As the elevator on the 745-foot high skyscraper rose, so did the heart beats of the young men and women who’s lives where impacted by the 17th floor’s creative minds. They were about to set their feet on the floor where the TRL studio used to be. Television and Video production major Kathryn Vanherp was one of the young adults headed toward MTV.
Growing up in Peru, the “quite and simple life” helped Vanherp tap into her creative side. The distraction-free town pushed her into the production world at a young age. In order to keep herself and her friends entertained, Vanherp wrote scripts for plays and directed them.
“The long winters and not having anything to do, you had to come up with your own (thing to do),” Vanherp said.
“So that’s what kept the creativity going until I came to the major where I could actually practice it,” she said.
Long before she started shopping for college, Vanherp, who was then a junior in high school, was invited to visit Plattsburgh State’s TV channel PSTV. Impressed by the equipments, the studio and the students’ enthusiasm about their program, she decided to attend PSUC.
Her first semester, Vanherp dove right into what she had always wanted to do — work in a real TV channel.
“My first time in PSTV, I was very nervous because everyone seemed to know what to do and what was going on. It was a lot to take in for someone who had never been in a studio before and never touched a camera,” Vanherp said.
With the help of her peers, Vanherp progressed at PSTV. She got to produce a TV show for PSTV and landed an internship at PBS where she edited and helped with documentaries — experiences that Vanherp believes were what set her apart from other internship applicants at MTV.
Her friend and PSUC alumnus Nick Gismondi shares her beliefs about her progress being one of the reasons she got her internship.
“She has become more outgoing … I’ve watched her go from another student in the TV major (to) becoming a producer in the show that she took over. I think that helped her get that internship at MTV,” he said.
Boyfriend Nick Logonia had similar observations when it came to Vanherp’s progress at PSUC. He said she went from being shy to becoming a leader — a transformation that was possible thanks to the show she produced.
Lagonia also said that her creativity, attention to detail and ability to easily work with others are some skill sets that qualified her for the internship.
It may seem like Vanherp’s path to MTV has been smooth, but she did face difficulties finding an internship. Vanherp credits Associate Professor Peter Ensel for her current internship. Ensel helped her figure out where she wanted to intern and made all the calls necessary to help her get on the right trajectory.
“He would call and make sure all the paperworks were sent, and that everything was in order for it to work out. He did more than I did,” she said.
Her first day at her internship was similar to her first semester at PSUC. There was no time to test any waters — she got her first assignment right after the orientation.
“I really just got thrown into it and they really expected me to know what to do. There were little instructions,” Vanherp said.
Vanherp’s daily tasks at MTV include getting props for the shows, something she can benefit from in the future as a novice set designer.
She has even participated in a sit-down interview with celebrities.
“They’re really good at letting me try out the jobs I’m interested in,” Vanherp said.
But that’s not the only benefit she gets from her internship.
“I’m getting to work with real professionals and people who are really successful. Learning from them means the world because I’m learning the right way,” she said.
Email Winta Mebrahti at firstname.lastname@example.org.