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Meet Our Class of 2020

     

 

Alana Walker

Grinnell College

Graduation Year: 2022

Category:
Development
(Animation)

Company:
The Jim Henson Company

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
When I was in high school I visited Pixar Animation Studios and I viewed the artwork that was produced as Pixar created Coco and The Incredibles 2. I saw all the clay models and drawings created to construct the worlds the characters existed within. Afterward, I decided that I wanted to become an artist for animated project.

Skylar Van Tilburg

University of Oregon

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
PR/Publicity

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Television has allowed me to learn about the world through visual stories. Growing up in a rural town in Oregon, television shows provided opportunities to learn about different cultures and listen to a variety of stories. I have known I wanted to work in the television industry since I was young, and Nina Barone, a Television Academy Foundation alumnus, inspired me to pursue this dream.

Akhil Vaidya

University of Pennsylvania

Graduation Year: 2022

Category:
Development (Unscripted)

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
My TV obsession began when I was much younger, and I credit the cartoons and children's entertainment I watched with sparking my interest in the television industry. As I have grown older, it is the queer and POC creators of modern television that have inspired me to follow through and pursue a career in television. These stories have meant so much to me as I have grown up, and I hope to have a career that helps these types of stories come to life on television.

Ayline Rebollo

University of California -
Santa Barbara

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
News (Entertainment)

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Growing up, I remember one of my favorite things to do with my parents was watch Spanish television. I would watch in awe at the telenovelas and reality programming, until my parents suggested it as a career to me one day. I immediately fell in love with the idea.

Noa Neubia

Norfolk State University

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
PR/Publicity

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I was inspired to pursue a career in television at a very young age. I was infatuated by award shows! Award shows like Black Girls Rock, the BET awards, the Emmys and the Oscars, all blew me away. I always wanted to know what went into running such a grand event. As I got older I decided television was for me!

Kevin Johnson

Howard University

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
Development
(Scripted Series)

Company:
Act 111 Productions

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I'd never thought about a career in entertainment until winning a middle school talent show with a comedy routine. It was then that I understood why humans have been sharing stories since the dawn of time; to connect with and move others. Television grants storytellers that same fulfillment, while reaching even larger audiences.

Kellynn Beasley

Georgia State University

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
Development
(Scripted Series)

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
As a child, I used to play with my dolls and film them as if they were on their own TV show. In middle and high school, I developed my talent for writing and eventually discovered the behind the scenes world of film and television. I saw that I could make a career out of writing and film/television as a scriptwriter, and the rest is history!

Cheyenne Cobb

University of California –
Los Angeles

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Development
(Children's Programming)

Company:
Moonbug Entertainment

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
About a year ago during a committee meeting for the nonprofit board I serve on, Foster Nation, another member pitched an idea to have actress Tiffany Haddish come to support one of our events as she was a very active foster youth advocate and former foster youth herself. In the past few years I have taken up videography as a skill and have taught myself how to use Premiere Pro, inspired by former foster youth in media like Tiffany Haddish that further pave a way for other youth like myself to enter the entertainment industry. I also felt there was a lack of representation of former foster youth on the production and directing side of television and felt my insight could be valuable.

Alana Delostrino

California State University – Fullerton

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Development
(Unscripted)

Company:
Endemol Shine

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
When I was 11 years old, I discovered Saturday Night Live and all of the women that have made it so great over the years. Seeing women like Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Kristen Wiig generate such entertaining and hilarious skits and characters, then go on to create even better film and television is inspiring.

Kevin Ung

University of Southern California

Graduation Year: 2022

Category:
Star Trek Command Training Program

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I remember my father telling me that 'people like us can't work in Hollywood because of the way we look'. That stuck with me my whole life, and I grew up thinking that perhaps he was right, since I never saw anyone like us on TV. The fact that I'm now in a position that will hopefully lead to a career in TV means that my father will be proved wrong in the best way possible.

Grace Dumdaw

Swarthmore College

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
Agency

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Television and media have either sourced or promoted of many of the most defining cultural moments of the past few generations. Instead of only being an observer, I want to take matters into my own hands and have a significant role in creating content that tell the stories that have historically been unheard of overlooked while maintaining a level of entertainment.

Adara Young

California State University –
Long Beach

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Development
(Unscripted)

Company:
44 Blue Productions

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Shonda Rhimes is my spirit animal and I have been watching her shows with my grandmother since I was 8 years old. I absolutely love how she has created the Grey's Anatomy universe and has kept it interesting enough to where 16 seasons later there's a spinoff. Being immersed in her world of drama has inspired me to want to create my own.

Grayson Fisher

University of North Carolina - School of the Arts

Graduation Year: 2022

Category:
Design
(Art Direction/Set Decoration)

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
My professor, Bob Keen, singlehandedly praises television the most out of anyone I know. His interest in television's workflow has undoubtedly inspired me to try television as a career. There are more work opportunities in television than in feature films, and companies like HBO show that television is no "less than" major motion pictures.

Noni Bell

Northwestern University

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Development
(Scripted Series)

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I used to think that I was going to mainly focus on film, but taking courses on television writing at Northwestern such as Working in the Writer's Room and Formulaic Television made me look at the medium of television differently. These courses helped me gain a better appreciation for television as an institution and storytelling medium. I'm excited to grow as an artist within television!

