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Sharee Devose: Drexel Co-op at Voice of America

By Sharee Devose, Global Studies '19

April 06, 2017

    The Control Room for Voice of America, photo by Sharee Devose     
The Control Room for Voice of America, photo by Sharee Devose

It feels almost like yesterday that I arrived in Washington, D.C., somewhat ready to take on the world of international broadcasting. I was excited on my first day, certainly, but I found it difficult still to believe that, of all people, I could have been chosen to be the first Drexel co-op at "Voice of America" (VOA), the official international broadcaster of the United States and the largest in the nation. The experience astounds me to this day.

I began as a Media Lab intern, writing headlines and editing video — neither of which I had ever done before. The latter was visually frightening. However, with guidance and encouragement from two supervisors and an intern coordinator, I learned to work independently on producing VOA60, a 60-second video noting the top news stories of the day (the product is designed to be short to help global news reach affiliates in areas with limited media access).

During those few months, I also made several connections in Public Relations that enabled me to participate in running a number of events, including a VOA live studio recording at the Newseum (an interactive news museum) and a documentary screening at the United States Institute of Peace. Later, during a short time as an intern in the Public Relations division, I gained even more experience in event management, coordination and communication.

Sharee Devose while on Drexel Co-op at Voice of America in Washington, D.C.     
Sharee Devose while on Drexel Co-op at Voice of America in Washington, D.C.

After expressing interest at the beginning of the second half of my co-op, I was introduced to the head editor in the Newscenter (newsroom), who was more than willing to let me try my hand at writing daily news stories for publication. The entire situation was unimaginable to me. I was entrusted on my first day in the newsroom to write an article on my own. According to a senior editor named Molly, with whom I established a great connection during my time in the newsroom, my work was “excellent,” and I was to her a “quick study” of whose reputation she told fellow editors. Those words and all of my writing experiences there changed my life: I became a published journalist with the federal government's official international broadcaster, and my academic and career goals were solidified because of it. Now my dream of becoming a travel journalist for National Geographic is truly no more a dream but an ultimate goal, a vision of reality.

I also learned so much academically and experientially by being in a unique city like Washington, D.C., a hub for interns pursuing careers in fields with a global focus. Living on my own for the very first time, I found myself, and I grew tremendously.

My first co-op experience was one that I will not forget for a long as I live: all of the connections and friendships; the learning and guidance and honest praise; an invitation for a White House press meeting; a wealth of new skills; seeing the Pope; a Drexel co-op photoshoot; the support, the offers of “anything” down the road, of recommendations and a potential newswriting position, should I desire it. These are all memories and great advantages that I have been able to take with me into the advancement of my career. The drive and confidence I feel now are incomparable. "Voice of America" and every connection I made in D.C. helped me to understand that grand opportunities are limitless, so long as I set my sights on them and work to make them my own.

Learn more about Drexel Co-op for Global Studies Students