Ernie Suggs, Tenisha Abernathy, Ramona Houston, Condace Pressley, Anthony White

The Reid Project at Clark Atlanta University


This month I participated in a panel discussion at Clark Atlanta University coordinated by alumna Jacque Reid about the importance of internships.  The Media Arts Studies class, where James McJunkins serves as its professor, seeks to prepare students to participate in The Reid Project, an eight-week summer internship program in New York City with nationally recognized journalist Jacque Reid.  Only ten qualified, high-performing students, of the twenty enrolled in the class, will be chosen to participate in the summer internship program.  The class and project seek to develop and produce “expert” interns, who know how to effectively assist and support media professionals in various workplaces.

Reid assembled a dynamic group of journalists to participate on the panel:  Tenisha Abernathy, CAU alumna, CNN Executive Producer, Weekend Mornings and President, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ); Condace Pressley, Assistant Program Director of AM750 and NOW 95.5FM News/Talk WSB; Ernie Suggs, Reporter, Atlanta Journal and Constitution; and Anthony White, CAU alum and freelance Reporter/Cameraman for Turner, ESPN, FOX, CBS and Georgia Public Broadcasting.   All are highly-respected journalists as well as members and leaders within the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and AABJ.  (For more information about NABJ and AABJ, read my blog about the NABJ National Convention 2011.)  Although I am not a journalist, I was asked to participate in this panel for a number of reasons.  I am a CAU alumna, former college professor, a member of NABJ and AABJ, a blogger, and scholar who is currently writing a book on surviving and succeeding in college.  I was delighted to participate on this panel with such a distinguished group of journalists.  Each panelist had a wealth of information to share about the importance of participating in and maximizing internship opportunities.


Internships are important to the educational and professional development of students.  They also assist young people in the transition from students to professionals.  Ultimately, internships exists to help students develop their craft, gain experience and expand their network.  So many students do not pursue or participate internships, despite the fact that internships are essential vehicles on the road to building thriving careers.  If you are a college student or have a child in college, I urge you to take advantage of internships.  Internships are valuable to professional success.

As for the professionals, you have a role as well.  I encourage you to develop internships for students at your businesses, institutions and nonprofits.  By creating and providing internships, you, too, can propel a student into successful careers.

To the students who are in the class and reading this blog, I am sure you are asking, “How do I ensure that I will be one of the ten chosen to participate in the program?”  My advice is simple and to the point.  Read the syllabus, execute its requirements and exceed the expectations!

Categories: Opinion pieces


  1. Comment by Demitria Sanders

    Demitria Sanders Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    The blog was very helpful. In the end, it gives students insight on how important a internship can be. This is also inspiring for up and coming journalist because of the different panelist who where presented and it shows CAU students that students can make it in the Communication field.

  2. Comment by Chivone Smith

    Chivone Smith Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for stopping by with your encouraging words Ms. Houston! I definitely learned a lot from what you all had to say. Believe it or not, a lot of questions that I had about internships prior to you all stopping through, were answered! So again, thanks for your time andI think I can speak on behalf of all my classmates when I say that, we hope to see you soon.

  3. Comment by Keila Lawrence

    Keila Lawrence Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    This class is an excellent opportunity. I also love that the blog emphasizes on the importance of internships. Internships are a great way to network and even, possibly, get your foot in the door. Internships provide experience and gets your name “out there,” because sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.

  4. Comment by Andrea Middlebrooks

    Andrea Middlebrooks Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    This is a great blog about the importance of internships however, many students often feel be-littled in the internship process and very rarely often leave the internship with a new skill set or connects from networking. How can students ensure that a particular internship will actually let them do work and not just be someone’s flunky or errand runner?

    • Comment by RH

      RH Reply January 27, 2012 at 1:08 am

      Great question, Ms. Middlebrooks. As stated during the panel discussion, instead of avoiding the situation, you should definitely consider expressing your concerns to your internship supervisor. Also consider confiding in a mentor who can advocate on your behalf. Additionally, some challenges can be avoided if you are proactive. Do you remember that one of the panelists stated that at the beginning of the internship you should let your employer know what you would like to accomplish from the experience? By sharing your goals and aspirations at the beginning of the internship, you and your supervisor should be clear on the responsibilities and expectations. I hope this helps.

