Sydney Umezurike, a senior media studies and production student in the Klein College of Media and Communication, always wanted to work at ABC's Good Morning America. Growing up, she spent mornings watching the news program with her family, but she especially loved watching the effect the show had on her older brother who has cerebral palsy.
"Whenever I would turn it on and [GMA anchor] Robin Roberts would start talking, he would go ballistic. And it was just like 'Wow, I would love to make somebody feel like that and start their day off right.' And that's really what inspired me to even want to be on there."
This summer, Umezurike's dream came true. She received a three-month production internship on the show in New York City. The position, which was her first internship and was sponsored by the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program, gave her insight that has contributed to her growing expertise in media.
Klein College has served as a foundation for Umezurike to build her skills. She is the host and executive producer of Temple University Television's The Vibe, a talk show focusing on hip-hop culture. She is also a member of the Temple Association of Black Journalists, a student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Her interest in broadcast journalism led her to joining a networking group headed by TUTV's content producer Ed Dress, which is where she found out about the GMA internship.
Once she secured the job, she got straight to work. Though she frequently met celebrities on set -- even working closely with the cast of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things when they visited the show -- she considers her hands-on experiences the most valuable. Producing content for the show's social media, writing stories for the website and practicing broadcast television skills at the newsdesk all gave her material to use for her resume and newsreel.
"It was definitely an internship in which you had to make it whatever you wanted it to be," she says. "They gave you that freedom to do that."
One of Umezurike's most memorable moments at the internship was during one of the speaker series sessions offered to the GMA interns. The speaker was Robin Roberts, and Umezurike was able to talk with the anchor about how much her work means to her and her family. After their emotional exchange, Roberts even FaceTimed Umezurike's mother. During National Intern Day, all of the GMA interns appeared on the national broadcast of the show, and Roberts mentioned their talk. The connection strengthened Umezurike's belief in the importance of networking.
"I really took the time to have informational sessions with all the people I could," she says. "I reached out to them through email like, 'Hey, I'd love to know more about what you do and what exactly your job is here.' And I really took the time to learn about people so at least I could leave my own little mark."
Though her internship at GMA was only for the summer, Umezurike plans to gain more experience before she graduates. She is particularly excited to explore the opportunities offered through Temple University, including applying to the spring semester Los Angeles study away program and continuing to work with TUTV.