Senior broadcast journalism major and minor in broadcast management Shauna Beni always knew she wanted to pursue broadcast journalism.
“It’s funny because in high school, when we had to create videos for certain projects, I would dress up as a news anchor and act like one,” she said.
Beni knew she wanted to attend a SUNY school, and her guidance counselor recommended Plattsburgh State.
“Coming from New York City, it’s a culturally diverse and driven place,” she said. “Coming into Plattsburgh was a huge culture shock for me, but I think it actually helped me grow and take on more.”
Since then, Beni took advantage of all the opportunities offered for her major. She has been a news anchor for PSTV for two shows: News Briefs and News Flash. As soon as she started, she said she knew it was what she had been wanting to do.
“It also gave me a lot of experience being in front of a camera for the first time coming in as a freshman and sophomore and working as an anchor,” she said.
Beni also became the social media director of PSTV, which has allowed her to see how the station runs on a daily basis, as well as to help promote PSTV. Besides being heavily involved in her major, Beni was also the Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists, where she was able to attend the NABJ conference and meet reporters from different news outlets. She also interned for Barney’s this past summer as a digital marketing intern and became a CURLS campus representative for a hair product line. Beni was also the president of the PSUC KINKS, which promotes natural hair.
“That was like my baby. I loved KINKS so much,” Beni said.
KINKS was the first club Beni joined during her freshmen year, and she said the club allowed her to see diversity on campus that she was accustomed to in the city. The club allowed her to make her first friends and feel at home.
Senior public relations major and minor in English and journalism Tanicha Miranda said she met Beni during her freshman year, but got to know her more when she joined KINKS.
“My first impression of her was that she was super jolly and happy,” Miranda said. “She has this big curly hair, and she was really nice.”
From there, they grew close because they were both members of the eboard. They became closer because they shared classes together.
“What I really liked about her is that she likes to get things done. She doesn’t like last minute,” she said. “I see her going many places. I told her that I’m going to turn on my flat screen one day and see her doing the news. She’s motivated. I do see her being very successful in the future.”
Beni had to stop being the president of KINKS this semester because she was offered an internship with New York 1. Beni applied for a learning grant after hearing about it from Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman. She got the grant and was able to have her travel expenses paid for while going back and forth from the city.
“Every weekend, I got to cover and report real life news events, so I got to cover a lot of news on Trump before the election,” she said.
She said she got to see him in person while covering events in front of the Trump Tower. She said she’s also been able to attend several protests after the election, including New York University’s protest. Beni said it was interesting to use both PSTV and NY1 to get get hands on experiences.
“I always knew reporters had to go out and work in the field. My strength is communication. I enjoy talking to people and engaging in hot topics,” she said. “What I didn’t know was the hands on part, like carrying the equipment everywhere you go, and then having to be out all day long. It didn’t change my mind though— I love it still.”
Beni said someone she looks up to is Robin Roberts from Good Morning America. She said she hopes to follow in her footsteps as well.
“She started off just like me, and worked her way to becoming a reporter after school and just kept working her way up,” she said. “I just love her enthusiasm and the way she reports.”
Communications associate professor Kirsten Isgro has had Beni in a number of her classes and said Beni is someone who came off as poised and professional from the moment she met her.
“There’s a certain level of commitment, ambition and focus that I don’t typically see in a lot of undergraduates,” Isgro said.
Isgro then offered Beni a teaching assistant position for her business and professional communication class and said she saw Beni being a natural leader.
“I think it points to her being extraordinary. She has been very wise and diplomatic about what she does get involved in,” she said. “Her leadership style is particularly diplomatic.”
Isgro said she’s going to miss Beni after she graduates, but she also sees a bright future ahead for Beni.
“She’s committed to being a newscaster,” she said. “There are some really great role models of black women in this industry, and I can see her being in the next generation of that.”
Beni has also been a Resident Assistant in Hood Hall. During her freshmen year, she said she felt like she didn’t get the RA that she had hoped for. While her friends had a “big brother” and “big sister” relationship with their RA’s, she said she didn’t have that relationship with hers.
“I didn’t feel like I had that, so I went into sophomore year saying I’m going to be that RA that I didn’t get to see,” she said.
Most recently, Beni participated and won the Miss. Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. From there, she went on to regionals and won the scholarship offered through the chapter. In March, she will be traveling to Virginia for the next pageant.
“What I love about it was that it’s about scholarship. It’s not just based on beauty,” she said. “It’s more about what you represent and what you stand for.”
Miranda said when she heard Beni won, she was proud of her friend because she knows how busy she is.
“Around that time, I kept calling her superwoman because she was doing so much at once. And I asked her, how do you do all these things at once?” she said. “So that just goes to show that anything is possible.”
After Beni graduates, she hopes to become a news assistant for NY1, but she is also networking with other big outlets such as ABC and NBC. She said incoming freshmen should take advantage of all the opportunities at PSUC. She said when she was a freshman, she remembers not feeling like she fit in, but she said all the different opportunities has shaped her into a young black leader on campus.
“Shake hands with everyone you meet because you never know who could put you on to something in the future,” she said.
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org