A “must-do” list for making the most out of the fall in Syracuse

Capacity limits, social distancing, mask mandates and campus outbreaks of COVID-19 left few opportunities for Syracuse University students to explore the city and the surrounding areas last year. With over 90% of Syracuse University students and over 70% of New Yorkers now vaccinated, restrictions are slowly lifting as we move toward a new normal. If you’re craving a “normal” Syracuse University fall semester, here are three things that might bring you a step closer to normalcy.

Students walking through the Syracuse University promenade on a sunny fall day.

Attend the New York State Fair: Aug. 20-Sept. 6

The New York State Fair is an affordable 18-day celebration of delicious food, eye-opening exhibits, captivating entertainment and great fun. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry; Syracuse University typically provides transportation to the fair, and Centro, Syracuse’s transportation service, provides shuttles to and from the fairgrounds. Entrance to the fair is only $3 for adults!

Here are some of things to do at the state fair:

Go to the first games of the season.

Go apple or pumpkin picking!

Central New York is beautiful in the fall, and one of the best ways to experience the beauty  of nature is through apple or pumpkin picking.

Taylor Krzeminski is a graduate student in the public diplomacy and global communications program at the Newhouse School.

Newhouse Insider: Looking Back On My Decision To Come To Newhouse

Adriana Rozas Rivera

I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you all that Newhouse was not my first choice. I was very much trying to avoid moving anywhere colder and snowier than Boston, MA. I applied to Newhouse just to have another option, but never thought I’d come here until I visited. I flew to Syracuse for the weekend the week before COVID-19 lockdown. I expected to be in and out without changing my mind about the school. That weekend did the opposite and after one year at Newhouse, I’m now more sure than ever that it was the right choice for me.

Newhouse’s many services and prestige intrigued me but that didn’t feel like enough to convince me to move so far away from home. It all came down to the professors. I remember chatting with many of them—who I’ve now come to know well through my classes—and thinking: Wow, they really seem to care about the students. I immediately felt welcome by all staff and faculty I met. Everyone wanted to know how my time working on a campaign was going, or what it was like living in Puerto Rico, or what beat I’d like to specialize in. Throughout your application process, you’ll get a “vibe” from the different schools. I won’t name names but some schools make you feel like another statistic, customer, or tourist. Newhouse felt different.

When the time came to make the decision, I was very focused on the financial feasibility of each school. Newhouse happened to be the cheapest alternative for me and while deciding solely on affordability made me jumpy, I was reassured by that gut feeling that the professors would make the move to Upstate New York worth it.

It’s been a year since that decision, and I can confidently say I have no regrets about coming to Newhouse. It’s been the most transformative year of my career and I owe it all to my professors. I walked into this program with zero journalistic experience and am walking out as a multimedia and magazine journalist with a bunch of clips. That gut feeling I had about the professors was right: they really do care. They won’t just teach you for an hour and twenty minutes twice a week. They’ll brainstorm story ideas with you; they’ll help you edit pitches; they’ll recommend you for opportunities; they’ll connect you with alumni; they’ll read your story, edit it, read it again, and discuss it with you; they’ll suggest publications to target for your work; they’ll bring you bagels on the last day of class; they’ll let you vent about school and offer advice.

So, take it from someone who wasn’t sure if they should come to Newhouse: it’s worth it. I have no doubt my resume is better because I came here. My network has grown (the Newhouse mafia is real) and my LinkedIn and portfolio have developed more than they ever had. But most importantly, professionally I am a changed woman. I now see myself doing things I had never considered. Thanks to Newhouse I’m interested in audio and video (surprising considering I had never once imagined myself using Premiere). I walked in expecting to become a political newspaper reporter and am walking out very much decided that newspapers are not for me. And that’s okay. Because the point of coming to Newhouse is figuring out that you don’t have one path in journalism— there’s millions of options for you, and you can explore all of those paths at SU.

