Name: Victoria Gonzalez ‘12
Major: Journalism and Media Studies Minor: Anthropology
Current Job Title: Graduate Student and Travel Writer
Graduate School: University of Amsterdam
Tell us a bit about your life and career since graduation. How did you get your first job? How did you navigate to where you are now? Where do you live?
My first job was the result of an internship with NBC News. During my last semester, I worked at CNBC creating business documentaries for a year before moving onto freelance work and event production. I struggled with finding the right area of media that I felt fit my interest, and in 2013 explored a new career in higher education while I figured things out. During this time I began a museum based travel blog and was able to grow my work as blogger, something that required a lot of self-direction. I gained clarity with my professional goals. After working with the National Park Foundation on a project, I decided that I wanted to make my future in heritage and cultural institutions. My blog helped me identify my real interests and I'm always floored that this digital passion project steered me in this direction. I used this work in my Graduate School applications and I am currently enrolled in the University of Amsterdam in a dual MA program in "Heritage and Memory Studies". I intend to bring together my digital media knowledge and what I am learning in my career that I hope makes modern day museums more interactive and engaging. I'm interested in emerging technology and video platforms, and know there's a need for my skills in this field.
Why did you choose your major and minor?
Originally, I was a double major in Anthropology as well, but once I began getting heavily involved in Livingston's radio station 90.3 The Core, I knew that I wanted to go all in with Journalism. Through the Core I got an internship with Clear Channel and then another with NBC News.
How would you describe your greatest personal or professional accomplishment since graduating from Rutgers?
My first job at CNBC ended with a documentary being Emmy nominated, which was a big deal because of how green I was. I worked so hard on the creation of that project, and despite being credited only as a Production Associate, I know that I pushed myself to make substantial contributions that shaped how it was created. Afterwards, the motivation to take my blog to the next level and be recognized for it was affirming because I built it and pushed myself to different levels. I'm so proud that it helped me find where I am now.
How has your arts and sciences education at Rutgers benefited you?
Is there a particular course, professor, or experience that was most meaningful? Please describe. Steven Miller is a name I am sure you hear often, and he is an incredible mentor and teacher. Mr. Miller inspired me to strike it out on my own despite feeling lost and disenchanted with the broadcast field, and I credit him with the determination I've developed. I've learned it doesn't have to be strictly "media" in order for me to use what I learned from my undergrad and the skills given to me by School of Communication and Information are invaluable.
What advice can you offer to School of Arts and Sciences undergraduates about how to successfully connect their education in arts and sciences to their lives and careers after college?
First, I think it's imperative that a fresh graduate find a hobby that isn't related to their jobs. We often get so consumed by our professional lives that the balance in other areas suffers, resulting in burnout and frustration. Making time for this, as well as family and friends, is what will create a healthy career base.
I also think it's important to understand that your major does not define the jobs you should be seeking out, and that changing your path is normal. If that "dream job" isn't meeting your expectations, don't be afraid to look for something else or think of yourself as a failure.