Sophomore awed at internship

By on October 6, 2004

Most people only dream about getting the chance to meet their favorite celebrities. But for 19 -year-old sophomore Courtney Rice, it is all part of the job.

Rice, a bubbly, Texas-born broadcast journalism major, is an intern in the Entertainment Publicity department at NBC.

She learned about NBC’s internship opportunities through a program sponsored by career services about the NBC Page and Internship Program. Though she was not able to attend the seminar, she visited the program’s website (

“Over the summer while I was bored one day, I went to the site, looked at the application, and just filled it out,” Rice said.

Even though the application said that it would take the network at least three to five months to respond, Rice heard back in just 10 days. They interviewed her on Wednesday, offered her the job the very same day, and she started work the following Tuesday.

“The whole thing happened so fast,” Rice said. “The internship just like fell into my lap. I’m a big believer in fate and destiny, and I knew that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this.”

Rice has been interested in journalism for as long as she can remember.

“When I was little, I used to write short stories all the time,” Rice said. “I had one published in third grade call ‘The Three Chinese Chickens,’ so obviously I loved to write. Throw in the fact that I’m such a ham [and] broadcast journalism is the perfect major for someone like me.”

The internship requires Rice to take a forty minute train into New York City every Tuesday and Thursday and to work a minimum of twelve hours a day.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s exhausting,” she said. “But it’s an awesome opportunity and it balances out the draining travel.”

Her day consists of putting together “clip packets,” which includes printing out all the headlines from the network’s website,, snipping headlines from selected newspapers, photocopying them and putting them into envelopes for each of NBC’s different shows.

“Putting the packets together takes about two hours,” Rice said. “Then I go to photo shows, press events, and cast parties. I run on various errands, do clerical tasks and schedule events for different talents.”

Rice insists that all her hard work definitely has its perks; in particular, the opportunity to meet numerous celebrities.

“I’m keeping a list!” She said. “…Conan O’Brien, Carson Daly, Orlando Jones, Dave Chappelle, Selma Blair, Donald Trump, the entire cast of Apprentice 2, Bill Ranic (the winner of the first apprentice, and Kyle McLoughlin. I’ve also met the president of Universal a few times.”

Out of all them, she thinks that Dave Chappelle is her favorite.

“[Chappelle] is so down to earth and just a funny guy,” she said. “We really hit it off.”

So well, in fact, that he even invited her to go out on the town with him and his friends for drinks. However, since she is not 21, she declined.

“He was fun to chill with though. He told me, ‘Courtney, I could look into your eyes all day, girl!”

She also gets to take home some goodies from the office.

“Occasionally, they clean out all their old archives,” Rice said. “So I got my brother an autographed picture of Conan O’Brien. My mom loved ‘Ed,’ but it got cancelled, so I got her a signed copy of the script from the pilot episode.

I got my roommate an autographed script from ‘Third Watch’ and, for myself, the Rolling Stone cover of Saturday Night Live with Molly Shannon. She autographed her butt, so I’m framing all that.”

Rice has even had the chance to work red carpet events with some big-name stars, such as a “Law and Order” press event where she ate breakfast on the courtroom set featured in the show and watched the season premiere.

Rice also got the opportunity to work a cast party held by NBC to celebrate ‘Law and Order’s’ fifteenth season.

“It was the first time all three ‘Law and Order’ casts came together for a party,” Rice said. “My job was to walk the stars down the red carpet and make sure that all the photographers got their pictures, the camera crews got their interviews, and the paparazzi got their signatures…it was awesome.”

The party kept her much later than the designated office hours so to compensate NBC sent her home in style.

“At the end of the night they gave me my own limo all the way back to Connecticut!”

Despite the job’s glamour and glitz, Rice admits that it is difficult to balance work with school.

“I’m always exhausted, I never see my friends and roommates, it costs a lot of money for travel, and I sometimes feel disconnected from everyone. Sometimes I don’t want to go because waking up at five when you went to sleep at two is not fun.”

Rice feels that the sacrifice is worth the benefits.

“This is a great opportunity. When people look at my resume, they are going to see that I interned at NBC as a sophomore, not that I missed out on some social events and was tired all the time.”

Now that her foot is in the door, she hopes to one day achieve the success and fame of her idol, Katie Couric.

“[Couric] is my dream job epitome,” she said. “Starting at the bottom is what every great reporter has to do, and I figured, why not start at the bottom of a great company like NBC?”

She advises people looking for similar internships to look beyond the job’s attractive title.

“Choose wisely! All internships might sound glamorous, but make sure it’s something you are truly interested in. Make the best of it and meet as many people and do as many things as you can…always smile and be perky and upbeat.

Your ‘bosses’ don’t care if you got a half-hour of sleep…you’re there to learn and get the job done.

So smile – it makes everything better.”


About Dana Owen