Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Public Affairs
June 11, 2009
DeKalb, IL – You don't have to be an American Idol contestant to hear the words, “You're going to Hollywood.”
Two Northern Illinois University students in the Department of Communication recently received news that they are heading to Tinseltown.
Steven Stein, who earned his bachelor's degree in May, and Drew McCormick, who will earn his master's degree later this summer, each landed highly coveted and highly competitive summer internships arranged through the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.
The internships are full-time for six to eight weeks and include a stipend of about $4,000. They provide in-depth exposure to professional television production, techniques and practices.
“I am very proud of both Steve and Andrew because they have shown that their talent and ability is competitive with students from all kinds of institutions across the country,” NIU Communication Professor Laura Vazquez says.
She encouraged the students to apply and wrote letters of recommendation. “NIU's Department of Communication has an outstanding program in media studies,” Vazquez says. “These internships are further proof of that fact.”
At NIU, both Stein and McCormick specialized in media studies, a program that prepares students for a variety of media-related careers, including in the film and television industries. They will begin their Hollywood assignments later this month.
“To be honest, this internship is the dream internship,” the 22-year-old Stein says. “It puts you right in Hollywood working for and with the people that you need to be around in order to get work in this business. It is just an incredible feeling knowing that I am going to get that experience.”
The Buffalo Grove native will intern with the Cartoon Network. He is moving to the Los Angeles area and hopes the intern experience leads to a permanent position. Eventually he hopes to work as a writer, director or producer in the movie industry.
McCormick, 27, of Sycamore, says the internship makes him feel “like Charlie getting the golden ticket to the chocolate factory.”
“I think it helped being a teaching assistant at NIU, with all the experience that provides,” he says. He will intern with the Post Group, one of the largest post-production houses in the world.
“The Post Group is a one-stop shop for post production,” McCormick says. “Each day I will be sitting in with their lead editor, or their titles animator, or visual effects artists. I can only imagine what kind of all-you-can-learn buffet it'll be.”
McCormick also intends to look for permanent work in L.A. Professor Vazquez is confident both students will succeed.
“I tell them that they owe me only two things,” Vazquez says. “They must stay in touch and one day return to share their stories with students.”