1. What was your major at Emerson?
I got my masters in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson.
2. Why did you decide to attend Emerson?
In 2008, I graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in communication and Spanish. This was right before the economic downturn, so I did what I could to find a job in a tough market. I was auditioning at different local television stations but not having much luck. I even auditioned for The Rhode Show
on Fox Providence and was one of the top two finalists. The guy who ended up getting the job had a skill set that was far more advanced than mine, and that is when I decided to go back to school. Through my research, I found Emerson and after one campus tour, I knew that it was the right school for me.
3. What sparked your interest in journalism?
My ‘a-ha’ moment happened was I was 14. I had only been in the country for two years, and it was frustrating to acclimate to a new culture and a new language—I couldn’t even speak my own name in English. This made me very proactive about learning the language. I began taking English classes at Providence College at night when I was in high school. In my quest to dominate English, I got involved with the debate team and became the sports reporter for the school’s closed-circuit television station, WCHS. For my first assignment as the sports reporter, I had to cover a story about the renovations in McCoy Stadium. I showed up with a photographer, who was also 14, and we got a private tour of the stadium. I couldn’t believe it. I was 14-years-old and I got this tour—I think that is when I caught the journalism bug. By senior year I was an executive producer and anchor for WCHS.
4. What impact has Emerson had on your career?
Emerson is what catapulted my career. When I started at Emerson, I was interested in broadcast and print journalism. I split my classes between the two and learned how to tell a story through different mediums. Emerson instilled in me this drive to be able to tell a story from all vantage points. Aside from the classroom, you are also doing hands-on reporting. Students are thrown out to the streets of Boston to report, and these experiences are the ones that really frame you. At Emerson, I didn’t sleep for two years and I am now living my dream. I never thought at this point in my life I would be an anchor for a network but Emerson made it possible.
5. Tell us about your role at The Weather Channel and how you got it.
I was approached by The Weather Channel in February when I was working as a journalist in Western Massachusetts. They were preparing for the launch of a new morning show that had a news component and wanted me a part of it. I am now the news anchor and resident journalist for this new show on The Weather Channel, America’s Morning Headquarters
. I deliver the news component while meteorologists Sam Champion, Mike Bettes, and Maria LaRosa discuss forecasts. My role is to provide the news and tell viewers the things that they need to know to get through the day. I have several segments throughout the show; they are about two minutes long every 30 minutes. It is a really fun show and the chemistry between the whole team is incredible. Sam Champion [former ABC’s Good Morning America
weather anchor] handpicked each person and it shows through our chemistry. I am so thrilled to be a part of something brand new and be the youngest on-air talent throughout the entire network.
6. What did you do to prepare for this role?
It happened so fast. My agent sent out my reel to everyone and the response was overwhelming. It was sent all over the country, so really I could have gone anywhere. Before this, I honestly thought I would be moving back to Rhode Island, but The Weather Channel saw my reel and, a few weeks later, I was on a plane to Atlanta. By the next week, I was offered the job and after two weeks of promoting the show, we were on-air. I did not have much time to prepare so I had to just have faith that it would all turn out fine. However, in those few short weeks, I challenged myself to write everyday and read as much news as possible—I wanted to prepare as much as I could.
7. What type of news do you cover for The Weather Channel?
What I love about this show is the fact I am not covering your typical local news, but I cover social currencies and positive stories. In my segments, I cover all types of news—from scientific studies to Capitol Hill to what is trending on social media. Our goal is to expose viewers too more than your daily fire or robbery. Just today I had a story about Harvard University and how they are creating robotic bees to potentially pollinate drop fields. It is news that will help you get ready for the day. And it is a child-friendly show. We have actually had a handful of parents tell us that they are proud to watch our show with their children. We are really pushing for more positive stories about our changing world that spark curiosity.
8. When can people tune in to watch you?
America’s Morning Headquarters
airs weekdays from 7:00 to 10:00 am on The Weather Channel. It is three hours of live broadcasting, catering to audiences from coast to coast.
9. What advice would you give current Emerson students?
Work. Work. Work. Work. Be curious, read the news—at least three to four papers a day, work hard, and don’t be afraid to put in those long hours. Your skills should translate to all that you do and your passion for storytelling should trump everything.