Current Occupation: Angel City Air (KTLA, KCBS, KCAL, KNBC); Aerial Photojournalist
What was your most memorable moment while at Dodge College?
My most memorable moment at Dodge College took place when I won the Mir Tuki Broadcast Journalism award my senior year. It is a special recognition that is given to a student for both sustained excellence in front and behind the camera. I was so honored to receive it at the Cecil Awards in front of my peers and professors.
Were there any faculty members who served as a mentor to you?
My broadcast journalism professor, Pete Weitzner, was influential in getting me where I am today. He taught me everything there is to know about the news industry. He is the only broadcast journalism teacher I ever had. He helped me get internships in the news industry, critiqued my work so I could improve, and continues to be someone I can turn to for advice.
What one thing would do again, and one thing you would change about your Chapman experience?
One thing I would change about my time at Dodge College is that I would do more. I wish I had tried to learn more things, and take a better advantage of the classes that the school has to offer. Even though, I learned a lot, I feel that I did not tap into all of the resources available to me.
One thing I would do again is major in broadcast journalism. Dodge College has so much to offer: advanced technology, great teachers, and a beautiful building. It was the best place for me to get an education to be in the television news industry.
What advice would you give to current students?
Learn as much as you can! Learn how to edit, shoot, and report, even if that is not what you want to do. In today’s industry, many careers involve doing several jobs at once. For example, I often shoot and report at the same time! The more you know, the more opportunities you will have.
What is a typical day like for you at your job?
My day begins very early. I wake up at 2 a.m. to commute from my home in Tustin to work at Whitman Airport in Pacoima. I arrive at our hangar and listen to police and fire scanners to find breaking news. Once I find something, like a pursuit or fire, we launch on it in the helicopter. My pilot and I go to the scene and broadcast it on the news. There is a lot of button pushing and multi-tasking involved, but it is an instant rush. Everyday is different. We never know what we are going to cover, but that is what makes this job so exciting.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Hosting an episode of CBS’s “Sports Central” was the highlight of my career. I had the opportunity to do a feature story, anchor, and have it air in the Los Angeles market for all of my friends and family to see. It was a great experience.
Now that you've graduated, what have you taken from the classroom and applied to your career?
My classes at Dodge College taught me how to shoot with a camera, how to report, and how to tell a good story. These skills are key in my career, as I shoot and report from a helicopter. The breaking news that we cover are all stories that have a beginning, middle, and end. My professors taught me how to compose my stories in ways that engage the viewer, and I apply that every day.
Have your career aspirations changed since you graduated?
When I graduated from Chapman, I was set on becoming an anchor/reporter at major news market. Four months later, I was already training to be a helicopter reporter and photographer in Los Angeles, the second largest television news market. Even though I never even knew that my current job existed, my sights are now set on being the best aerial photojournalist that I can be. Honestly, I could do this job for the rest of my life.