Newhouse Insider: What I’ve Learned about Networking

Madison Foltz

The past year brought changes in how we communicate, work and socialize. It’s also changed how we network as young professionals. Here are a few of the biggest things I’ve learned about networking over the past year:

In March 2020, I was supposed to attend SXSW in Austin, TX with a group of students from my undergrad university. A big part of the SXSW experience is the networking opportunities it brings, and I was excited to already have a few meetings set up with professionals from industries I was interested in. When SXSW was canceled days before my flight, the trip coordinator encouraged us to not let those connections go and still reach out to people we had scheduled meetings with. I followed through on LinkedIn and was able to have some great conversations with professionals who shared how the pandemic was affecting them as it was just unfolding.

I was happy to see how receptive people were to chatting with me, even if it was only for a few minutes. Once I got to Newhouse later in 2020, I realized it wasn’t just me who thought people seemed more open to networking online. Professors encouraged us to connect with that person who has a role at your dream company and find out more about what they do. It’s not about having the expectation that that random connection might open the door to a job somewhere down the road (although it totally might), but it’s about learning more about the companies and industries you’re interested in through the eyes of the folks actually working in those roles. If you’re connecting with a stranger on LinkedIn, adding a personal note with your invitation can go a long way in breaking the ice.

If you can stand to spend extra time in front of your computer, check out some professional development workshops or courses. The Newhouse Career Development Center offers lots of useful seminars and events that you should take advantage of. In addition to the Job Hunt series which gets you access to the Newhouse Network, the CDC hosts resume and cover letter workshops, career fairs and more every semester. The university’s Career Services office has plenty of great resources, too. You never know who you might meet through one of these events who might help you later in life!

Don’t get discouraged if the contact you reached out to hasn’t read your message or replied to your email. Be strategic in who you connect with and focus on building authentic relationships; it takes time and can be hard to know what success looks like in networking. Go in with realistic expectations for the relationship— as in, don’t expect a connection to hook you up with a job after a few conversations. Your connections probably won’t pay off immediately, but maintaining them properly is just as important as making them in the first place!

Newhouse Insider: Advice for Incoming Grad Students

Madison Foltz

When I started as a Newhouse graduate student last summer, graduation seemed distant and challenging. Professors and last year’s students said the year would fly by, and they were right. Now, I’m leaving Syracuse in just a few short months and preparations are well underway for Newhouse to welcome the next group of master’s students this summer. As intense and stressful as grad school was at times, my experience here has been nothing less than transformative and highly rewarding. Drawing on everything that’s happened in the past year, here is some advice for new students: 

Even during the pandemic, Newhouse and SU made the effort to continue offering some awesome programming and events that everyone should take advantage of. From professional development workshops to concerts and Q&As with celebrities (Eric Andre and Dan Levy, for example!), you can always find something interesting to give you a break from classes every week. I even went roller skating and ice skating with some friends a couple of times, which was a fun way to get out from behind our computer screens. Hopefully, new students won’t have to worry about that as much going forward and the school will be able to offer more in-person events and programs.

There’s plenty to do and see in Syracuse, but don’t forget to explore the area to take in what else Central New York has to offer. If you’re into hiking, check out some of the trails and parks only a short car ride away like Green Lakes and the Clark Reservation. If you’re willing to drive a bit further, you can visit the village of Cazenovia east of Syracuse or Skaneateles to the west near the Finger Lakes and find plenty of amazing restaurants and artisan shops. If you can spare the time and money, a day trip or long weekend away from Syracuse is well worth it! I don’t know the next time I’ll be back to CNY, so I have a lot of plans for my last few months here.

Echoing what was said to me last year as an incoming grad student, a year in Syracuse will be over sooner than you expect — maximize what you do with your time. Prioritize your studies, of course, but make time to visit that cute restaurant you saw online and go to the show or cool event you saw advertised. On and off campus, there are too many options for you to spend every weekend at home! Also, take your professors up on their offers to help you with networking and professional development. They genuinely want to help, and you never know when one of their connections could help you later on down the road after you’ve left Syracuse. Making and keeping those lasting relationships with friends and faculty here will make a huge difference in your overall graduate school experience. Good luck and best wishes!

Newhouse Insider: When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Kaitlyn Tambasco

I still remember the day I walked into the student employment office at my undergrad institution and asked for help with finding a job on campus. It was something that I wanted, and needed. I didn’t have a car on campus my first year, so I was almost forced to work on campus. Before that day, I had applied to about 15 different positions on campus, and either got denied, or they already had someone lined up for the position. The person I spoke with told me to just keep applying, because I just never knew when a position that was for me would present itself.

