Rowan Students Meet Harry Connick Jr. in NYC

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students stand outside the CBS Broadcast Center in NYCTo meet a celebrity and be a part of a daytime talk show can be a dream come true. On Wednesday January 25, 2017, this dream was realized for me and some other excited Rowan students who attended a free field trip, sponsored by the College of Communication & Creative Arts, to New York City for the taping of ‘Harry’, Harry Connick Jr.’s talk show.

two male students stand in front of the Harry Connick Jr. Show stage
PR major Jordan Appel and advertising major Donovan Vassolotti stand in front of the Harry stage.

The atmosphere at CBS Broadcasting Center in New York City was exhilarating as we were greeted by the excited employees and brought directly to the studio. Being backstage was awesome, but for me, the main stage was even better. In my mind, I had pictured what it would be like in the studio and figured we would sit in the very back. However, the audience coordinator placed us right in the very front of the audience! In fact, during a “commercial” break, Harry Connick Jr. came over to talk to his daughter who was right in front of me. I, like the fangirl I am, just stared at the star who was less than a foot away from me. Once he was done talking to her he looked up at me, smiled, and reached out his hand and said “Hi, how are you?” My eyes widened as I shook his hand and stuttered a reply, “G-good.” He went on to shake hands with the other students around me while I was still stuck in my world of ‘Oh-My-Gosh-I-Just-Shook-Hands-With-A-Celebrity.’

After the taping, we had a one-on-one discussion and ‘Q and A’ with the audience coordinator, who is also in charge of backstage planning. He encouraged us by talking about his own personal experience with internships and careers, and explained that if you just put yourself out there, make connections, and take hold of each opportunity that is presented to you then you will make it in this busy world. He reminded us that everyone starts where we are right now and that we just need to keep working toward our goals.

studio and stage at 'Harry' with employees setting up the showThis whole experience was made possible thanks to Professor Olga Vilceanu. A professor in the Department of Public Relations/Advertising, Vilceanu attained free tickets to the show for her Event Planning class and seized the opportunity to make it a memorable learning experience for her students. Usually she takes her students through the process of planning a big field trip or event; this year they get to do both. Students from the course will also help organize and plan this semester’s commencement ceremony. Vilceanu believes that we can’t learn everything from a book and that sometimes we must learn through hands-on experiences. This will be one hands-on experience we won’t soon forget.

By: Brianna Lund, Millville, NJ (Cumberland County)
Public relations major

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