Friday, April 25, 2014

Life after Liberty: The Rachel McCormick story

  • Published: February 19th, 2013

One 2012 alumna uses her communication skills to turn an internship into a job working on Katie Couric’s show

For every student about to graduate from college, there is the anticipation that what was learned in school will lead to a remarkable career — the hope that four or more years of education, thousands of dollars spent and countless hours tirelessly burning the midnight oil might not be in vain.

Behind the scenes — McCormick has met celebrities at work, such as Taylor Swift. Photo provided

Rachel McCormick, a spring 2012 Liberty University graduate, received the opportunity of a lifetime to pursue an internship in broadcasting, which turned into a full-time position.

“How I ended up here is a total God story,” McCormick said.

According to McCormick, her passion for the communications field first began in high school, where she was involved in theater and public speaking.

“One of my (high school) teachers came up to me one day and said, ‘Rachel, you are an amazing communicator, you should really think about doing something in that field someday,’” McCormick said. “I think that was God’s little nudge and confirmation for me, because I had always thought I was interested in news and journalism, so I decided to run with it.”

According to McCormick, upon graduation, she went off to do a summer internship at NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams. Finishing in August, she wanted to find another job opportunity, preferably in the broadcasting field.

A friend of McCormick’s introduced her to an individual who worked for Katie Couric. This presented her with the chance to interview for “Katie,” Couric’s newest talk show on ABC. Couric, a journalist and author, has hosted many well-known television programs.

Two days after completing her internship with NBC, McCormick was accepted to Couric’s show.

According to McCormick, after being hired on as an intern, things started slow, mostly running errands and getting people coffee, but she said that it was mostly for celebrities, so that made the task exciting.

Through her internship, McCormick had the opportunity to meet pop idol Taylor Swift, one of her favorite artists.

“I know how much Rachel loves Taylor Swift, and the day Taylor came on the Katie show, I told her she had to meet her,” a close friend of McCormick’s, Alexandra Black, said. “Of course she did. Meeting Taylor Swift had to be one of the best moments of her short career at Katie.”

According to McCormick, her role working on the Katie show has grown to include involvement in guest relations and heavy work with production. The show hired her to work with the audience department as a page, which is the next step above an intern.

“As you can imagine, a live audience is a crucial part of a daytime show,” McCormick said. “No audience equals no show, so our job is pretty important. I am learning so much and having a lot of fun.”

According to Liberty professor Bruce Kirk, McCormick is a godly woman who has a tremendous work ethic and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

McCormick said that Kirk, along with professors Deborah Huff, Amy Bonebright and Amanda Carver, were some of her biggest influences at Liberty.

“The (communications) professors at Liberty were a huge component in leading me to where I am today,” McCormick said.

Kirk described McCormick as a bright student who had a lot more skill than she probably gave herself credit for, and that she knows what she is talking about.

According to Kirk, McCormick is not a student who needs to brag about her abilities.

“She reminds me of a young lady that I hired in television a number of years ago, who I think, much like Rachel, sort of just said, ‘This is what I want to do, and I’m going to find a way to go do it,’” Kirk said.

According to McCormick, Liberty has so many great opportunities to get involved with that look great on a résumé and give people practical, hands-on experience.

“Liberty is truly a one-of-a-kind place in every way,” McCormick said. “I will never forget the friends that I made and the experiences I had at Liberty.”

McCormick urged all those in communications, or any other major, to take advantage of any and all opportunities presented while they are still in school. She said that there is no such thing as too much experience in today’s job market.

McCormick currently lives in New York City and continues to work on the Katie show. She said that although this is a stepping stone in her career, she knows that students have to start small, for even Couric did not become who she is overnight.

“The real world is definitely not easy, and sometimes I do have moments when I wish I could just be 10 years old again and run to my mommy and ask her to make all my decisions for me,” McCormick said. “But God is faithful in every area and will never fail to take care of you even when things may be scary.”

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