Written by Kari Travis, Program Associate – Institute on Political Journalism
While IPJ students Jordan Dietterich and Yuanyuan (Tracy) Tian are from opposite sides of the world, both share a common experience this summer: it’s their first time in D.C.
Jordan, a student at SUNY Oswego in Upstate New York, was first terrified by the idea of living in a big city, but he went ahead and took the leap. “One of my idols, John Wayne, once said ‘courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyways’,” Jordan says. “Without courage, I would not be in DC having the summer of my life with this TFAS program.”
Jordan hopes to be a sports broadcaster and found professional growth and opportunity this summer at his internship with MRB Films. He also had the chance to attend small group briefings at major news outlets across the city. It was during one such briefing that Jordan met one of his life-long idols—sports broadcaster Tony Kornheiser—on the set of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.
“After posting my selfie with Tony Kornheiser, many of my friends either called, texted or messaged me, telling me to keep following my dreams, because everyone from my hometown is pulling for me,” Jordan says.
Like Jordan, Tracy was uncertain of what to expect when she left her home in China and traveled to U.S. for the first time. Tracy attends Xi’an International Studies University and is an alumna of TFAS’s Asia Institute on Political Economy (AIPE) program in Hong Kong. She says she was surprised and pleased by DC’s diverse culture and its commitment to activism.
“I have met so many wonderful people this summer in this awesome city, whether they are working on Capitol Hill, for the Washington Post or on K Street,” Tracy says of her experience. “They are open, intelligent and aware of the world that exists around them—and are continuously thinking of ways to give back to it.”
During her time in IPJ Tracy interned with Radio America. Through her internship, she was able to expand her career horizons and add to her professional portfolio. She also participated in IPJ’s internship seminar course, where she was able to study under Professor Richard Benedetto, a former political columnist and White House Correspondent for USA Today.
With print, television and now radio media experience on her resume, Tracy says she has learned to keep an open mind when it comes to choosing a career path.
“The most exciting part of an adventure is the uncertainty ahead,” she says. “Participating in IPJ offered me a unique chance to meet so many great professionals and I truly appreciate that…I still have tons to learn and to explore.”