By Mariah McCall
Greenlee student Jaden Urbi dreamed of living and working in New York City since she visited for a school trip during her sophomore year of high school. In her third year at Iowa State, the Cedar Rapids native decided to make her dream a reality by participating in the National Student Exchange Program, which placed her at New Jersey City University, in Jersey City, New Jersey — located just across the Hudson River from New York City.
Urbi, a junior in advertising, is spending her semester studying sociology at night and working as an ad sales intern for Discovery Communications in Midtown NYC, a few blocks away from Times Square. Discovery Communications owns popular television networks including the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, among others.
Urbi started off at Iowa State in journalism and switched to advertising to experiment with a more creative side of storytelling. “I honestly never even considered going into advertising, but I’ve found that I really love the creative process,” she says.
Urbi works in the commercial operations department for Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery. As an ad sales intern, she is responsible for confirming that all of the commercials that are scheduled to air on their station are correctly entered into the system. “It’s a specific part of the company, but it has really made me appreciate just how many people and all of the communication it takes to make sure so many networks run accordingly, 24/7,” Urbi states.
Urbi works 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. She has Sociology class from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays and an online class in Sex and Gender in Latin American Societies. Jersey City University is a smaller campus, which took some adapting to, coming from Iowa State. The urban, 57-acre campus was drastically different from Iowa State’s 1,984 acres.
Only 200 people live on campus, so for the most part, everyone knows each other, which Urbi says she enjoys. She admits it was tough to completely immerse herself in the NYC lifestyle since her campus is an hour and a half commute from downtown. “Luckily, I met some awesome people that are also at NJCU through the NSE program this semester and we hangout almost every day and spend our weekends in the city,” Urbi says.
Once her spring semester is over, Urbi will have earned 12 credits through the National Student Exchange Program — six for her two classes and another six for her internship. Urbi says that her experience has been a positive one and she encourages more students to do the National Exchange Program at some point in their college careers, saying that it’s a great way to experience different culture, classes and environment. “It’s made me so much more confident both personally and professionally” she says.
This summer she will stay in NYC to intern for NBC Universal in the Ad Sales Department of the comany’s Content Innovation Agency. Urbi plans to return to Iowa State for her senior year, and hopes to get another internship in the media industry to build up her portfolio before graduation. After graduation, she would love to work in unscripted television development. This is a competitive job often found in NYC or Los Angeles. If she doesn’t get this job, she hopes to work in a creative position at a food magazine or advertising agency.