By the end of my first year of undergrad, I had successfully found a job. Was it ideal? No. However, it was something that was a new experience for me, and was something I could learn from. That position was the advertising manager for the student newspaper. I had already been a staff writer for the paper, so I was able to slide right into this new position. It was something that I was able to keep until the beginning of the following semester, and then was offered more of a reporter position. From there, I found myself working my way up with the newspaper. I was assistant news editor the following year, and the year after that, I got to be managing editor. After a rough start with finding a campus job, things really worked out.

The same thing happened to me when I got accepted into Newhouse. About halfway into bootcamp, I decided to start looking for campus jobs. I had looked at everything from an assistant in the band room, to interviewing for a communications position in the technology department. Unfortunately, I was not successful with anything.

It wasn’t until a couple weeks into the fall semester, that I got an email about professors needing research assistants. I ended up applying to be Professor Greg Munno’s assistant, and was successful. I was able to jump right in with assisting him with his research. I did everything from researching scholarly articles, to analyzing and sorting results from a survey. One of the biggest things I took away from this position was learning more about the importance of objectivity in journalism. Since this position, I view journalism a lot differently, and it became something that I value even more than I did before.

By the following semester, I found myself taking up a different research opportunity with Professor Steven Pike. In this role, I’m currently assisting with the creation of a public relations textbook. I am researching campaigns and cases and breaking them down by goals, tactics, strategies and other components. Even though I’m in the magazine, news and online journalism program, I still have an interest in public relations, as that’s what I mainly did in undergrad.

Now, with just weeks away from graduation, the advice I got from the student employment office is still true. Sometimes you just never know when an opportunity will present itself. Also, when a company says no, it just gives another company the chance to tell you yes. Even though the job search can be stressful, it’s so important to remember this. If I had gotten a position in the admissions office, or in the bookstore in undergrad, I probably wouldn’t have developed my love for journalism, or for research.

When one door closes, another one opens.

Newhouse Insider: My Experience Applying for the Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellowship

Adriana Rozas Rivera

I’ve mentioned this in my previous posts, but I’ll say it again: there are so many opportunities at Newhouse, it’s overwhelming. It’s certainly been the most surprising part of my time here. One opportunity I had my sights set on since I enrolled was the Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellowship.

While there aren’t a whole lot of “study abroad” experiences for graduate students in the Magazine, News, and Digital journalism program, the Pulitzer Center fellowship is your ticket to an international reporting project. Here’s a little bit about my experience researching and applying for this program:

The fellowship is geared toward students from different universities that are interested in doing an international reporting project on an underreported issue. One recipient is chosen from each participating university and awarded $3,000 to complete their project.

Newhouse will host info sessions in the fall for those interested. You should take advantage of these, get a feel for what the Center is looking for, and the types of students that have won in the past. An example of a Pulitzer Center project is Micah Castelo’s travels to the Philippines. Your pitch can be whatever you want it to be, which is the beauty of this opportunity. No molding yourself to tell stories you’re not interested in—you call the shots here.

If selected, you can choose what medium to build your story in (it will likely be two parts in two different mediums). You will get mentorship from the Pulitzer Center’s staff and other award recipients. So not only do you get to pitch your own project, report it, and write it but you also make extraordinary connections. And at the end of it all, the Pulitzer Center flies you down to Washington D.C. to meet the other award recipients.

To prepare for the application, I started brainstorming and had zero ideas. COVID-19 was also something to consider—would I be able to travel for the fellowship when the time came? I decided to write about what I know best: my birthplace, Puerto Rico. Surely, I could find a underreported issue on the island to write about.

Funnily enough, I hit writer’s block again. So, I started asking friends and family: what are you curious about? What do you want to learn about? Little by little, ideas started to form in my brain. I settled on three different stories but wasn’t sure which would work best. I turned to my Newhouse professors and bounced the ideas off them. I highly suggest doing this with a trusted advisor. They can help you expand the idea or tell you if it won’t work well for the fellowship.

