Solid ground for LA program

by Beacon Staff • October 3, 2007

Emerson College is preparing to make its 17-year-old Los Angeles campus permanent, expanding the scope of the program to allow about 125 students to study there each semester, up from about 90 students per semester now. David Rosen, Emerson's vice president of public affairs, said the college is still evaluating potential sites in Hollywood.

The satellite campus would also include alumni relations and career services facilities, he said. There are approximately 2,500 Emerson alumni living in Southern California, out of 22,000 worldwide.

"There's a sense that Emerson belongs in Los Angeles and should have some sort of permanent operation. We don't currently have that, even though we've been out there since 1990," Rosen said in an interview with the Boston Globe.

Students at the Los Angeles center take one course while working at an internship in Hollywood, according to Jim Lane, executive director of the Los Angeles Center. He said the internship program has changed considerably since 2001.

"The basic principal stemmed from a notion of experiential learning: that the students take what they've learned in the classroom and attempt to apply it in a field-of-study kind of situation," Lane said.

The college currently rents the facilities used to house and serve as classrooms for Emerson students in Los Angeles), Rosen wrote in an e-mail to the Beacon.

Senior marketing major Jolie Jankowitz participated interned at The Core, a talent management company specializing in comedic performers, this summer in the Los Angeles program.

"There are way better opportunities in L.A., way better than in Boston or even New York. There are so many internships it's disgusting, and there are so many Emerson alumni who are willing to help you out," she said.

Though Emerson's satellite campus on the West Coast is impermanent, the number of students in the program has grown to more than four times its original size.

According to Jim Lane, the program has grown from less than 20 students per semester at first to 90 today.

"Los Angeles is still the media capitol of the United States, if not the world, so it does make a lot of sense for us to have a campus out here," Lane said.

Greg Newman, who plans to apply for the program, said he is excited to see the nexus of the film industry.

"I want the first-hand experience of the business itself," Newman, a senior film major, said. "I've been learning about the creative side here at Emerson, and now I want to get a first-hand look at the economics of the industry."

At 8 a.m. on October 9, the Los Angeles program applications for the Summer 2008, Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters will be posted online.

Students like Brook Runyan and Newman said they will be up early to get their applications in as quickly as possible that morning.

Runyan, a junior TV/video major said he hopes to take advantage of Southern California's culture and find an internship that will land him employment after college.

"I'm excited for the beach, and professionals in my field, maybe professionals in my field on the beach," he said.