During my short time at Fordham, I've met plenty of hardworking, ambitious students, especially in Rose Hill's performing arts scene. One of the busiest and most accomplished is Emily Pandise, who I've gotten to know mostly during her time as president of the Mimes and Mummers, our main stage theatre group. Having been recently accepted to NBC's insanely competitive Page Program, her post-grad plans are also looking pretty sweet. This weekend I chatted with Emily about her college experience, crazy schedule, and future adventures.
Name: Emily Pandise
Year: FCRH '14
Major: Double major in American Studies and Communication & Media Studies
Hometown: Mahwah, NJ
Clubs: The Mimes and Mummers, Fordham Experimental Theatre, 90.7 FM WFUV, Fordham TV (Fordham Nightly News and Fordham Mornings)
Internships: Entertainment Events, Inc. (Summer '12), Weekend TODAY at NBC (Spring and Summer '13), MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell
Did you come to college with a clear idea of you wanted to do?
I did, but I completely changed my mind. I really wanted to go into publishing; I wanted to be an editor for fiction publications and ultimately become a writer. I wanted to write first-person essays and short stories. When I got here and got involved in a few activities, I realized that I really like working with people more than I like reading about people. So through my involvement with the Mimes and Mummers and especially with Fordham TV, I realized that I really like to be hands on, not working in an office, and that television would be a better fit for me.
How did you end up at Fordham?
When I was looking at schools, Fordham was on my list because my guidance counselor had mentioned it, and I knew a lot of people who went here who were happy. I ended up getting in through early admissions, and they gave me a bit money. This was the last school I visited. I had been doing theater since high school, and I came to visit a friend of mine overnight and sat in on an FET rehearsal; they were doing Clue. I sat in on a class I really liked. I think it's nice that the people here are the kind of people who open doors for each other. Good vibes.
If you could do the college process over again, what would you do differently, if anything?
I applied to a lot of reach schools, so I would've probably applied to more safety schools for scholarship money. But I'm so happy I ended up here, especially as someone who didn't know she was interested in television until she came here.
Could you describe your most favorite role as a leader and student on campus?
That's such a toss-up. I have loved working with the Mimes and Mummers, and the club has afforded me so many opportunities that I wouldn't have been able to get else where… but I have loved producing Fordham Mornings just as much. I really couldn't pick one.
What kind of opportunities has Fordham given you that you might not have found elsewhere?
I think it's really great (because this is not the case in other schools) that students have the chance to work in the TV studio and the radio studio no matter what their major is. Neither of my co-producers for Fordham Mornings are communications majors. My sister's at Syracuse, and I know they won't let her work in the television studio because she's not a communications major.
What kind of duties do you have as a Fordham TV producer?
We have production meetings every week to decide what's gonna go into our next show. We write, shoot, and edit everything ourselves. Every week I do between one through three packages to air. And we have bunch of live segments, musical guests, and interviews every week. This semester we've added a cooking segment, which has been really fun. I do a lot of the "Do It Yourself" segment each week. I've done fitness segments. We have a new segment called Student Spotlight, and we focus on people and events on a campus. During the shows, I floor manage.
What're your post-graduation plans? Do you have an ideal job in mind?
Since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a writer in some form…and then you know, theater is the art of live storytelling. News is the same thing, and I love that no matter what, you can talk to the most important person in the world or the least important person, and you can still tell someone about them. I'm really excited because I was accepted to the Page program in November, so I'll be starting work as a Page in August.
My ideal job is to be a segment producer for news. I really love talking to people, and I love asking questions and hearing what people have to say, and telling the story for those who can't tell it themselves. You know, because there's so many people who don't have the means, or just can't really articulate what needs to be articulated.
Can you talk more about what the program entails?
It's a one year program, and it's super competitive. They choose about 80 people from about 12,000 that apply, so it's really, really exciting. And they choose people that want to spend their careers at NBC. You apply for three-month assignments, so you can really get a taste for what each department is like, and from there you can decide what you want to do. Hopefully I'll get to do work with MSNBC, and then morning shows, and then nightly shows. We also give tours, and seat people for SNL and other shows.
I know you've had several internships at college. What has been your most favorite internship experience so far?
That's hard. Weekend Today was great; obviously, I spent 8 months there, and I really loved it. And I gotta tell you, I was working on the The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, and they had amazing people there, and I learned a lot from them. I learned a lot about politics, and I also think at network news, they have so much money and so many resources, but they do so much with so little in a 24 hour turnover period at MSNBC. It's incredible what the producers and editors do over there.
I remember seeing on Facebook that you actually got to go on air at one point.
Yeah, I was modeling Kate Middleton's maternity dress on Weekend Today. I was working late in the office one weekend, and they said, "Hey, what's your dress size?"
Finally, what have you loved most about Fordham?
I think the sense of community here is really strong. And you can really find people who are passionate about the things you're passionate about, and you form lifelong friendships over those things. I love how open people are, how much they're willing to share their time and share themselves with you.