Student Spotlight: Lauren Kubiak Discovers Passion for Journalism at Rowan

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetWhen she first transferred from community college to Rowan University, Lauren Kubiak saw herself as a fiction writer. But after a few journalism courses, she discovered a new passion.

“I was initially a Writing Arts major when I transferred to Rowan, but quickly changed to Journalism because of my interest in the different career options,” said Kubiak. “I’ve really just fallen in love with the field.”

Kubiak, a 23-year-old senior from Mantua, NJ, quickly translated what she was learning in the journalism classroom into freelancing and internships. Kubiak currently freelances for The Retrospect and writes a commuter column for The Whit. She interned for the Delaware River Port Authority and Del Val Media and recently landed an internship at Philadelphia Magazine.

“I love the city so much so it’s been really fun for me to go in and meet all of these people with great ideas that want to see the interns succeed,” said Kubiak.

At Philadelphia Magazine, Kubiak has contributed to the publication by reporting at Philadelphia University and requesting records from the courthouse.

“I feel like it’s definitely broken me out of my shell because there’s a lot of fact checking, talking on the phone with a lot of different people, and pitching my own story ideas to editors,” she said.

Kubiak admits it’s a challenge to balance all of activities, but says that doing what she loves makes it worthwhile.

“I wasn’t sure about balancing my time between freelancing, having an internship, classes and writing for the school paper, but I made it work because I knew it would only help in the future,” she said.

Rowan University Hosts Spring Career and Graduate School Fair on Feb. 21

Rowan University will host its Spring Career and Graduate School Fair on Wednesday, February 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Recreation Center. Over 150 employers and graduate school representatives will attend. Employers such as the Philadelphia Eagles, WHYY Inc., WMCN-TV and The Wyanoke Group may be of particular interest to College of Communications and Creative Arts students. For more information, visit the Career Fairs website.

Sports Broadcaster, Teacher and Author Fulfills Super Bowl Dreams

EdBenkinBookIn recent weeks, Ed Benkin, a sports anchor for KYW and WIP Radio, has seen the fulfillment of two Super Bowl dreams.

The first is the publication of his new book, The First 50 Super Bowls: How Football’s Championships Were Won, which came out at the end of December 2017. Benkin, who teaches a sports broadcasting course at Rowan University and is an almnus, said vintage footage from the 1970s and 80s inspired him to dig deeper into the history of the big game.

The second is that Benkin will travel to Minnesota to cover his first Super Bowl in person. Even though he expects to be working nearly 24/7 in the week leading up to the game, he plans to “soak in the atmosphere” of one of the biggest days of his career.

“It’s kind of hard to top the Super Bowl in almost anything,” said Benkin. “It’s so much more than a football game.”

Follow Benkin’s Eagles Super Bowl coverage on KYW106094WIP and on Twitter @EdBenkin

Rowan alumnus Trymaine Lee named MSNBC correspondent

Congratulations to Rowan alumnus Trymaine Lee (2003), who was recently named as a correspondent at MSNBC. Lee has worked at The New York Times, Huffington Post, and most recently as a national reporter for MSNBC.

Lee was one of several members of The Times-Picayune newspaper to win the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News reporting in 2006 for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

To find out more about Lee, read a Rowan University profile and follow him on Twitter @trymainelee

Alumni Q & A with Ashley Kalena, Manager of YouTube Strategy for National Geographic

Ashley Kalena works as a Manager of YouTube Strategy for National Geographic. She graduated from Rowan University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. In 2008, she earned her Master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

She will participate in a Student Alumni Association event called Sips ‘N’ Tips on Wednesday, November 8 at 6 pm in the Student Center Pit at Rowan University.

Describe your job. What do you do on a daily basis?
I manage YouTube for National Geographic.  Pretty much what that means is that I write and implement the strategy for all three U.S. based channels and then act upon that strategy.  I also run the content development for YouTube, which means at any given time I am working with producers, editors, production companies, and talent to make video content that’s right for the platform.

Can you share some of your work that particularly proud of?
This is going to be very hard to narrow down!  Earlier this year, I executive produced a live aftershow in LA discussing the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots, with live feeds from three locations.  It was hosted by Soledad O’Brien, had 11 guests who all offered different points of view on the conversation:

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Neil deGrasse Tyson multiple times on video projects.  I’ve produced at least 35 videos with him.  I’ve even been in a few with him!  Including this one, where I played the game Heads Up with him.

In June of this year, I hosted and co-hosted two lives from Napa Valley for Get Outdoors Day.  I was also the Executive Producer on these shows as well.  It was a really cool experience.  I put volcanic ash on my face for all to see!

What is one thing you love about your current job?
I am very creative and very organized.  My job calls for both these traits so I’m constantly being pushed to challenge myself in new ways.

What is one of the biggest challenges of your current job?
One of the biggest challenges I face is not being able to control resources or budget – this comes from above me.  So, I always have to get creative with how to spend the money I do have and make use of the people around me in the best possible way, because they are great resources too.

Briefly explain how you arrived at this point in your career — from Rowan University to the present?
During my last year at Rowan, the broadcast specialization was added, and I quickly realized this was the area I wanted to pursue.  I took as many classes as I could that year to prepare myself.  Since Rowan didn’t offer a graduate program at the time for broadcast journalism, I applied elsewhere and got accepted to Syracuse University.  I received my M.S. from the Newhouse School.  From there, I got offered a job in Washington DC, at Travel Channel, where I worked for two years.  I then took a position at National Geographic, where I’ve been for over seven years, in various roles.

What advice do you have for aspiring journalists studying at Rowan University?
There is not set path for journalists.  Storytelling can exist in many forms and on many platforms. You have to be able to adapt with technology and trends, while still staying true to yourself, your integrity and your journalistic intuition – those skills will apply to whatever role you find yourself in.

Student Spotlight: Mavish Khan – From Biology to Broadcasting

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Mavish Kahn outside of the White House for her On-Camera Field Reporting course.

By Lauren Kubiak

Mavish Khan spent her first few years at Rowan University exploring different career paths. She started as a biology major, but quickly realized it wasn’t for her. Next, she followed the influence of her father and switched to accounting.

But it was through extracurricular activities like The Whit, Rowan Television Network, and Rowan Radio, that Khan found her real passion: journalism.

Khan, a 21-year-old senior from Cherry Hill, will graduate in May with a major in journalism, a minor in political science, and a specialization in international studies. Khan said that the journalism courses have taught her to work across different media platforms, but also challenged her to take risks.

“This is a changing field and if anything, we should experiment with telling stories using technology we have never used,” she said.

She has also built an impressive resume of internships in production at SNJ Today, in communications at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and as a junior reporter for Fox 29. After graduating, Khan hopes to work for an online media company, behind the scenes on a TV set, or any job that will allow her to travel.

“In the end I want to be telling stories that really make people think and bring awareness to things going on in the world,” said Khan.