  5. Comment by Destinee Richardson

    Destinee Richardson Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I enjoyed you and all of the other panelists who participated in this discussion. All of the advice that I was given, I will sure take with me when showing interest in any internship.

  6. Comment by Sequoyah Armour

    Sequoyah Armour Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I am a CAU journalism student who has participated in two internships in my field. I too agree that internships are important for students not only as a learning experience but as a way to network with professionals in their desired field. More students should read this blog post so they too can understand the importance of internships because sometimes it could mean the difference between them getting a job after graduation or a career. I love your message and will pass it on to other students!

  7. Comment by London

    London Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    This article enlightens students and future students about the class and the internship program.

  8. Comment by Ashley M. Jackson

    Ashley M. Jackson Reply January 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I agree that internships are important and much needed to be successful in any career.

  9. Comment by James D. McJunkins, Sr.

    James D. McJunkins, Sr. Reply January 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    The panel you served on was excellent. The students left class that day real excited and fired up. Ironically, we were talking about the importance of doing internships in another class yesterday. This is something that cannot be stressed enough. When I look back at the students I have taught over the years, the ones who are most successful or the ones who went to the top right away (like Ms. Reid), are the ones who did more than one internship while they were in school. I hope more students take your advice.

    • Comment by RH

      RH Reply January 27, 2012 at 1:11 am

      Professor McJunkins, I am delighted to hear that the students are excited and fired up! We want them to be enthusiastic about the educational and professional careers. We also want them to go out and represent themselves and our institution to the best of their abilities! I enjoyed sharing. Please let me know if I may ever be of assistance in the future.

  10. Comment by Deja Cromartie

    Deja Cromartie Reply January 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you, Ms. Houston for sharing your words of wisdom and encouragement. Every piece of advice that you gave I plan to implement so that I can be the best intern possible.

  11. Comment by Britney Easton

    Britney Easton Reply January 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I want to thank you and the other panelist for talking with us. I really took a lot from the advice you gave me about internships and writing in general. I know as a college student it is beneficial to get internships, which is why i am working hard to obtain one. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s personal experiences within the mass media field. This was an amazing discussion!

  12. Comment by Carmella Baldwin

    Carmella Baldwin Reply January 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Although I am not a MMA-Journalism concentration major, I was very ecstatic to be sitting obverse to individuals who represented the elite of their professions. There was so much to learn as they (some CAU alumni) graced the Mass Media department yet once again. I think the biggest bit of knowledge that I retained as it concerns obtaining an internship was to actually treat it as MY job/career. I think that as students we only tend to treat internships as a “stepping stool” as opposed to it being our actual careers. As a CAU scholar, it feels great to know that you have recognized our esteemed institution in your blog. Thank you Dr. Ramona Houston for being an inspiration to us all!!

  13. Comment by Michelle Russell

    Michelle Russell Reply January 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I really want to thank you and the other panelists for coming to our class and sharing your wisdom. Much of the advice you gave will definitely be implemented into my next internship opportunity! I would also like to thank you for the advice you gave me on persistence, it gave the confidence to pursue my goals in our difficult field.

  14. Comment by Ciara Campbell

    Ciara Campbell Reply January 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Mrs.Houston, this blog does a dynamic job explaining the panel discussion and the lessons students were able to gain. I would like to thank all of the panelists for the advice they shared regarding internships and professionalism in the workplace. As a senior, I found everything to be relevant as graduation is rapidly approaching. I look forward to hearing more from you!

  15. Comment by Ramona Houston

    Ramona Houston Reply January 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Hello CAU family, I am so happy to hear that so many of you were inspired by the panel! All of us were delighted to participate. As stated, I am currently completing a book on surviving and succeeding in college. I am starting a blog that gives advice on how to get into college as well as then how to make the most out of your college experience. The weekly blog will be published on Wednesdays. If there is any subject that you would like for me to cover, please feel free to email me at contact@ramonahouston.com.

