Intern Spotlight: Joseph Layton-Santos, Kansas Wesleyan

January 24, 2018 The Washington Center

Joseph Layton-Santos from Kansas Wesleyan

Joseph shares how he was able to refine his knowledge in video production, interning for Double R Productions, and the importance of creating a network that can help you achieve your career goals. 

What is your name?

Joseph Layton-Santos.

What school are you currently attending?

Kansas Wesleyan University.

What are you studying?

I am a communications major and a business management minor.

Where are you interning?

A production company called Double R Productions.

What are some of the responsibilities you have there?

I am working as a production assistant. I am present on almost every shoot that we do. I help set up, I do transcripts, I do a lot of different things. I’ve shot, I’ve edited, I’ve helped to pick out music for the video. The company has been around in the DC area for thirty years now. In fact, we just celebrated our thirtieth anniversary this September.

Tell us about a project you worked on during your internship that was your favorite, the most challenging, or the most exciting.

So far, my favorite project was one where I got to go out and conduct news coverage of the March for Racial Justice. It started at Lincoln Park and it worked its way down to the National Mall. I acted as a reporter, so I got to interview protesters and even talk to one of the organizers of the event, Maurice Cook. That was very fun for me because I was able to interact with so many different people; I interviewed over ten. Picking them out of the crowd, talking with them, having a conversation with them and hearing their viewpoints on a matter as important as racial justice was very good and very interesting.

Have you been able to apply some of the learning from school to your internship thus far? On the flip side, how can you connect your work experience to your studies back at Kansas Wesleyan University?

Yeah, definitely. Since I’m a communications major, I took media classes at KWU, so I had prior knowledge coming into my internship that’s helped me with editing and shooting. I have experience working with cameras and also experience working with editing software. The software that we use at Double R is not the kind that I use at school; it’s more advanced here. But editing is basically almost the same thing, or at least a lot of the basic principles are the same. That’s really why I came to Washington -- to refine my editing and shooting skills, primarily. But being here at my internship, I’ve done a lot of different tasks. I wrote a press release for the first time. I wrote a thirty second speech, and then I had to record it on camera. I think when I go back to school, I’m going to be able to take a lot of the different technical aspects of shooting and editing and general work ethic and apply all of that to my schoolwork. I think I’ll actually be a better student because of this.

What is the most interesting or unexpected thing you’ve experienced since you’ve arrived in DC?

The most interesting thing is how close everything is. One day, I went out on a bike ride to the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian museums on a Sunday, and I just wasn’t expecting the closeness of it all. I woke up and said, “Hey, I want to go to a museum,” and I was able to just go and do it! I went to two museums on the National Mall: the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Museum of Natural History. So I just went to those on a random Sunday. I wasn’t expecting to do that beforehand, and I think that’s so cool that you can do things unexpectedly and just find little things to do in DC that are fun and interesting. You just can’t do that anywhere else.

How have you expanded your professional network for future career opportunities?

What I’ve found is that you can expand your network in unexpected ways. I wanted to do an informational interview with the boss of one of my good friends, and the only way to really talk to his boss is to go play basketball with him on Wednesday nights. I went, and played basketball with all of these professionals; one of them is even a doctor for the Redskins! You would never expect to network and get connections that way, but he gave me a job opportunity. Somebody had emailed him about a job involving video work, and he told me, “Hey, I know you’re in video work. Here you go.” So I’m trying to set that up and see if I can maybe get a job out here.

How has this experience shaped or impacted your career goals?

I want to get into sports media. I think this experience is helping me decide what I really want to do with my life, and I think it’s been beneficial being in Washington. Here I’m surrounded by a lot of different people -- people from all over the world -- and I can interact with them and broaden my horizons as a result.

Finally, what advice do you have for other students considering an internship with TWC?

They should definitely come! It’s a great program, and it’s not like anything I’ve ever done. You get to meet people from all over the world. I have three roommates who are international students, and I’m learning their culture. For example, I’m learning the differences in how we interact with each other; I’m learning the little things like what they like to eat; what they like to cook. And they’re learning the American culture from me as well, like when I took them to WalMart. Just looking at the bewilderment on their faces when they saw everything laid out! I would also say that you have to be open to every experience, but don’t set yourself short. Always just be on the lookout for anything and everything. If someone says, “Let’s go here,” and it may not even be in your interest, just go do it for the experience.

About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 individuals from across the U.S. and around the globe expand their academic pursuits into rewarding jobs and careers. We use our scale and expertise to deliver solutions that open career pathways for learners, solve recruitment challenges for employers, while helping create greater access, equity, advancement and representation.

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