Natasha Berrios Laguerre

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
News (Broadcast)

 

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
One day in high school I was forced to go to a career fair. I didn't want to go because I was certain that I wanted to be an architect. There was a reporter at the news booth that somehow with her words convince me to change my career to become a storyteller. I will never forget her name cause she has done a big change in my life. Her name is Leyla Santiago from CNN. At the time when I met her she was from a local news channel. She has been my role model ever since.

Leo Kelly

New York University

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Development
(Children's Programming)

Company:
Moonbug Entertainment

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Elmo was my first word! I've wanted to write for kids since I was a kid and that's all thanks to the amazing programming I was raised on. I'm grateful to my parents for letting me immerse in the digital world (within limits) because it taught me that my imagination is my greatest strength. Now I hope I'll be able to make shows that inspire the next generation and continue the cycle.

Kailah Christopher

Towson University

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Production
(Movies for Television)

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Growing up, watching television was a big part of my life, however, it was hard to relate to characters as a young, black female in many of my favorite shows. Soon, I began drawing comics and writing stories including diverse characters and experiences that were underrepresented in media. While in my high school's medical academy program, I took a class specializing in Television, and learned that I can make this into a career in the industry! Shonda Rhimes, Charles S. Dutton, Lena Waithe, Jordan Peele, and Gina Prince-Bythewood are just some of the people who have inspired me over the years.

Pubali Ghosh

Savannah College of Art and Design

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Casting

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I love a good story, one with risk, fully fleshed out character development and one that leaves me speechless by the end. Television to me gives the story enough time to grow and and fully encompass all of those aspects. I hope to one day create television that tells complex stories in a unique way.

 

Nicole Auringer

Texas State University

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Sound

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Going into audio engineering, I never thought about it being a male-dominated industry, it was just something I loved to do. But now knowing and experiencing it, I am looking forward to making a name for myself in this world.

Jemeiya Bonner

Howard University

Graduation Year: 2022

Category:
Development
(Scripted Series)

 

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I can confidently say that Kerry Washington inspired me to seek a career in television. Through Washington, I was not only introduced to more complex storytelling (as I was in middle school when I began watching Scandal) but Washington also released a short online series introducing those behind the scenes and their everyday tasks. As I was already interested in a career in film/television, this series lit a fire and helped hone my goal.

Cindy Chen

The Pennsylvania State University

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
Editing

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I was inspired by the stories of the creators, show runners, producers, directors, cast and crew of the shows I loved. Their creativity, passion and determination for storytelling changed my life and they are the inspiration behind my dreams of working in television.

Sydney Reyes

Purdue University

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Editing

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I have always loved being a part of a creative team. I love shaping a story through editing. But now I would love to get a job in television to change how race is viewed and shown in the media for the better. The representation we currently have is not acceptable.

 

Daysha Veronica

University of California – Los Angeles

Graduation Year: 2021

Category:
Development
(Scripted Series)

Company:
Valhalla Entertainment

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Hands down: Shonda Rhimes. Shonda's shows really changed the landscape for what kind of stories could be told and who could be the ones telling those stories. Issa Rae is also another black woman who has inspired my passion for television. I love that she displays black life without making it feel like a PSA.

Christian Alexander

Washington University in St. Louis

Graduation Year: 2023

Category:
Development
(Children's Programming)

Company:
Moonbug Entertainment

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
In my eyes, television is the most transformative and innovative medium of storytelling that's out there. My AP English Language teacher in high school inspired me to dig deep to understand what goes into a good story--comparable to the ingredients a chef uses while cooking. My AP English Literature teacher motivated me to notice and draw the thematic connections and points of interest within and between stories. These two teachers in particular provided me with a deep interest in storytelling and fiction, which naturally led to my interest in seeking a career in television.

Atieh Bandehyazdani

California State University - Northridge

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Physical Production/ Business Management

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
The ability of media to capture the truth of human nature, relationships, and human sensitivity intrigued me from an early age. If I could choose one medium to use as a universal form of communication, one with the power to provoke and unite the people, I would choose Television. To me, Television, as the most accessible and internationally viewed medium, subtly raises awareness and addresses controversial issues effectively. TV provides entertainment and the excitement that people so greatly desire and find infinitely fascinating infusing the stories that need to be heard with a greater sense of purpose.

Luis Zuniga

California State University -
Long Beach

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Development/Production
(Unscripted)

Company:
Bunim-Murray Productions

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I discovered television production my first year of college. I was immediately fascinated by the amount of hard work put into a television product and I knew I had to be a part of it.

Angela Young

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Corporate Social Responsibility

Company:
The Walt Disney Company

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
Initially, I was inspired to pursue a career in music because during my time navigating through the foster care system, music was my source of inspiration and comfort. Throughout my journey through higher education, I have realized there are many people who are talented, intelligent, and more than capable to achieve everything they've ever dreamed of, but do not have the support and opportunities needed to get to where they want to be. Once I heard that the Television Academy was hosting a CSR category, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to use my personal experiences to advocate for others.

Claire Ross

Pace University

Graduation Year: 2020

Category:
Choreography

 

What inspired you to seek a career in television?
I have always been interested in dance on camera. Growing up I always marveled at any dance TV show and dreamt of being a part of that process. I’ve been very lucky to have met some of those individuals who create the content I was so influenced and energized by. It is those individuals that have greatly inspired me to seek a career in television, and have made me feel like this career path is tangible.

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