Summer activities have a lasting impact for Newhouse students and faculty

The Newhouse community is now halfway through the Fall 2022 semester, but for several students and faculty, their once-in-a-lifetime summer adventures stay with them.

Shaina Holmes

By Gabby Kepnes

L-R: Shaina Holmes, David Barbier Jr., Rowan Ide and Thomas Finnegan at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. Photo courtesy of Shaina Holmes.

Television, radio and film professor Shaina Holmes spent a part of her summer working on a documentary with three of her students. This film, however, wasn’t in Syracuse, but in Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. In partnership with the World War II Foundation, Holmes and her students took a 10-day trip documenting the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African American airmen and military pilots to successfully complete their training and enter the US Army Air Corps in 1941.

“The students not only had the opportunity to help out on the film, but also served as production assistants and shadowed the cinematographers,” Holmes says.

Each day arrived with new filming locations and a new itinerary as the group traveled to air fields and army bases where the pilots were stationed. The students also created their own projects: a 12-minute behind-the-scenes video from their perspective.

“The students got so much hands-on experience, not only in the day-to-day, but also before and after the shoot,” Holmes says.

Rowan Ide, a television, radio and film senior, wanted to learn about the documentary filmmaking process, since she knew that would be her capstone project later this fall.

“It wasn’t like a normal PA job where you’re running to get coffee,” Ide says. “They let us hold the cameras and actively help out on set.”

Colette Holt, daughter of World War II veteran and Tuskegee Airman Coleman T. Holt, joined the group on their travels, an interaction which Holmes said turned into one of the most meaningful parts of the trip. Television, radio and film senior David Barbier Jr. felt the impact of Holt’s father’s legacy.

“To know that she is a direct descendent and has grown up with the mindset that you need to believe in yourself when others don’t, has motivated me to continue going after the things I want,” he says. “Talking to her was like talking to one of the Airmen.”

The documentary is scheduled to premiere next year at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. The students plan to attend, and later, they hope to premiere the documentary at the Newhouse school.

Gabby Kepnes is a junior advertising major at the Newhouse School.

Alexandra Siambekos

By Brooke Borzymowski

Alexandra Siambekos. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Siambekos,

When Alexandra Siambekos started the Newhouse School, she felt unsure of where her public communications studies would take her.  It was not until her sophomore year that the now-senior uncovered “the power of film,” and began her television, radio and film journey.  

This passion for storytelling lead her to be one of just 40 students who took part in the prestigious Television Academy Foundation’s Internship Program this past summer.  

The program, started in 1980, is an invaluable opportunity for college students, launching the careers of prominent writers, executives, producers and directors.

While in the program, Siambekos worked with Herizon Productions, a company that specializes in the production of documentary films and series for television networks and streaming. She served as a production assistant on shoots, selected soundbites and transcribed footage with editors.  

Siambekos reflected on a project that impacted her understanding of production.

 “[This film] helped me better understand post-production workflow and final delivery requirements for festivals and streaming platforms,” she says.   

Projects like this not only allowed Siambekos to learn field skills from some of the best in television and film, but also confirmed her dreams of a future in documentary production.  She looks forward to using film “as a tool for social change” and hopes to leave a lasting impact with her work.  

Brooke Borzymowski is a sophomore broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.

Jada Knight

By Julia Sassoon

Jada Knight at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. Photo courtesy of Jada Knight.

Jada Knight, a sophomore studying television, radio and film, embarked on the opportunity of a lifetime when she attended the Cannes Film Festival in May through the festival’s student program.

While in southeastern France, Knight was a social media intern for American Pavilion, a communications, hospitality and media center at the festival. She chose to work in social media as it aligned with her experience creating content for Femme Noire Magazine, Syracuse University’s only magazine for and by women of color.

Knight’s daily tasks included live tweeting at events, assisting with celebrity photoshoots and conducting social media interviews. Her responsibilities taught her the importance of keeping composure when working with celebrities like Finn Wolfhard and Jamie Foxx.

