Written by Jose Montoya – Program Advisor, Journalism + Communications
Growing up in a town with less than 15,000 people, I never wanted to work in the city. I always spent my summers irrigating my Grandpa’s orchard and making sure the harvest was growing. As I was finishing up my sophomore year, I decided to look for internships that would challenge me in the field of journalism and communications. I met a TFAS representative at a conference in Indianapolis and was hooked on spending a summer working in journalism in Washington.
With two bags stuffed to the max and a backpack full of the reporting essentials, I headed out to a place where I didn’t know anyone. When I arrived in DC, I was nervous, but everyone I met was super friendly and willing to help me. On my first day in the program, a group of us decided to venture out for groceries, some of my best friendships started on that trip to the store.
During the day, I interned at Catholic News Service. I wrote for the national news desk and was able to tell some incredible stories throughout the summer. On one assignment, my co-worker and I ventured to Alexandria, VA to attend La Gran Boda (The Big Wedding) for 21 couples in a primarily Hispanic parish. I interviewed people in Spanish and was able to share a wonderful story about a couple who renewed their vows that day.
Another rewarding aspect of my summer with TFAS was the Mentor Program. Shortly after I arrived in Washington, I met my mentor, Jim Forbes, who had many years of experience in television news. He helped me adjust to living in DC and inspired me to reach for my dreams. My TFAS mentor is still one of my biggest supporters and I always reach out to him when I need someone to talk to.
TFAS is also a wonderful program that helped me grow academically. I also learned a lot outside the classroom during our site briefings at places like the Washington Post and Newseum. I am amazed by the number of TFAS alumni there are, especially the ones at highly acclaimed news outlets throughout the country.
I’m excited to be back in Washington for another summer. I learned a lot in the eight weeks I spent in DC and so will you!