Community Engagement

Leila Hoffpauir, 2020 Graduate, University of Southern California

Leila Hoffpauir, 2020 Graduate, University of Southern California

About You

Q: Tell us the college(s) you attended, the degree(s) you earned and your major(s).
University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts
Bachelor of Arts – Magna Cum Laude
Major: Cinema and Media Studies

Q: Please describe any internships or co‐ops that enriched your college experience. How have those opportunities affected you/your career plans?
A: Some of my most valuable internships have been in the television production space. I interned at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Both of these experiences were incredibly intense and fast-paced and solidified my desire to work in television production. After these internships, I spent time interning with the Today Show and CNBC, which helped me forge my transition into television news production as an ultimate career goal. Without these internship experiences, I am certain I would not have as strong of an idea of what I want my future career to look like.

The summer between my Sophomore and Junior year, I had the opportunity to travel to Birmingham in the UK on a Fulbright grant through the Fulbright US-UK Summer Institute. At the University of Birmingham, I studied film and media, which confirmed media production as my future career and passion.

Q: What led you to your selected field of study?
A: I’ve known I wanted to work in television since I was little, but I wanted a college experience that was going to meld theory and practice. The cinema and media studies major at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts provides this. There are incredible media theory classes paired with practical experience through production classes and internship experiences. Because of this, I was able to get loads of real world experiences that helped me find the sector of television that I wanted to work in.

Q: How did receiving this scholarship through the PPG Foundation assist/enhance/impact your college experience and how has it benefited you throughout your career?
A: Receiving the PPG Foundation scholarship has been an incredible advantage throughout my college experience. It helped me to make the choice to go to USC less of a financial burden and allowed me to focus on my classes and extracurriculars while at school. NMSC and the PPG Foundation were very accommodating when I required a semester leave of absence to go to New York and intern at The Daily Show and were so helpful with making sure my funds were there for me when I returned. This scholarship was the difference between having to worry about cobbling together that last little bit to make my college experience comfortable and not.

Q: What did this scholarship mean to you? Did it lead to any special opportunities?
This scholarship meant that I could attend a school like USC and not cause undue financial burden to myself or my family. Also being a part of the NMSC community was an invaluable resource throughout college. I was able to make connections through the community that were helped me find my niche in my chosen field of study and learn about others in completely disparate fields from myself.

Q: Now that you are graduated, what are your plans for the immediate future? Will you be entering the workforce or continuing your education? Please elaborate on your decision and future goals.
A: I am currently looking for work in the news production space, volunteering at local food banks, and also working on my future applications to MBA programs, which I plan to attend after getting a few years of work experience.

Q: What advice do you have for future students competing in this scholarship program?
A: I would tell future students to definitely start on their applications early and work on highlighting their high school accomplishments. Even if you think maybe you didn’t do that much in college you probably actually did way more than you think and make sure to include all of it.

Q: What advice do you have for students who are about to start/who are in college?
A: I would tell students starting college now that they should focus on getting as much out of their experience as possible, which might seem hard in the current moment but there are ways to do so. Make sure and get real work experience and take your classes seriously. College is a huge investment and you should treat it as such, and you’ll reap the rewards.

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