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By: Kelly Rowe |
October 7, 2020
In spring 2019, University of Pikeville communications student Claudette Enriquez ’20 dove headlong into the world of journalism and media with an internship at Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) in Washington D.C., thanks to The Washington Center Internship program (TWC). The network’s mission is to air unedited, balanced views of government and public policy forums and to provide viewers with direct access to elected officials, decision-makers and journalists.
From a small beach town in California, Enriquez initially majored in microbiology and wanted to pursue a career in medicine. However, she soon realized she was unsatisfied with her work goals and discovered she was passionate about journalism.
Not knowing where this career path would take her, Enriquez wanted to use her voice to share others’ stories.
“I was interested in becoming a journalist, but not sure what kind I wanted to be,” said Enriquez. “I always enjoyed talking with people and learning their story so that I could share with others.”
Enriquez credits both UPIKE’s Davenport Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science Nancy Cade, Ph.D., who served as her TWC liaison, and Assistant Professor of Communication J.R. Briscoe, Ph.D., for their encouragement and serving as her mentors during her time on the hill.
“After attending a two-week seminar at TWC, I knew I wanted to pursue an internship opportunity with C-SPAN,” said Enriquez. “I wanted to experience more learning opportunities and utilize my skills towards a profession that I would be happy doing.”
Enriquez interned for C-SPAN’s Department of Education, a branch of the network that is used as a resource for teachers by devising lesson plans and video competitions to get students involved in government affairs.
The impact this experience had on Enriquez’s overall career journey and professional development by allowing her work behind-the-scenes was transformative.
“Getting to expand my skills and expertise to help a broadcasting network like C-SPAN was life-changing,” said Enriquez. “I got to experience what happens behind the scenes and get a feel for what it is like to work for a major media network.”
Enriquez also had the opportunity to work side-by-side with the co-founder of C-SPAN Brian Lamb, an experience she called “priceless.”
The experience enlightened Enriquez on what employers and companies are looking for when hiring someone new.
“The best lesson I learned was to stay humble,” said Enriquez. “If you think credentials are what will make you stick out, think again. Work hard, be loyal and be humble.”
Enriquez’s career-related advice encourages UPIKE students to never be afraid to ask questions and strive to follow their dreams.
“If there is one thing I have learned from this experience, it is the importance of consciously choosing a career that you are passionate about,” said Enriquez. “Do not choose a career for somebody else, for popularity, nor the money.”
Enriquez aspires to begin her career at C-SPAN and make the steps toward starting her own networking business and become a Spanish news anchor.