaining and fun, but a lot of hard work to put it all into one whole production.”

-- Mary Elder

Internship Series: Prevous Stories

Aug 20, 2014

Internship helps student build experience in many ways

Haley AltusThis is the 13th in a series about College of Communications students completing summer internships.

Thanks to a communications-related internship with a construction company, one Penn State student is already building the skills necessary for a strong career.

Haley Altus worked for IMC Construction in the company’s marketing and public relations office this summer.

IMC Construction, a national firm firm that has served clients since 1976, offers project management and a range of related services for its clients. Among its many projects this summer was a major project at King of Prussia mall.

For Altus, a public relations major from Media, Pennsylvania, the company offered the chance to get important hands-on experience.

During the internship, she updated brochures IMC sends to potential clients. She also compiled photos and conducted research about previous company projects. In addition, Altus helped with the company’s social media presence, getting valuable experience as the person in charge of IMC’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts.

Internship Series: Previous Stories

Aug 19, 2014

Experience about more than student's eventual career at CHOP

This is the 12th in a series about College of Communications students completing summer internships.

Most summer internships help college students prepare for an eventual career, but Jennifer Sosna’s work as a media programs intern at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was about more than just her future the past few months.

Sosna, a senior majoring in media studies and focusing on film and television studies, worked closely with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) and its broadcast media initiative at CHOP. The foundation builds broadcast media centers, named Seacrest Studios, within pediatric hospitals for patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media. RSF’s aim is to contribute positively to the healing process for children and their families during their stay by developing these centers to bring an uplifting spirit to the hospital community. 

For Sosna, from Abington, Maryland, that has meant an applicable and enjoyable internship. While she gets a first-hand look at the power of media and particularly television -- focusing on CHOP’s closed-network TV station, Galaxy 51 -- she also makes every day better for patients and their families.

“Helping kids forget that they’re in a hospital and have fun is rewarding. I love seeing kids come into our studio and help us host the game shows and DJ our Countdown,” Sosna said. “It’s great when they create new personalities for themselves and get into the theatrics of it all. The most rewarding part is when I’ll have parents and family members come up to me and thank me for having their children there.”

Programming allows children and staff to watch, listen and play from the hospital bedside or work in the multimedia studio the hospital atrium. Patients are also encouraged to work in Galaxy 51 to create and produce their very own projects, such as video diaries to music videos.

While Sosna finds her internship to be rewarding, it had its share of challenges.

“Every day we have a radio show, called The Countdown, for the kids where we come up with a theme for the show and we play songs that go along with it,” she said. “The most challenging part would be creating the song list for these shows because they need to be screened for not only bad words, but also for religious, alcohol, drug, illness and death references. It doesn't sound too hard until you start looking for songs. Some seemingly harmless songs have to be edited for content.”

Along with regular programing, Seacrest Studios also brings in celebrity guests. During those visits, children have the opportunity to get autographs, interview guests and take. Guests to the studio this summer included Kelly Clarkson, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift.

Intern Series: Previous Stories

More News