Journalism Opens Up Unexpected Opportunities
An interest in politics, fascination with media and extroverted personality led Natalie Almeida to declare a major in journalism.
“I used journalism as a way to see how different ethnicities and different people are portrayed in the media,” said Almeida. “I learned how to interact with the media and to understand why things are reported in the way they are.”
In the journalism program, Almeida had several learning opportunities that gave her real experience in the field. She wrote for the Hawks’ Herald, worked with WPRI reporters Ted Nesi and Tim White during the fall 2018 gubernatorial debate and served as moderator for election media coverage in HawkTheVote.
“Tim White ended up teaching our broadcast news class in the spring, which was so much fun. I grew up watching him on WPRI,” Almeida said. “Living in Rhode Island, you see Tim and you know exactly who he is, so to have him as a professor was great. Not a lot of schools get that opportunity. “
These experiences taught Almeida how to interact with people, organizations and media, and ask the tough questions. Though Almeida discovered that the lifestyle of a reporter was not for her, it was this professional exposure that led her towards the perfect career.
Alongside journalism, Almeida had a minor in Spanish, which allowed her to explore Latin American and Latino studies. Almeida’s own Portuguese and Cape Verdean cultures have always been important to her and the work that she does.
“Growing up, I loved being involved with nonprofit organizations and helping people that might not understand a lot of the things that go on in our culture,” Almeida said.
So, when Associate Professor of Journalism Paola Prado brought Executive Director of RWU’s Latino Policy Institute (LPI) Marcela Betancur into her class as a guest speaker, Almeida was intrigued.
“What interested me about the institute was that it specifically focuses on the Latino community in Rhode Island,” Almeida said. “A lot of the times when we have these policy institutes, we tend to encircle ethnicities into a big bubble. But different communities have different experiences, and even people within those communities have different experiences.”
The work that LPI does to educate people on issues impacting Latino communities and individuals made Almeida want to learn more. She connected with Betancur and they kept in touch. Soon enough, Almeida landed the position of communications coordinator at the Latino Policy Institute. Her office is on RWU’s Providence campus, University College.
“I’m the one handling social media, putting together events, and sharing different bursts of information,” Almeida said.
Almeida uses the skills and experiences she gained at RWU every day in a career she loves.
“I use a lot of the skills that I learned, like putting together photos and videos, writing newsletter chains, social media, how to portray our image,” Almeida said. “I also use the networking skills I learned, like taking people’s business cards, reaching out afterwards, and using your resources around you.”
Almeida is happy to be connected to RWU in a new capacity, where she is still always learning.
“That was my home for four years,” Almeida said. “I’m still here but in another sense and all those different experiences set me up for where I am today.”