In the end, after their feedback, I chose a story idea and started my application. I did some initial reporting, interviewing a few sources to get a better sense of what the story would look like. This is also something you might want to do before even pitching it to your professors, because I had a few ideas that after initial reporting turned out to be not-so-great.

You send your application through Newhouse who selects the top students and sends the applications to the Pulitzer Center, who selects the winner. The application has multiple components: you type up a pitch in 500 words or less, create a budget and itinerary, submit three references, suggest publications to pitch your story to, and submit three clips. Application requirements might vary by school and year, but I found the application simple and to the point.

For my pitch, I made sure to describe a story idea that was compact, realistic, but out-of-the-box. You want to be sure you’re not pitching too many stories in one. I also wanted to show why I was the perfect writer for it. You apply in January and find out around mid-March if you were selected. It was nerve-wracking to wait.

I must admit that I wasn’t entirely confident about my idea. I was worried it was too broad, or that others had better ideas (someone always does—and that’s okay!). Even though my professors helped, I was also concerned I didn’t have very impressive clips to submit. I only started my reporting career a year ago, so many other applicants surely have years of experience over me. Despite all these doubts, I sent the application out into the void, hoping for the best, but keeping expectations low.

After receiving an email informing me I made it to the top three candidates, I thought I had peaked.

In mid-March, I found out I won the fellowship. I’m surprised (if you haven’t noticed), but I’m excited that I had this opportunity to practice crafting a complex, long-form pitch and to learn a little bit of patience with myself when developing ideas. The stress toughens you up (ha!). So, stay tuned for my story on menstrual injustices in Puerto Rico, coming to you next fall! Moral of this story is, even if you’re not sold on your idea, apply. You might take yourself by surprise.

Newhouse Insider: This Goes out to the Underdog

This is the story of finding out I was accepted into the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Kaitlyn Tambasco


Just by hearing the name once, I get chills.

The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University is one of the most prestigious communication schools in the country. It is a school that receives hundreds of applicants each year, and only accepts a couple hundred for their master’s programs.

Back in high school, I remember hearing that a friend of mine looked at Newhouse for undergraduate work, but I don’t think she ended up applying. That was the first time I heard that name, and since then, it’s sat with me.

Even though I ended up not applying to SU for my undergraduate, I decided to give them a chance for my graduate work. However, it was a last minute decision. It wasn’t until one day in one of my communications classes, I heard “Newhouse,” again. That sparked something in me and on that day, I decided to go on their website to get more information. Wow. I was absolutely amazed. However, I was a little bit frightened. I noticed that more than half of the students that apply there are rejected and that some programs have as few as five or six students. After seeing that, I knew I wasn’t going to get in, but in a way, still wanted to see what the school was all about.

A month later, I found myself on Syracuse University’s campus. I was absolutely amazed. We got to meet all of the program directors that day and some of the current students. I noticed that a common theme among the students, was this thing called “boot camp.” Now I have a lot of respect for our military, but after watching “Cadet Kelly” at a young age, I was a little bit afraid. The boot camp program was obviously nothing like it is in the military, but from what the students said, it is very intense. They said that it is basically an extended orientation where students just jump right in. After hearing that, however, one of the things I thought of after visiting was “am I good enough?” I thought about how I tend to be overlooked and am someone that kind of just fades into the background. That’s when I really thought about not applying again. I had it in my head that I wasn’t going to get accepted. However, when senior year finally came along, I decided to take a chance and apply. I had applied to both the Public Relations program and the Magazine, News and Online Journalism program. I had met faculty from both programs, and after that, knew that I was going to study one or the other. After sending in my first application, I shook. I had done it. I had taken a chance on a very prestigious program. Once all of the recommendation letters were in and the two interviews were complete, the waiting process began.

I would check my email just about everyday. I had also emailed Professor Chessher, the chair of the MNO program, to let her know that I had applied. She emailed me back telling me she remembered me well from the open house, and that she looks forward to reviewing my application.

On the morning of Jan. 24, Newhouse had emailed me an infographic that best described their current graduate students. I looked at the infographic and quickly realized that both the PR program and the MNO program had 26 students. That was it. That was about the size of a normal class at Utica College. I was really nervous at that point and then found myself in this “overthinking” mode.

