We got a chance to speak with Julia Aubuchon, an alumna who moved from sunny Florida to snowy New York and lived to tell the tale. Read along to learn about her life and how her IB experiences helped inspire her current job — working on the television program Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!
First off, can you describe a bit about your background?
I was a part of the IB Program at Fort Myers High School in Fort Myers, Florida. While I had some of the best years of my life in high school, my senior year was wrought with indecision and trepidation. I had no idea what to do next. Where would I go to college? What would I major in? So I went into my guidance counselor’s office one afternoon and laid it all out on the table. I explained my interests in journalism, my love for TV Production, and my passion for my IB Photography class. My counselor told me if I was serious about journalism, I should look into Syracuse University, and so I did. I applied; only to find out I was deferred. Not totally disappointed, I enrolled at the University of Florida. Then, a few weeks later, came the curve ball. A week before high school graduation, I found out I had been accepted into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. So I booked a flight to New York that weekend, saw the campus, and fell in in love.
College was tough my freshman year. I went from living in the Sunshine State to one of the snowiest cities in the country. I went from having a solid group of friends to not knowing a single person. At times, I thought I wanted to move back home, but I took the obstacles as a challenge and I grew. By the time graduation rolled around, I had double majored in Broadcast Journalism and Geography, I went from being a deferred student to one of 12 Newhouse Scholars, I had studied abroad for a semester in London, and had written several articles for the international platform, ABCNews.com.
A week after college graduation, I was on my way back up to New York. This time it was for a second round of interviews for the NBC Page Program. I had heard a lot about the program, avidly watched the sitcom 30 Rock, and thought it would be the perfect way to continue my love for television. Fortunately for me, I was accepted into the program. I worked as a Page for 10 months before taking a job at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which is where I am today!
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the IB?
In a world where everything has gone so digital, one of my favorite memories of the program was my IB Photography class. Not only did the course allow me to express my creative side, but it also provided me with an opportunity to learn how to develop my own film. It was no longer just about taking a picture and uploading it onto a computer. It was now a truly organic process of spending hours in a darkroom working to create a single, compelling photograph. The idea that this was considered “school”, was beyond me. My love for the class eventually translated into my work, and I received a 7 on the IB test!
What are you doing now? Was this influenced at all by what you studied in the IB?
Right now I’m the Audience Coordinator at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. While my IB classes might not have a direct link to my job, they definitely played a huge role in helping me get here. My photography class helped me understand how to compose a great shot and how to create an aesthetically pleasing image – a crucial skill in the journalism world. Plus I double majored in Geography in college, which all stemmed from my love for my IB Environmental class. Being a Geography major is very unusual in the TV world, so it’s always a great conversation starter in job interviews.
What was your favorite thing about working as an NBC page?
My favorite thing about being an NBC Page was that no two days were alike. One day I would be working an episode of Saturday Night Live, and the next I would be giving an NBC Studio Tour to Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 50 hottest bachelors. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do that! The program gave me such insight and such exposure into the television industry, it was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Not to mention, it gave me the job I have today!
UK Office or US Office?
During my study abroad semester in London, I took a “Comedy in British Television and Film” class. In it, we watched several episodes of The Office – the UK version. While I can definitely appreciate what Ricky Gervais did for the show – I mean, he essentially brought it to life – I have to say my heart is with the US version. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been a loyal viewer of the series, watching every episode of every season, but you just can’t seem to beat Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute or John Krasinski as Jim Halpert. Their outlandish antics and comedic chemistry will never grow old with me.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope I’m fortunate enough to be afforded the opportunity to continue working in entertainment television. I absolutely love my job and I’m still learning so much each and every day. I get to work with the best in the business and am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be there. Ultimately, I’d love to move up in responsibility at the show and eventually work as a segment producer.
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Thank you, Julia, for taking the time to reflect on your IB and post-IB life! We wish you the best of luck in your producer endeavors.
(And if one day you’d like to offer me a writer position on an NBC sitcom, I’d be more than willing to accept. – Valerie)