In December 2020, Emily Gibbs JMS’17 moved across the country and took a new job as co-host of “Living Dayton,” a one-hour lifestyle program on WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio. She credits her SC&I education for preparing her to take on the role and fellow SC&I alumna Julia Palazzo JMS’16 for alerting her about the job opening.
Emily shared the story of her success with SC&I, noting, “Rutgers University was precisely where I was supposed to end up, even though I was very hesitant in the beginning. As a freshman, I was nervous about getting lost in the shuffle. Boy, was I wrong! As soon as I started taking classes at SC&I and getting involved in the organizations I was passionate about, Rutgers was one of my best decisions.”
SC&I: Tell us about some of the professors that had an impact on your education and experience.
EG: I would like to highlight Teaching Instructor of Professional Practice of Journalism and Media Studies Neal Bennett. I took a video editing/specialty camera studio course with him that provided me with hands-on experience. He would bring in high-tech, advanced equipment that I would later use in my reporting job. His experience in the industry was a great resource! He explained everything very thoroughly and gave me new perspectives all the time. Every time I would shoot something as a reporter, I would think, ‘How would Neal do this?’
Professor of Professional Practice Steve Miller is also a great resource! He never hesitated to offer helpful advice when it came to reaching my career goals. Every time I hit a roadblock, I would contact Steve. His advice, “Always trust your gut,” is something that I take with me everywhere I go. He is so supportive! When fellow SC&I alumna Julia Palazzo JMS’17 and I told him about our networking, he was ecstatic. There is nothing like the Rutgers journalism alum network, and it all starts with Steve Miller. He’s the center of it all!
SC&I: Outside of classwork, what other experience at SC&I and Rutgers helped you hone your skills and build your résumé?
EG: I owe a lot of my success to both RU-tv and 88.7 FM Rutgers Radio! They both provided me with a platform to practice the skills I learned in class, ultimately helping to grow my real-world confidence.
Applying to a lifestyle co-hosting position and saying that I’ve already done it before was incredible. RU-tv’s ‘Wake Up Rutgers’ is similar to what I am doing now, but of course, on a much smaller scale. I learned so much from both the control room and the studio that helped me get to where I am today. I also have to give credit to the RU-tv Living-Learning Community—living on the same floor as the studio and across from the station put me at such an advantage. I could walk across the street and work on my shooting and editing skills. I can’t say enough about this fantastic program!
WRSU helped hone my speaking skills. I will never forget the day I was given a time slot to produce and host my own news broadcast. It is something I will forever cherish. I worked my way up from chiming in once in a while to controlling my show. I was able to work on my news writing skills as well as my voice and reporting. I remember when Broadcast Administrator and SC&I instructor Mike Pavlichko sent me out to interview people on the streets about an important university topic. I was so nervous; it pushed me out of my comfort zone, but my confidence soared after that. It was great practice for the real world.
SC&I: Tell us about your career journey and how a fellow alumna helped with an opportunity.
EG: In May of 2017, I graduated from Rutgers and took a job in Greenville, North Carolina. I began my career as a multimedia journalist, reporting the news Tuesday through Saturday. After doing that for a year, I realized that I preferred positive, uplifting stories instead of hard news. So I decided to transfer stations (within the same company) to Providence, Rhode Island, and take on a producer role for the lifestyle show, “The Rhode Show.” I had never wanted to be behind the camera, but I figured this was a good chance to explore a different niche in the same industry. Fast-forward two years. I became more confident in my writing as a producer and kick-started a digital series where I would report on a fun, light-hearted piece once a week. When my contract came to an end, I wanted to get back in front of the camera full time. I applied to every lifestyle hosting position across the country and had no luck. Just as I was about to throw in the towel, my former RU-tv colleague Julia Palazzo called to tell me that “Living Dayton” had an opening for a co-host and that I should apply ASAP!
Formally the show’s co-host, Julia, said she would talk to the team and put in a good word for me. Well, thank goodness for Rutgers and RU-tv for connecting me to Julia because I got a call about a month later with an offer. Now I am doing my dream job co-hosting a lifestyle show, something I never thought I could do just a few years after graduating. Connections are everything!
SC&I: What advice would you give current students to help them make the most of their time at SC&I or to seniors entering the workforce?
EG: My advice for current students is to be adventurous. When you leave the classroom, keep learning. Rutgers has an endless amount of resources to help you prep for your future career. Take advantage of the clubs and organizations; they will help you find what you’re truly passionate about. I had never considered giving radio a try before college. I went to a meeting, signed up, ended up loving every minute of it, and met many people who shared the same interests.
For graduating seniors, my advice is to dare to dream! It sounds cliché, but it is so true. I took a risk moving to North Carolina and wasn’t happy, so I moved on. I gave producing a try, but it wasn’t really my passion, so I moved on. Now four years out of college, I’m in my third job, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I wouldn’t have made it here if I didn’t take risks along the way.
I moved to Ohio for Living Dayton in November 2020 during the pandemic spike. I was most definitely concerned, but I pushed my fears aside to go after my dreams. Sure it’s not like any other move I made; there were many precautions in place that made it more challenging, but I took a chance, and I’m here doing what I love! If you’d like to chat with me about taking a new job in a new state in a pandemic, I am here. I will help you in any way I possibly can! Rutgers alumni stick together.