Rosalyn Durant arrived as a freshman at the University of South Carolina in 1995 determined to make her dreams of becoming a television news anchor a reality. She declared broadcast journalism as her major and during her first year of college she began seeking opportunities to gain experience in a newsroom.
As a first year student, Rosalyn was ineligible to earn academic credit for an internship, however she seized the opportunity to shadow staff members at WOLO-TV, Columbia, S.C.’s ABC affiliate. While observing the day-to-day operations at the station, she gained valuable hands-on experience. “I had a chance to go out on stories with reporters, run the teleprompter for the six o’clock news and rewrite AP stories [Associated Press] for broadcast.”
Her strong desire to gain as much experience as possible while in college propelled her into another shadowing opportunity at WYNN-FM, a Florence, S.C. radio station. The station did not have a formal internship program or any open positions, so Rosalyn negotiated an opportunity to shadow the staff, which led to her becoming a trainee and eventually an on-air personality.
During her sophomore year in college, Rosalyn attended the Howard University School of Communications Job and Internships Fair where she met a representative from the T. Howard Foundation. Rosalyn followed through on the opportunity to intern via THF and landed her first official and paid internship at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, working for Turner Network Sales during the summer of 1997.
At Turner, her supervisors “invested the time to help me understand the industry by giving me access to different meetings, information and people to help me make sense of all I was being exposed to, ” recalls Rosalyn.
The exposure to the sales division and the business side of the media industry was transformative for Rosalyn. “I knew I loved media, and broadcast is what I knew of [the industry]. One of the best things about the internship at Turner was that it introduced me to the business side; the side that I knew very little of before the internship. It’s hard to want what you don’t know exists, but once I experienced it, I wanted it.”
When Rosalyn returned to school that fall, she added marketing as a minor and economics classes to her schedule to increase her business acumen.
Now focused on the corporate side of the media industry, Rosalyn decided to return to Howard’s job fair the following year and seek out additional internship opportunities, hoping to secure an experience with ESPN. The network was present at the job fair, and so were T. Howard recruiters. Rosalyn shared her résumé with an HR representative from ESPN and again applied for a T. Howard Foundation-sponsored internship expressing her strong interest in working at ESPN. Through THF, Rosalyn received the opportunity to interview with the sports network.
In the summer of 1998, she began her second T. Howard Foundation internship and her second internship at a national network, working in ESPN’s affiliate sales and marketing department.
Rosalyn recounts her ESPN placement as “everything I could have wanted from an internship. I just felt that everyone took an interest in ensuring that my summer was productive and made themselves available to help me get the most out of my time there. That team spirit is what led me to want to return to ESPN.”
Rosalyn maintained contact with the team she worked with at ESPN once she returned to USC for her final year of college. One month before graduating, she received a full-time job offer from ESPN, and began working there as a marketing coordinator in June 1999. Rosalyn has remained with the network for 15 years. During her tenure, she has worked in sales and programming, and was a key figure in the launch of ESPNU and the renewal of the NBA’s agreement with the network. She has risen through the ranks, and in early 2014, Rosalyn became the Vice President of College Sports Programming at ESPN.
Rosalyn has also remained connected to the T. Howard Foundation by mentoring students and says the Foundation has supported her throughout her career. In 2010, she became the first internship program alumnus to become a member of THF’s Board of Directors and was elected to serve as the board’s secretary in 2013.
Rosalyn credits the Foundation with changing the course of her professional life. “The T. Howard Foundation absolutely redirected my career interest for the better. I am extremely indebted to the organization.”
Through her success and commitment to THF, Rosalyn Durant truly represents the principles of the organization. “I am a product of the Foundation’s mission at work.”