Well, at exactly 2:29 p.m. on that same day, I had received an email from Newhouse. I did not even read the entire email at first and just saw “Congratulations!” I blacked out quite honestly and slammed my computer down. I then stood up and got myself back together. I then looked on my phone to make sure I saw what I saw. Sure enough, there were two emails there. The emails were both accepting me into the PR program and the MNO program. That was when I ran right into my suitemate’s room to let her and my roommate know that I was accepted into Syracuse. According to them, they didn’t understand me at first because I was so excited. The tears that were streaming down my face, were in fact happy tears. I had worked so hard to get in there, and despite my own self-doubt, I showed myself I am worthy. That night, my suitemates and I went out to celebrate, as they knew I had wanted this for a long time.

I just kept going, and surely enough, I accomplished a big dream of mine. I was accepted into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.


Newhouse Insider: Personal Portfolio Workshop

Oh, look, how fancy, this person has a website.

Adriana Rozas Rivera

Before, when I met folks with websites, it never once occurred to me to put one together— or that I could even figure out how to. This wasn’t a big deal when I used to be a science major. Career counselors tell you to focus on your research, your resume, your LinkedIn. No one ever mentioned building a website. The minute I left science and started a career in communications, that changed.

Recruiters, professors, friends, everyone asked for my website. But the most I had ever coded was on Tumblr and there’s a reason I’m doing a master’s in journalism and not in computer science. I am the opposite of “techy.” Newhouse offers website design courses, but that seemed like pure torture. Without taking a full-semester class, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get a site up and running but I knew I had to.

When I got the email about the MND, MNO, and AJC Personal Portfolio Workshop, helmed by Professor Adam Peruta, it seemed like a blessing from the website building gods. For those who don’t want to take a full website design class, this workshop shows you how to build your portfolio site via Squarespace. This means NO CODING! Plus, if you take the workshop, the Magazine, News, and Digital Journalism department will reimburse you up to $75 toward the cost of website hosting.

After taking the workshop this semester and having a site 100% completed, I can finally say I highly recommend you take advantage of this workshop in the future if you can (FYI: this year it was restricted to juniors, seniors, and graduate students). During a normal year, the workshop would be in-person. For us, it was fully virtual, and we had the whole semester to build our site at our own pace, which was nice. I’ve been working on it for over a month now, getting feedback from peers, tweaking it little by little.

The “workshop” was a 5-page PDF sent out to those of us that signed up that has four videos and supplemental text instructions. You don’t have to sit on Zoom and listen to a professor talk you through Squarespace. It’s sort of a DIY version of the workshop. The four videos made available for those taking the workshop are: Planning and Examples, Signing Up with Squarespace, Picking a Domain Name, and Using the Squarespace Editor. I found myself using the videos mostly and felt that I could put together my site without needing much external help. (Anything not covered in the videos that might come up, like embedding podcasts or other types of media, is a quick Google search away.)

I thought the videos were a good length (around 10-11 minutes long) and engaging. I was worried they would be too long and I would zone out. I was also scared that Squarespace would be difficult and unintuitive for someone like me (with no website design experience) to pick up. While it has its quirks, I thought Squarespace was pretty easy to learn.

If there’s one thing I could complain about, it’s that because it was virtual, we didn’t have a professor giving constant advice throughout the building process. If you take a class or take this workshop in person, you might be able to engage more and have back and forth discussions with the professor on your site and content. Luckily, I asked Prof. Peruta for advice and feedback via email, which worked well.

Overall, I’ve had a fantastic experience with the workshop and it really didn’t take too much time to have it up and running. You can make it as simple or as complex as you like. And definitely check out rozasrivera.com to see my finished product!

Newhouse Insider: Old Forge, New Outdoor Weekend Getaway

Dominick Pfisterer

Growing up in Central New York, I know my way around the 315 quite well. I also know some of the great day trips you can take on a weekend that will get you through the worst of Mondays.

With the spring in the process of becoming sprung and the weather slowly crawling out of the permafrost that is an Upstate New York winter, it is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and the abundance of nature that New York has to offer.

