Second year of WOUB Mentoring Program yields positive results for students and mentors

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ATHENS, OH – The second year of the WOUB Mentoring Program is wrapping up and has been beneficial for both current students and their mentors.

Current students working at the station are paired with former WOUB students who have already used the skills they learned while working at WOUB to launch successful careers. Where possible, the current students are paired with mentors who were already working in media positions the students were interested in pursuing. Some students got more than one mentor. Seventeen current students and 22 mentors participated in this year’s program. The pairs meet via Zoom.

CNN Content Producer Danielle Sills ‘09 was paired with Student Zanovia Criss, who is graduating this year. “It was great for Zanovia and I,” said Sills. “Hopefully she knows I’ll always be there for her.” Criss has accepted a position at WCNC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of TEGNA Media’s Producer in Residence Program.

Andre Norrils Headshot on NewsWatch desk
Andre Norrils

Junior André Norrils, a news and information major, was paired with Mike Rausch, a retired news director. The pairing provided Norrils with just the push he needed to continue growing as a journalist and take advantage of every opportunity.

“This summer I will be working as a news Intern at a station in my birthplace–Toledo, Ohio. This wouldn’t have happened if Mike didn’t push me to sign up for an interview slot when recruiters came to campus,” said Norrils. “Mike is very candid, and I appreciate it. My work has gotten better with his tips, and I’ve found it easier to find stories to report on since meeting with him. He has even connected me with other people to gain even more feedback. I would recommend every WOUB student participate in this mentorship program because it will make them better journalists.”

Lexi Lepof on NewsWatch desk
Lexi Lepof

When Lexi Lepof, a junior news and information major, asked if she could be assigned a mentor as part of the WOUB Mentoring Program, she had no idea that the relationship would be influential in helping put her on the road to achieving her dream. Lepof was paired with Mary Davies ‘09, who is a producer at NBC New York. Lepof recently learned that she got an internship at the station this summer.

“Once I did the final interview and felt good about it, I let [Mary] know,” Lepof said. “She sent a recommendation on my behalf following the interview which I think definitely gave me that extra push. I was the only candidate selected out of thousands of applicants. I am sure her recommendation helped me stand out when they were making final decisions.”

“It’s always fulfilling to mentor young journalists, but to have even the smallest influence on someone’s career trajectory is really the icing on the cake. I’m so excited not only for Lexi, but also for the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism as a whole. Since I’ve been at NBC New York, we’ve never had a Scripps or even an Ohio University student in our internship program, so I’m thrilled to finally see the Bobcats represented, and I couldn’t be more proud that Lexi is that representative,” said Davies. “It was truly my honor to recommend Lexi for the position, and I would love to see other alumni give back to the university that helped shape us by helping to place current students in working newsrooms around the country.”