Living in New York City can be costly, especially for a student there who is working two unpaid internships. That’s why Chenjie Guan, a La Salle University Communication senior, was pleased to learn she received the Association of Communicators in Education’s Communications Internship Award for Students of Color. The award includes a $1,500 stipend, which will help her with expenses in one of the world’s costliest cities.
A native of Guangdong, China, Guan is working at two production internships. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, she works at the Asia Society as an online video intern, and Thursday and Friday for Arts Engine, Inc., a non-profit social documentary production company as a production intern.
Attending college in a foreign country can be daunting, but Guan says, “I think I’m the type of person who is able to adjust to a new environment pretty quickly. There’s no easy way of adjusting to a new life. You just have to tell yourself go do what you want to do, it’s not a big deal,” says Guan, who goes by the nickname Stella.
That same philosophy has been applied to her move to New York City this semester.
“I got the internship from Arts Engine, Inc., first. I started working for them in January, and I mainly do transcribing and logging footage they shoot. I also do research for their upcoming pilot series for PBS. But I felt that I was not getting enough experience like I had hoped for, because I am more interested in the technical side, like editing. Just as I was wondering what other opportunities were available, the Asia Society contacted me and said that they would like me to work for them. I then became the video intern for them a few weeks ago. I was very pleased because I was assigned to edit a trailer for a short documentary on my first day of work.”
“This is exactly the kind of experience I have been looking for,” says Guan.
Her prior experiences have been at K & L Advertising in New York City as an account management intern during the summer of 2010. She then interned at Terry Hines & Associates (now Allied-THA) as a film promotion intern. “I learned a lot from these two intern positions, but they made me realize that my real passion lies in the creative side of television and film rather than the management and promotion side. That’s why I decided to get production experiences before I graduate,” says Guan.
When she started to consider college and future she knew she wanted to study abroad, but the United States was not her first choice.
“To be honest, America was not the first destination in my mind when I decided I wanted to study abroad. Studying in the UK has been my dream ever since I was 11 because I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and the thought of experiencing British culture myself one day pushed me to study English,” says Guan. However, with financial aid in mind, she decided that America might be more realistic.
That’s when she learned she received a Christian Brothers Scholarship, which provides full-tuition support for four years. “Another reason why I chose to attend La Salle is because the University is in Philadelphia, which is a big city that I thought I would love because I never liked living in small towns,” she said.
Guan will return to campus for her graduation in May, and her parents are planning to be there, too.
“I feel very lucky to have very supportive parents. I am their only child and they support whatever I do. I sometimes feel very bad about myself giving them such a huge burden to support my study in America, but they always support me. They miss me a lot, of course, but they are coming to America to attend my graduation in May,” says Guan.
Guan hopes to attend graduate school in South Korea and would like to pursue a film/TV production career there: she says she’s a big fan of Korean drama. Guan’s dream career is to be a film editor for one of her favorite TV shows.
For the Communications Internship Award, Guan had to submit a two-page application form, one recommendation letter from a professor, resumé, cover letter, several multimedia samples and several writing samples to apply for the scholarship
The award will be presented at the Association of Communicators in Education conference luncheon on March 15 at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa. The award recognizes the need to attract more persons of color to communications professions. Internship Award was created by the College and University Public Relations Association of Pennsylvania, a regional professional organization for communicators in higher education. The award is intended to make it financially easier for students of color to obtain valuable internship experience in a communications field. Selection is based upon an applicant’s academic ability, communication skills and creativity as demonstrated through work samples and financial need.