Published on Jan. 27, 2022
From Columbia, Mo. to Washington D.C., one of the Center for Academic Success & Excellence’s (CASE) marketing interns Keara Shannon is spending her spring semester working for ABC News.
As the first recipient of the new Curtis B. Hurley Washington Public Affairs Journalism Scholarship, Keara received $2,500 to help cover costs for this incredible opportunity. This scholarship combined with her George C. Brooks Scholarship gives Keara a sigh of relief.
“My parents work so hard and I’m just happy they don’t have to pay anything because for these past three years I have felt like a financial burden,” Keara said. “So that’s the thing I was really worried about with the D.C. program…but they don’t have to worry about anything.”
Along with taking three credit hours through MU, the program requires Hurley scholars to attend a weekly seminar at the National Press building where they will speak with notable journalists. Additionally, recipients had to find a journalism internship in the Washington D.C. area, and students must work 30 hours at their internship per week.
“[The Hurley coordinators] started sending me all the stuff to apply for internships,” Keara said. “I made a whole Google Doc spreadsheet of everything I was going to apply to, and it was color coded. Yellow means applied and heard back, orange means they didn’t accept me. I just was applying and applying and applying.”
Keara’s organization of potential internships helped narrow down her choices between working for NBC or ABC News. She went through several rounds of interviews with two different units within ABC News, getting the chance to speak with recruiters.
Her dedication to obtaining an internship paid off, as ABC News contacted Keara near the end of last semester to invite her to join their race and culture unit. The internship will have Keara writing and producing work to contribute ABC’s digital platforms and network shows, such as “Good Morning America.”
“Being able to be in D.C. and write for a national publication, instead of something local like the Missourian, is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Keara said. “This is going to be a lot more hectic, a lot more fast paced, but I want to prepare myself for after I graduate.”
Keara hopes to discover if the production side of journalism is the right career path for her with this internship; However, she also looks forward to a new degree of independence and exploring the city in her free time.
“There’s a lot of history that I want to visit and learn more about,” Keara said. “I never really thought about D.C. I was thinking about New York and California, of course, but now that I’ve looked into it, I’m like ‘this is kind of underrated’…it’s really, really cool.”
Throughout the process, working for CASE set Keara up for success. Interns on the team are tasked with pitching story ideas, writing features and creating content for CASE’s website and social media platforms on professional deadlines.
“[CASE] is definitely something that helped me a lot with my resume because [employers] asked for stuff that I’ve worked on,” Keara said. “I sent them the Ymbar story and they really loved the Ymbar story. Overall, all of my work has been through the CASE marketing team, so it gave me a lot of things to put in my portfolio and helped me sharpen my writing skills.”
Being on the marketing team has connected Keara with Director of Marketing Fallon Smith who is a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist. Smith works closely with each writer on the marketing team and has been and mentor for Keara since freshman year.
“I’m really grateful for Fallon because she was so supportive during the whole thing,” Keara said. “When I first told her [about earning the scholarship] she was going crazy. She would talk about it in the meetings, and I’d be all embarrassed. But it was a really good confidence boost.”
Despite her excitement for this experience, Keara said she will miss the CASE staff while she is away, especially Student Service Coordinator Karen Hayes.
“She just has been, since freshman year, the shining light in my life,” Keara said. “She’s been like my mom away from home, I’d say.”
True to her passion for storytelling, Keara will also miss the work she does for CASE this semester.
“I’m going to miss the stories I write,” Keara said. “I really love the stories I write with the marketing team and meeting all the people I have written about. And [I’m going to miss the CASE marketing team] because I love at the meetings, we just talk about everything under the sun.”
We will miss you too Keara!