Texas Tech Offers Big Opportunity in the Big Apple

By Tyler Beakley
Photos courtesy of Kate Lepard

It’s morning, and while most of the students at Texas Tech University are struggling to start a typical day, either headed to summer jobs or summer school classes, Kate Lepard is rushing through the hustle and bustle of New York City. She is welcomed every morning by the flashing lights and big, boisterous billboards that line Times Square as she makes her way to the 30-story skyscraper where she works.

Lepard, a Texas Tech senior broadcast journalism major from Muleshoe, Texas, interned for the Fox News Channel in New York this summer. She was involved with the daytime television shows: “America Live,” “Happening Now,” and “America’s Newsroom.”

Working from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, Lepard had the opportunity to meet with famous political figures and celebrities, and attend pre-show producer meetings. She also had the opportunity to shadow anchor Megyn Kelly, who Lepard said is her inspiration.

Lepard had always had big dreams and goals, and venturing into New York City was part of her aspirations. This is why her early college career at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, just didn’t cut it.

“I wanted a big school with big football games,” Lepard said, “so, I transferred.”

Lepard, whose parents both attended Texas Tech, headed west to Lubbock in the spring of her freshman year. It wasn’t long before Lepard found her love for Texas Tech’s diversity and for Red Raider football.

Lepard said Texas Tech has provided her with many more opportunities she would not have been able to find while attending Texas Christian University.

“I think this school opens a lot of doors,” she said, “and I think Tech is big in all aspects.”

Lepard has always understood having an internship would be important for her career. As a freshman, she said she already had her mind set on interning with Fox in New York, but had to wait until her junior year when she had more experience to pursue the internship of her dreams.

Fast-forwarding two years was obviously not an option for Lepard; however, gaining experience was. When the fall of her sophomore year arrived, Lepard said she was shadowing reporters at Lubbock’s NBC affiliate, KCBD News Channel 11. By the end of the semester, she said she was writing and interviewing for the station, and soon found herself in a part-time position reporting on the weekends, shooting her own videos, and appearing on the news.

Kylee Self, a junior nursing major from Rankin, Texas, said she has known Lepard since they pledged Chi Omega sorority together freshman year at Texas Christian University.

Self, who transferred to Texas Tech in the spring semester of her sophomore year, said Lepard has always been very determined in everything she does.

“She knows what she wants to do,” Self said, “and when she has her mind set to doing something, she will go out and do whatever she has to do to get it done.”

When Lepard’s junior year approached, she was New York bound and well on her way. She sent her internship application in November, and it wasn’t long before she was moving into a dorm at Columbia University specifically for interns.

She did not accomplish this alone. Lepard said she had help from the director of the Career Center, Aleesa Ross, who helped her achieve her dream internship with the many resources the Career Center has to offer.

Lepard said the courses she has taken at Texas Tech not only prepared her for the process of getting the internship, but they also helped her throughout her job once she was there.

“That’s what I love about Tech,” she said. “You don’t learn from a textbook, it is a hands-on experience, and especially in the journalism department.”

Lepard said, with her experiences at Texas Tech, she was able to do more than the other interns in New York. She said not only did she learn a lot through her courses, but she has also learned to develop her interview skills.

“I think students that go to Tech are ‘people-people,’” she said. “We can talk to anyone, we are relatable, and people enjoy being around us.”

Lepard spent her summer living with a fellow Texas Tech student, Meagan Phillips, a senior dual advertising and Spanish major, who was interning at a multi-cultural advertising agency.

Phillips, from Graham, said she and Lepard had the opportunity to experience both sides of the big city by escaping the crowds and staying in the area around their Columbia dorm, or by keeping pace with the crowds in the Manhattan streets.

“We got both sides of New York, and it was kind of cool we weren’t living in midtown Manhattan,” Lepard said. “We could get out and be in the cool hippie atmosphere, compared to the hustle and bustle in the city.”

Phillips said she didn’t see Lepard often during the week while they were both busy with their jobs, but they would always make time to go and try different foods in the city after work.

“We would go out to dinner and try different types of food every night,” Phillips said. “We are all kind of adventurous with foods.”

Broadway shows were also a popular outing that they said they enjoyed doing on the weekends.

“I saw about seven or eight Broadway shows and that was definitely my favorite thing about New York,” Lepard said, “and of course we’d go get cheesecake after.”

Lepard said because of her internship she learned many valuable lessons and gained a number of experiences. She said she was exposed to many different cultures and to a very diverse city.

Through meeting and working with a wide range of people, Lepard said she made many connections at Fox.

“A lot of those people came from different markets all across the country,” she said, “and they are willing to call their friend in say Florida, and say, ‘Hey, I have an intern that was great and needs a job, can you help her out?’”

Even though Lepard was able to live a very memorable and culturally expanding summer, she returned to Lubbock for school in the fall – something she was very happy about.

“It was so nice to eat some Mexican food again,” she said, “be in West Texas, to see people waving at you when they pass, and of course, the hospitality that is ever-present here in West Texas in this college atmosphere – I love college.”

Tyler Beakley is a junior public relations major form Kerrville, Texas.