With less than fifty days left until commencement for the Class of 2013, only a few more papers and projects, long all-nighters and some heartfelt goodbyes remain ahead as they approach the finish line of their undergraduate careers. For Alumna Jasmine Brown ‘10, crossing the finish meant taking steps to finding her place in the world of journalism.
After Vassar, Brown, a native of Garfield Heights, Ohio, obtained a masters in journalism from NYU and currently works as a production assistant for ABC News’ 20/20.
Of her experiences thus far, Brown wrote in an emailed statement, “Working in news is a roller coaster, most days I love it, but it can also be challenging and stressful. I have most enjoyed working on our breaking news specials. It is in these instances where our show shines, creating an hour long program in less than 12 hours. The specials make me realize that I work with some of the best people in the field.”
While no journalism department currently exists at Vassar, Brown double majored in American Culture and Drama, Though she devoted a large part of time to theatrical productions and acting on campus—she most fondly remembers creating the Idlewild Theatre Ensemble with Belen Ferrer ‘10 and Estefania Fadul ‘10—news was her first passion.
She wrote, “I came to Vassar fascinated by the news and the role it played in events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina… There is something powerful about the way the news is able to inform the public, especially during great times of disaster.”
Drama mixed with American Culture may not seem to tie into journalism, but Brown pointed out that the two areas are not exactly in conflict with one another.
“At their core, they are both about storytelling. The Drama Department taught me that there’s a multitude of ways to tell a story and the importance of finding the best one. The major also helped me be to become more fearless. After singing by yourself in front of an audience of 300+ people, you don’t really have much to be scared about when it comes to interviewing someone one-on-one and asking them a few tough questions,” she wrote.
Attending graduate school after Vassar, then, became the only logical choice for Brown if she wanted to improve her chances of making it in the field of journalism.
She noted that graduate school is not necessary for everyone, but felt that she would benefit from it.
“I went to NYU for a couple of reasons: the MA program was only three semesters; it was located in NYC, which is the best city for journalism in the US; and they offered me a fellowship, which brought down the cost of the program,” she wrote. The program led to internships with both ABC News and CNN.
Additionally, for Brown, getting into graduate school meant being more independent; she was no longer living by the rules of campus life.
She wrote, “I found graduate school to be a really nice stepping stone to living in the ‘real world.’ On campus housing was pretty costly, so I decided to rent in Brooklyn. I was forced to deal with a lot of the hard parts of living in the city- finding an apartment, dealing with a landlord, but still had the comfort of going to class and the other students in my program provided a great support network.
Though it has been almost three years since she graduated, Brown pointed out that you have the option to stay a part of the community.
She said, “Ending undergrad is a scary thought, but I think seniors should know that there is an amazing support network out there. I have found Vassar alums to be fiercely loyal to one another and almost always willing to offer advice. I know so many young alums who got their start because of another Vassar alum, I am no exception. Reach out…If you have friends that recently graduated, talk to them about their experience and don’t hesitate to ask if you can crash on their couch while you look for a job and apartment. We want things to be easier for you, not harder.”