NEW YORK CITY – John Katrus knew exactly how he could give back to his alma mater.
He just needed a little help from his friends.
Katrus, the senior manager in IT Infrastructure at ABC News in New York City, thought it would be cool to have students come by and tour where he works.
“I realized I’d gotten to the point where I could get some people here to help me,” said Katrus, a 2003 Xavier graduate with a degree in Information Technology. “And I started out as an intern, and it led me here.”
About 45 Xavier students in town for Xavier's Big East appearance, ventured out into the snowy weather Friday morning, March 10, to visit Katrus at the ABC News offices on West 66th Street in New York.
While they were able to see how the news was gathered, produced and delivered (and they also caught a brief glimpse of National News host David Muir), perhaps the most valuable lessons came from Kim Surabian, a recruiter for ABC parent company Disney.
Surabian noted that most of the entry-level personnel hired by the Disney companies, which include ABC, ESPN and the Disney Parks, come from their former interns. After all, she said, she started her career in the food service industry at the Disney Parks.
Katrus knew exactly what she meant. He was a former intern, and now he’s been at ABC News for almost seven years. “I interned between my junior and senior years at Xavier,” he said. “I made contacts, and eventually I was able to come back.”
The message was not lost on the students.
Paul Davidson, an Accounting and information systems major from New Hampshire, was especially interested in the possibility of an internship.
“(Katrus) gave me his card, so I already have a contact,” he said. “We have the same major—information systems—so I’ll be contacting him. I’d love to work for ESPN, and just getting the experience would be amazing. I’d be interested in whatever opportunities they have.”
Meredith Gerard, an Education major from Cincinnati, said she watches ABC, so she loved seeing the action behind the scenes.
“It was all really interesting,” she said. “This is something we wanted to come see, and to learn about all the opportunities to work here, too. Even an Education major can intern with them.”
Jesse Leuenberger, a Sport Management major from Seattle, said he has a new respect for the news operation. “It’s so big, with so many people double-checking everything,” he said. “I think we’re happy we got to see this."