By Candy Rendon
It is sometimes difficult for Texas students focused on prospective job openings within the entertainment industry to see firsthand the demands and fast paced living of large-city careers. For one, New York seems worlds apart from the calm and quiet nightlife within Waco’s downtown streets, or at least that’s what Kerrville senior Hannah Taylor says.
Taylor is a communication specialist major with a background in public relations, and this semester she and a group of 17 other Baylor students went to New York for their study abroad programs to home in some necessary skills in the entertainment world.
Taylor, who said she loves the city compared to Waco, is interning with CBS ‘entertainment publicity department. She said that it was a unique transition to big city life when she moved to the “city that never sleeps.”
“It’s the most fun place I have ever been. There are so many amazing things to see and do here. You can literally never say you are bored. Every weekend is an adventure. We get to see new things, visit world-class museums with the Baylor group and Dr. [Joseph] Kickasola,” Taylor said.
“We get to experience cultures so different than what we find in Texas. There really is no place like New York. It is the most vibrant, exciting and culturally diverse place I have ever been.”
Taylor said New York residents and their passion for life differs from the patient pace of Wacoans. She says they are unlike any other people she has met.
“They know what they want,” Taylor said. “And they pursue their passions with everything they have. It’s a little intimidating, but mostly exciting. It gives us [students] a challenge to rise up to the occasion and show this city what we are made of.”
Dr. Joseph Kickasola, head of the New York study abroad program, expresses his admiration for Taylor’s upbeat personality and perspective on career pursuits.
“What I love about Hannah is that she’s not just hardworking. At her internship, but she’s also focused in the classroom,” Kickasola said. “She really wants to see the academic and professional worlds work together for her, and if she has questions, she diligently pursues the answers. She’s not simply angling for a profession, but wants to be a well-rounded person serving in a vocation.
Taylor said tenacious passion for the classroom as well as her internship at CBS as a means of steering her prospects toward her dream job of the future.
“At this point in my life, I just want to learn as much as I can about the industry as possible,” Taylor said. “I’m sure by doing so — I will find my perfect job.”
Kickalosa said Baylor’s program in New York can offer opportunities to students like Taylor.
“I’m very glad our program could point her to the door, and that previous Baylor interns had helped unlock it for her,” Kickalosa said. “But Hannah alone did the hard, brave work of walking through it and so far has made the most of everything on the other side.”
Still, Taylor said students interested in the program need to understand the depth of the commitment they are making.
“It takes a lot of guts and talent to move to New York and start working internships in this highly competitive environment,” Taylor said. “But who could deny an opportunity in New York. It’s like a different world up here.”
Taylor does publicity for entertainment shows in her job at the CBS Media Relations office.
“I assist the publicists, and I produce daily industry clippings because I’m learning about the ways they promote the entertainment shows. I have been on set visits for shows like ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘Blue Bloods’ and ‘Unforgettable.,” Taylor said.
The biggest reward to all her efforts is her ability to apply coursework in her internship. Taylor said she is confident that jobs will open up for her now that she has experienced New York’s special workplace.
“It’s an amazing thing to go from learning about PR in my classes in Waco only a few months ago, to actually putting my schooling to practice,” Taylor said. “It makes all of my schooling worth that much more. This internship is giving me the skills and confidence I need to make it post-graduation.”
But what is an undergraduate to do if he or she is on the fence about leaving Waco and pursuing the entertainment business in New York for the first time? Taylor said it all depends on hard work and little bit of persistence.
“You have to be persistent in your pursuits and don’t take anything personally,” Taylor said. “It’s a tough business and things won’t always be easy, but if you retain the knowledge you learn at Baylor and combine it with that Baylor sense of courtesy and professionalism, you will go far. “
Lindsay Cash, a Frisco senior and Taylor’s roommate in New York, says Taylor will have no problem finding a job in the busy New York scene.
“She’s got a unique hunger for New York City,” Cash said. “She’s definitely got that unstoppable drive and an extra spark of energy, an upbeat and fearless mindset, and that ‘I’m going to serve you no matter what’ smile that stands out in a city like New York City.”
For more information about Baylor’s New York program, go to Baylor.edu/comm_studies.