ASHEBORO (Jan. 17, 2019)
Sometimes the best gateway to a future career is the real-world, hands-on experience of an internship.
Two Randolph Community College photojournalism students recently won awards in the North Carolina Business Committee for Education’s statewide Experience More Video Competition, shadowing two former RCC students and learning about the internship experiences that led them to their current careers.
Nathan Burton took first place with Aly Vermillion grabbing second in the community college category. The NCBCE hosted an Experience More Summit on Work-Based Learning Dec. 7 with five regional satellite locations, including RCC’s JB & Claire Davis Corporate Training Center, highlighting the two winners’ work.
Both second-year students said they were surprised by the awards.
“I didn’t have extensive experience in video at all,” Burton said. “I was grateful for the opportunity. ... I gained a lot of valuable experience.”
The goal of the competition, which RCC Photojournalism Instructor Jay Capers turned into an assignment for his photojournalism students, was to encourage high school and community college students to highlight work-based learning in their community. Held in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Community College System, students were asked to submit an up to three-minute video focusing on one of the following themes:
1. Why is work-based learning important?
2. What are the impacts of work-based learning?
3. Why do students want employers to engage in work-based learning?
Burton’s video features RCC graduate Khadejeh Nikouyeh, who is now a staff photographer at the Greensboro News & Record, while Vermillion shadowed former RCC photojournalism student Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, who is now the Carolina Panthers team photographer. Both women featured said their internships were integral not only in preparing them for a career, but also in paving the way to a profession — a lesson Burton and Vermillion took to heart.
“I learned through Khadejeh that there is a lot to a job,” Burton said. “Following in her footsteps — there are things you can’t teach, you have to be there. ... The hardest part was working with scheduling and then how to make something good out of it. It’s a practiced skill.”
“I’m still figuring out what I want to do (after RCC),” said Vermillion, whose subject participated in four different internships before landing a job with the Panthers. “The project helped me see that you can find what you want to do even if you aren’t in the perfect place. I also learned that I don’t want to do sports photography.”
The NCBCE received 36 submissions from 17 counties, selecting four winners — two submissions from high schools and two submissions from community colleges. RCC boasted five submissions. The first-place winners from each category received $500 and the second-place winners received $250 for their schools.
As a part of the photojournalism class, Burton, Vermillion, and their classmates are filming and producing a documentary featuring the North Carolina A&T State University band.