  16. Comment by brishaun thompson

    brishaun thompson Reply January 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hello Ms.Houston I wanted to say thank you for your informative and encouraging information you gave us at the panel. It will certainly be of help to me in the future. On behalf of the class and myself we thank you and I thank for taking time out of your schedule to inspire and give back to your former insitution.

  17. Comment by Michel'le Barlow

    Michel'le Barlow Reply January 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Dr.Ramona Houston, I would like to thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement during the panel discussion. The three objectives you shared with us as a class, stood out to me the most. Develop your craft, gain experience, and expand your network. I am using your advice as well as the advice of the other panelists. Thank you so much for sharing, I have a better outlook on internships and how to get the most out of my internship. I hope to see you soon!

  18. Comment by Tahajah Samuels

    Tahajah Samuels Reply January 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Dr. Ramona Houston,

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come and speak with my class! We all appreciated the advice, hints and encouragement from each panelist. I hope that you will stop by again and possibly explain to us the importance of blogging as well as creating a successful one!

    Once again, thank you so much. Whether or not I am one of the ten students selected to intern with Jacque Reid, I can assure that the insight given on what it takes to be an “expert” intern will always stay with me.

    -Tahajah Samuels

  19. Comment by Briana C. Scott

    Briana C. Scott Reply January 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Ms. Houston, I look foward to having you again as a panelist for our class! The information that you provided was very insightful, especially your emphasis of representation of oneself and how it reflects on their ethnicity and the company or institution that they are representing. the wise words that was delivered were deeply appreciated.

  20. Comment by Lauren Fluker

    Lauren Fluker Reply January 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Mrs. Houston, just as you were delighted to participate in the panel on behalf of my class we were delighted to have you! The information you were able to share was truly invaluable and will stay with me long after my matriculation at Clark. Thank you so much again.

  21. Comment by Aleisha Hull

    Aleisha Hull Reply January 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you so much Mrs. Houston for your encouraging and insightful words in this blog. I made sure to jot down every piece of advice given during that panel discussion for a reference when doing or trying to get an internship. In fact, I just recently received an internship with a public relations firm called First Class Inc. and before going into the internship I made sure I wrote down my three goals and informed the employer of what I expect to walk away with from this internship. Thanks again to you and the other panelists for helpful advice.

    • Comment by Tahajah Samuels

      Tahajah Samuels Reply January 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      Congrats on your internship Aleisha! 🙂

      • Comment by Aleisha Hull

        Aleisha Hull Reply January 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        Thanks Tay:)

  22. Comment by Briana C. Scott

    Briana C. Scott Reply January 30, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Omg I thought I sent this message ages ago! Ms. Houston, thank you for being one of the panelists. The information that you provided on the first day of class is going to last a lifetime. I anticipate to learn more from you on wednesday!

  23. Comment by Lauren Morton

    Lauren Morton Reply January 30, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of the aforementioned comments! This blog post re-emphasizes the some of the key points that were made on the panel discussion that you attended, but are excellent reminders nonetheless. It was a wonderful opportunity to have you speak on the panel discussion for our first class…what an excellent motivator! Thank you for the kind words of wisdom and much needed expertise!

  24. Comment by Demeshia Jackskon

    Demeshia Jackskon Reply January 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you so much Mrs. Houston for providing this helpful advice on how to become a good intern. I’m excited to hear from you again so that I can better prepare myself fo the future. You are greatly appreciated!

  25. Comment by Katrina Hertz

    Katrina Hertz Reply February 1, 2012 at 2:26 am

    After the panel discussion, I decided that the three objectives of an internship that you spoke of would be the best advice I could give to any student seeking an internship opportunity for the summer. Mrs. Houston thank you for sharing your perspective on the panel. Additionally, please let me know how I can be of assistance to you. I am prepared to put my social media and editorial planning skills to use.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go top