Engineering major retains competitive fellowship
Solomon C. Puryear is learning all about the television industry while he earns a degree in engineering management technology at UTC.
Puryear was a senior at Germantown High School in Memphis when he and his family read a blog that mentioned a fellowship with Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media. Beginning as a rising college freshman, successful candidates can earn a salaried position each summer at a FOX television station and a matching scholarship for four years of college.
Puryear applied, interviewed, and was accepted to this competitive diversity program that receives 2,000 applications for 70 slots each summer. By keeping a minimum 3.0 GPA and passing an annual evaluation, Puryear, now a rising junior at UTC, has been successful in retaining his scholarship and his job at WHBQ FOX13.
Don’t look for Puryear in front of the camera—he’s doing important work behind the scenes.
“I worked in the IT department for two summers, and in the web department this summer. I’ve worked in the studio, on audio and camera. I enjoy attaining a new skill, I always want to learn,” Puryear said.
The fellowship also includes an annual trip to New York City for a conference. This year the foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary as a diversity pipeline program for the media industry, according to Phylis Eagle-Oldson, President and CEO of the Foundation.
The conference featured professional development seminars, a panel discussion on media industry Upfronts including Marianne Gambelli of Horizon Media, Peter Olsen of A+E Networks, JoAnn Ross of CBS Corporation, Michael Smith of Scripps Networks Interactive, and Keith Turner of Univision, keynote speakers Dave Senay, President and CEO of FleishmanHillard, and Byron Pitts of ABC News.
“It is an awesome experience!” Puryear exclaimed. I was born and raised in Memphis, and it is very exciting to go to New York City to network and be in rooms filled with executives and listen to their insights. It’s also a chance to meet those who have completed the program and have successful careers.”
Between 60-70 percent of those who retain their fellowships are hired in the industry, according to Eagle-Oldson.
“We hold a career fair for seniors,” she said. “This year, 17 companies were represented. Students have four and a half hours to network.”
When it is time for Puryear to attend, he says he may be looking for a career on the business and managerial side of engineering management technology.
“This program has given me exposure to all aspects of what goes on at a television station. It’s given me a well-rounded experience in the industry.”
For more information, visit www.EmmaBowenFoundation.com.
Watch the Emma L. Bowen Foundation 25th Anniversary Video.