As early as her second semester at CU-Boulder, Savannah Sellers began to forge her career, not only by being accepted into the journalism program but also by seeking out practical experiences at every turn.
A CU-Boulder Presidential Scholar and an ace student, she’ll graduate May 10 with honors and distinction, and head this summer straight to her dream workplace, where she’s had a job waiting for her since last fall. Sellers will hold a yearlong position in the NBC Universal Page Program based at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.
She'll start with work in guest relations, giving NBC Studio Tours, as well as doing audience coordination for Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Dr. Oz show. After three months, she’ll be eligible to apply for specific assignments. Obsessed with the Today show since she was about eight years old, Sellers hopes for an assignment with the program.
The prestigious page opportunity -- the only of its kind in the media industry -- was established in 1933 and includes alumni Ted Koppel and Regis Philbin. Receiving thousands of applications on a rolling basis, there’s only about a two percent acceptance rate for the program to fill a mere 60 available positions at a time. During the program, pages have the opportunity to explore their interests among a variety of media facets, from news and entertainment, to corporate event planning and ad sales. The idea is for the pages to find a good fit during that first year. About 75 percent of the pages are offered permanent positions with NBC Universal.
“It’s a unique program in that it’s a full-time paying job, but you’re getting to rotate through different roles to find what you love,” said Sellers. “It’s a fast-paced year when you get to find your passion.”
While at CU-Boulder, interdisciplinary coursework, including producing and reporting for the biweekly NewsTeam Boulder broadcast, prepared her for the opportunity ahead. She’s also pursued internships each summer since her freshman year, twice with NBC news in San Diego and once with MSNBC’s PoliticsNation show in New York. Additionally, she studied abroad for a semester in Rome during her junior year.
“I don’t really think about learning as just going to school and taking classes, completing a project and getting it done,” said Sellers. “Because I’ve had some real-world experiences during college I’ve been able to take advantage of my classes, applying what I’m learning to my positions and being able to recognize what I know will be important later, what I should make sure I fully understand.”
Sellers also is completing CU-Boulder’s international media certificate program, offered jointly through Journalism and Mass Communication and the international affairs department. The curriculum has added topics like global development; media, culture and globalization; problems in international relations; and American foreign policy to her studies. Having already finished the capstone -- International Media and Global Crises -- this semester she was a grader for the course, checking quizzes and reviewing her peers’ annotated bibliographies.
“The certificate, which is amazing and one of the only of its kind in the country, has given me a working knowledge of how media works on an international stage and the ethics behind it,” said Sellers, who added that she feels the most informed when she knows what’s going on internationally.
While at CU-Boulder Sellers had the opportunity to work on in-depth stories on video gaming and violence and the effectiveness of slurry bombers used to fight wildfires.
On top of Sellers’ drive to delve deeply into a variety of issues, lassoing skills and experience to build her career, she has a bright and warm personality. Her qualities seemingly could reach effortlessly across airwaves connecting with people in their homes. It’s that just-right combination of traits Sellers’ grandmother recognized in her at an early age as they watched the Today Show together and would encouragingly say, “You could do that.”
With the hope of becoming an on-air personality someday, Sellers appears to be on a fitting path.
(Photos courtesy Paul Daugherty and Savannah Sellers)