“I liked how much it pushed me out of my comfort zone,” Knight says. “I’ve realized that I have to remain calm and collected.”

A highlight of the trip was the diverse group of students she interned with.

“I wasn’t expecting there to be a lot of people of color,” Knight says. “We spoke to one of the people who worked for American Pavilion and he said it was one of the most diverse classes yet. It was really good to have them there on the same journey as me.”

Julia Sassoon is a junior public relations major at the Newhouse School.

Kyle Henderson and Maya Pow

By Tessa Meehan

Kyle Henderson. Photo courtesy of Kyle Henderson.
Maya Pow takes a photograph at the Forbes Diversity Internship Program. Photo courtesy of Maya Pow.

Students Kyle Henderson and Maya Pow both participated in the Forbes Diversity Internship Program this past summer. 

The program was established from a partnership between the Newhouse School and Forbes in early 2021. The paid internship provides support and mentorship to students from underrepresented groups and aims to tackle lack of diversity in newsrooms.

Henderson, a magazine, news and digital journalism student, worked a hybrid position at the Jersey City, New Jersey office. He was with the journalism team, focusing on business and entertainment and working on stories looking at the financial side of the industry. Many of his stories were published, including an article about Tom Cruise’s new career-earning milestone with his film “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“I was skeptical going in—working for such a business-heavy organization— that I wouldn’t be able to focus on the sides of the media I was interested in,” Henderson says. “But I was able to see media journalism from a new perspective and am very grateful for the experience.”

Pow, also in a hybrid position, worked for the Los Angeles office with the video team. There, she had the opportunity to edit and produce breaking news videos, social content and editorial articles. The broadcast and digital journalism student also edited and produced a video for an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI)-owned luxury skincare brand YINA, for Forbes’ website, YouTube and social media.

“It was empowering knowing that a lot of the Forbes video team are women and/or people of color,” Pow says. “As an Asian American woman, I get nervous about entering a predominately white—and male—field, but meeting new mentors that look like me is comforting.”

Both students participated in multiple large, hands-on projects and worked closely with producers, editors and directors.

Tessa Meehan is a senior public relations major at the Newhouse School.

Charlie Goldberg

By Samantha Rodino

Charlie Goldberg reporting on-air for Maccabi Media in Israel. Photo courtesy of Charlie Goldberg.

Student Charlie Goldberg and alumna Lauren Rub ‘22 attended the 21st annual Maccabiah Games in Israel, interning with Maccabi Media.

The Maccabiah Games, sometimes called the Jewish Olympics or the Israeli Olympics, is one of the largest sporting events in the world. First held in 1932, the games—open to any Jewish or Israeli athlete—take place in stadiums in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Maccabi Media provided daily coverage of this year’s games, allowing interns like Goldberg and Rub to learn and grow through on-air reporting, working the cameras and producing segments for basketball, soccer and equestrian events. 

“The games are so big that a lot of sleep away camps and JCC programs mimic the games in a way and have their own smaller versions of it,” says Goldberg, a sophomore in the broadcast and digital journalism program

This trip was the fulfillment of a dream for Goldberg, who planned to visit Israel during his senior year of high school. Plans were pushed back due to the pandemic, but the summer after his freshman year at Syracuse University, he was finally able to go.

Both he and Rub had mentors during the program, including Maccabi USA media coordinator Neal Slotkin; former Philadelphia 76ers play-by-play commentator Marc Zummoff; ESPN+ broadcaster Simon Rosenwasser ’12; and NBC4 anchor Danielle Grossman.

“My mentors have taught me so much,” Goldberg says. “The things I learned, my on-air presence, my behind-the-scenes presence and my knowledge of the business just expanded so much because of their help. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.” 

Goldberg’s favorite memory was walking out with Team USA in the opening ceremonies. 

“I never imagined in my wildest dreams—at this age even—that I would be a part of the ‘big games,’” Goldberg says. “It was incredible.”

Samantha Rodino is a first-year student in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.