About an hour and a half northeast of the Syracuse University campus is the hamlet of Old Forge, New York. Old Forge is a small town just outside of the Adirondacks where students can enjoy plentiful hikes, gorgeous lakes as well as New York’s largest waterpark – Water Safari.

I’ve spent so many great days in Old Forge. From renting kayaks to camping overnight and hiking the Adirondack mountains such as Bald Mountain and Black Bear Mountain, there are so many things to do that it is impossible to get through everything in one day. For such a small town, Old Forge has a lot of options for entertainment.

Spend your time shopping at the local stores unique to Old Forge’s Main Street, where you can get an authentic Adirondack experience. Literally, you can go to the Adirondack Experience (formerly known as the Adirondack Musuem).

With the weather getting warmer, summer is the perfect time of year to be out on the water. Old Forge is home to the Fulton chain of lakes which stretches over 8 miles and holds 6.8 billion gallons of water.

You can enjoy these beautiful lakes in a number of ways. Rent boats, kayaks and paddleboards or hop in for a swim at one of the beaches in Old Forge.

There are also plenty of restaurants to eat at in Old Forge. There are few things greater than watching the sunset drop into the lake while enjoying a nice dinner at Daiker’s Inn. Grab a donut at the famous Donut Shop to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The Pied Piper is a great ice cream spot right across the street from Water Safari. Rent go-karts at Calypso Cove or stay inside and enjoy their arcade.

Old Forge is a great place to hangout for the weekend. Syracuse students who love the outdoors should make the drive up to Old Forge and leave the fear of finals week behind.

Newhouse Insider: Tuning Into Virtual Programming at SU

Mackenzie Snell

One of the rays of sunshine that has poked through the dreary, cold, still-in-pandemic spring semester has been the phenomenal level of virtual programming available. Some have been Syracuse-wide presentations while others are more intimate conversations. Here are just a few:

The University Lecture Series is fairly well-advertised and announced early in each semester. These lectures bring phenomenal leaders, Pulitzer prize-winning authors, and groundbreaking artists to speak to Syracuse students. This semester saw people like Misty Copeland and Nyle DiMarco cover issues of race, accessibility, and the current pandemic. These one-hour talks are open and advertised to the whole school so they can be a bit busier than some of the others but are worth taking the time to watch. The most recent of these was a conversation with Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, it also served as a double hitter and was the opening keynote to the Deaccessioning After 2020 symposium.

Deaccessioning After 2020 was put on by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Law. Deaccessioning has been a buzzword in the art and museum world for the past year or two and this symposium was a phenomenal examination of pressing issues and discussions related to it. The symposium pulled in key figures in the debate surrounding deaccessioning including Christopher Bedford, Kaywin Feldman, and Carrie Mae Weems. It was attended by upwards of 800 people. Throughout the year, Syracuse hosts a variety of symposium-style events in coordination with different departments. 

To have access to the Newhouse alumni list, you need to attend two Career Development Center talks throughout the year. Although they may seem like just another hoop to jump through, they are packed with value. The CDC as a whole is a great resource for everything from having someone look over your resume to practicing your elevator pitch. This semester they are running a two-part session on job hunting in the communications field. The sessions are exceptionally useful because they provide advice as well as tangible tips and tricks. 

Different Newhouse programs also bring in speakers throughout the year. This year has seen the Golding program bring Soraya Nadia and McDonald and Alex Ross while Sports Media has brought Eric Salat and Cameron Lynch. These talks are a little bit harder to find but will often circulate on social media with sign-up links. Coming up on May 3rd is a conversation with David “Shingy” Shing as part of the Leaders in Communication series.

Coming up in a couple of weeks in SU’s own TEDx conference. The 2021 theme is The New Age on Enlightenment and will feature phenomenal speakers and stories. One of these speakers is Newhouse’s own Professor Tula Goenka who is a filmmaker and activist as well as professor. I have been lucky enough to be working with Professor Goenka on The Look Now project. 

Whether you are a current Newhouse student looking to add some more value to your final months here or a member of the class of 2022 looking for ways to maximize the value of your next year, I cannot recommend SU’s virtual programming enough.