In just a semester, Maeghan Roberts (CSF 14) has made the city of Washington her very own. She has gone behind the scenes to see and do more than many Washingtonians have, including visiting the White House to watch Marine One take off, going on a private tour of the White House press room, meeting Sen. John McCain and working and meeting with national media correspondents.
Roberts, a senior at State University of New York Oswego, is a student in the TFAS Capital Semester program this fall. Throughout the semester, she has been interning with “CBS This Morning.” She and the other Capital Semester students live just steps away from the U.S. Capitol building in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. “They [the apartments] are perfectly located and are cozy and nice,” said Roberts. “TFAS does a great job at matching roommates. The first night we moved in, my roommates and I went to dinner. It was like sitting with friends that you hadn’t seen in a long time.” Both housing and a network of friends, in addition to a guaranteed internship, were a huge draw for Roberts to attend the TFAS Capital Semester program.
Roberts, who hopes to be a national broadcast journalist in the future, says that her internship with CBS has been invaluable. In her role at CBS, she works closely with producers to confirm logistics of live shots for reporters, constantly reads news to think of stories to pitch, attends as many shoots as possible and constantly learns from “the best of the best”. “We are like a family,” said Roberts.
She attended the “Face the Nation” 60th Anniversary Party with her CBS family, where she met Sen. John McCain, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Rob Portman and several media correspondents including Jake Tapper and Luke Russert. She also got to work on “Face the Nation” and meet host Bob Schieffer. “CBS has taught me how to tell a story better and how to be a storyteller,” said Roberts. “I want to thank CBS for having the confidence in me … and for giving me the ability to grow and take advantage of different opportunities.”
One such opportunity was producing the live shot portion of this segment for “CBS This Morning.”“To have an intern go and produce something that’s going live nationally at seven in the morning is something that [requires] a lot of trust,” said Roberts. She is grateful for that trust and grateful that she will leave D.C. with more confidence in her abilities than when she arrived.
In addition to interning, Roberts and the other Capital Semester students have been taking upper level courses accredited by George Mason University. Classes include: Theories of Constitutional Interpretation, taught by Dr. John Samples of the Cato Institute; Economic Problems and Public Policies, taught by Dr. Brian Blase, a health care analyst for the Senate Republican Policy Committee; and Public Policy and Journalism Seminar, co-taught by TFAS alumna Karen Czarnecki (ICPES 88) of George Mason School of Law and Professor Richard Benedetto, formerly of USA Today.
“The classes have given me a well rounded perspective of problems and presented a different way of thinking,” Roberts said. The economics course has been especially interesting for Roberts, as she has not taken economics course since high school. Because of the course, Roberts said she now has a better understanding of the economic way of thinking which will help her ask questions in interviews or think of story hooks.
Her favorite class is the journalism seminar taught by Professor Benedetto. She loves Benedetto’s approach to what journalism should be. “Sticking to the roots [of journalism]: tell a story, tell it well, don’t worry about being the first one out there, get your story right and get both sides of the story,” is her impression of Benedetto’s philosophy. She plans to take that approach and continue to grow as a journalist and storyteller.
When she is not interning or working on class work, Roberts is exploring D.C. with her roommates. She had never had sushi before coming to D.C. and now she and her roommates get it once a week. Her favorite sushi spot: The Old Siam Thai & Sushi Bar on 8th Street SE.
Roberts has been chosen as the Capital Semester student speaker at the TFAS graduation ceremony next week on Friday, Dec. 12. “I’ve seen Maeghan grow as a professional at her internship and show active engagement in all her classes, guest lectures and briefings throughout the semester. I knew she was an ideal choice to speak on her Capital Semester experience,” said Capital Semester program associate Matt Phister (ICPES 13) in regards to selecting Maeghan. Roberts plans to highlight her favorite D.C. experiences in her speech, all made possible through TFAS. “This has been life changing,” said Roberts. She is so grateful to TFAS and the staff for making this semester possible for her.
She may be bidding D.C. goodbye, for now, but she is leaving with new skills, professional contacts and experience under her belt. When asked if she will return to the District after graduation, she said without hesitation, “Absolutely!”