The Series: We reached out to American University School of Communication students and recent graduates who are spending this summer advancing their careers through a new job or internship, and asked how they got there, what they're learning, and what advice they have for others. We're sharing the responses in our summer series, "SOC Suits Up for Summer".
Areeb Zuaiter, an MFA SOC graduate student, worked for the Associated Press this summer in a paid position with a team that is updating its video production from standard to high definition. She worked with fellow grad student Peter Kimball who got the job through SOC’s Dean’s Internship program that provides internship and employment opportunities with SOC’s key partners. Dean's Council member Lorraine Cichowski, MA/SOC ’76, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at AP, made the position possible. Here’s Areeb’s assessment of his summer.
Q. What did you do at the Associated Press this summer?
A: AP has granted me with fulfilling responsibilities ever since my summer program have started with them. Such responsibilities allowed me to explore the latest technologies that AP is currently using. My position as a Technology Associate involved that I witness AP’s Master Control Rooms (MCR) and production centers transformation to high definition (HD). I documented the current workflow, tracked AP’s technology process, and determined the pain points in their current processes. Those activities helped me to effectively participate in the design of a new HD workflow. I was required to attend all the decision making sessions and workflow workshops that took place in both Washington, DC and New York City. I was further tasked to provide reports documenting those sessions and providing my input on them. This rewarded me with an extra ordinary hands-on experience with the various dimensions of broadcast and technology.
Q. What were your specific assignments?
A: I have been treated as an integral member of AP’s technology team ever since the first day I stepped into AP’s offices. AP Technology Team was concerned to enrich my experience in the cooperative and make it so memorable. I was offered detailed demonstrations of AP’s facilities in Washington, DC and New York City. The technology team even invited me to explore the cooperative’s facilities in the White House. Of course, I took that chance to sign my name in the Press Room’s equipment room among the signatures of hundreds of technicians and journalists. I made further use of that visit and was photographed on the podium where the president usually gives his speeches!
Q. What did you learn from this job?
A: Not only was I able to elevate my technology and production knowledge, analytical skills and project management know-how, I also had the chance to receive feedback and constructive criticism from the technology department team. Everybody was concerned that my time during AP’s program was utilized effectively for cultivating both the cooperative as well as my professional experience. In short, this experience has combined both fun activities and an outstanding experience that truly exceeded my expectations!
Q. What role did AU play in your experience?
American University played a key factor in facilitating this opportunity and in making my performance substantial for the responsibilities that I was accountable for at AP. The courses, master classes and workshops that I have attended since my enrollment in AU prepared me technically and analytically for the duties that I was tasked during my AP summer program. The School is also concerned in integrating its students with its professional network; a network that includes prestigious and high profile companies such as the AP. Being a graduate student at AU, I feel that I was granted priceless opportunities and responsibilities!