Although Professor Marc Rosenweig retired from formal teaching at Montclair State University in 2017, he is still making a huge impact on the lives of students. This fall, he officially launched the exciting new School of Communication and Media mentorship program, which pairs 12 highly motivated media students with esteemed alumni and advisory board members.
“I proposed launching the student mentoring program so students can get guidance from distinguished MSU alums and advisory board members on how to succeed in the media industry,” Rosenweig said. “One of the key messages to students is the need to combine versatile skills with networking and a solid reputation.”
Over the course of the school year, students and their mentors are expected to remain in contact with each other through a series of in-person and digital conversations. Students are also given the opportunity to shadow their mentors, in order to gain a better sense of what it is like to work in that specific industry.
Mentors in the program include MSU alums Al Prieto, VP of ABC News, Karen Horne, Sr. VP at NBC Universal, Michael Price, Writer and Co-Producer of “The Simpsons” and Kristen Bunk, assistant to Trevor Noah at “The Daily Show”. Others include board members Matthew Hiltzik, President & CEO of Hiltzik Strategies, Harold Bryant, Sr. VP and Executive Producer of CBS Sports, and Stephen Tilton, CFO of Schumacher Chevrolet.
Senior Journalism student Frankie Perez, who currently works 36 hours a week at a car dealership, hopes participating in the mentorship program will allow him opportunities to advance his media career after graduation. Perez has already formed a good rapport with his mentor, ABC News VP Al Prieto.
“I know nothing’s gonna get easier, but I feel like through the mentorship program, Al will help me to realize how to bide my time [and] understand the business a little bit more,” said Perez. “So that I don’t have to be working at the car dealership [forever].”
Throughout the process, mentors help students prepare for job and internship interviews, learn valuable networking skills, and build a professional portfolio.
“Having a mentor, I think, can help the student get a feel for what life is like in the working world,” Prieto said. “Schoolwork is very helpful, and teaches you a lot of important skills, but ultimately, it’s about getting a job and starting your career. Talking with a mentor can help the student learn about what happens in the working world, and how to navigate things like interviews, work habits, collaborating with co-workers, working independently, and other important parts of working life.”
The program seeks to supplement the school’s already strong internship program, which had 63 SCM student participants last spring. However, the mentorship program allows students to gain experience in the media field without having to make frequent trips to an office building.
“In an internship, you’re actually doing work at a company, which is incredibly valuable. You can learn so much from internships,” said Prieto. “A mentor program is different because you are one-on-one with a professional in the business, and if the mentor and mentee work at it, you can develop a deep relationship. When you have that deep relationship, you can ask deeper questions and get a better understanding of what the working world is like.”
Rosenweig has also planned two additional group meetings for the year, which will allow students and their mentors to participate in mock job interviews and networking, as well as give input on how the program can continue to grow in the years to come.