NBC Universal internship unites Dominican student, alumna

Samantha Simmons ’17 worked as an intern at NBCUniversal in New York City and she had Mariah Chinchilla ’14 to thank.

Mariah, Coordinator in the Affiliate Marketing Department at NBC, interviewed and hired Samantha for the internship in 2014 to fulfill the fall 2015 semester.

“I was overwhelmed with emotion. It’s everybody’s dream to work in the big city, especially in New York, but an incredible opportunity such as this doesn’t always present itself,” says Samantha, then a junior majoring in Communications and Media Studies with a minor in public relations.

The “Dominican Connection” at NBC was fantastic for Sam and fulfilling for Mariah, who interned at NBCUniversal when she was a junior at Dominican. That opportunity led to a full-time job and now gives her another way of showing her gratitude.

“Dominican gave me so much in terms of how to actively and passionately seek internships and job opportunities because of the one-on-one attention we received from our professors,” Mariah says. “If I can reach out to students now who share the same drive, it would really help Dominican and other schools, as well as NBC.”

Samantha learned about Mariah through Brad Van Alstyne, chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies in Dominican’s School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Brad helped Mariah with her internship three years ago.

“Dominican has been such an integral part of my life and it’s going to be with me for a very long time,” Mariah says. “I’m still close with graduates who studied different disciplines and we all have this resounding opinion of how Dominican was such a great place and we took it for granted. We didn’t realize then how hands-on and passionate all the professors are.”

Samantha agrees. She credited Van Alstyne and former KPIX CBS anchorwoman Dana King, an instructor at Dominican, for preparing her for the NBCUniversal internship. Samantha worked with NBC local affiliates and distributed exclusive and behind the scenes clips to them from popular shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Samantha also collaborated with NBC local affiliates on setting up promotional shoots with NBC personalities. She met NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt at one of those shoots.

“Sam was such a joy and always had great energy when she came to work,” Mariah says. “It’s really a synonymous relationship. They are teaching me as much as I am teaching them.”

Mariah helped Samantha from Day One at 30 Rockefeller Plaza when they had their first face-to-face meeting.

“I have the utmost respect for Mariah and she and our team really helped me make the transition an easy one,” Samantha says.
“As a student, you don’t really prepare for this because you don’t know what you are getting into,” says Mariah who interviewed another Dominican student, Sayra Trejo, for an internship for the fall 2016 semester. “But I think it’s the attitude that you need to have when you come in that makes you successful, and Sam definitely has that.”

October 26, 2015