When USF graduate Ivy Box decided to intern for BET, she had no idea it would require an audition.
Box, who graduated with a degree in business marketing in 2005, trekked from Tampa to Atlanta last summer for a live casting call for BET ‘s College Hill: Interns, a reality show molded after The Apprentice and geared toward college students.
The show, which premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m., follows Box and nine other college students and recent graduates for six weeks as they live and work together while competing for an internship with BET.
Box said this was the chance of a lifetime to get into a business she admires.
“I had always wanted to work for BET,” she said. “That’s a station that really targets the community that I represent, and I’ve always wanted to work on television. When I found out about this opportunity, it was sort of the best of two worlds and I just prayed that I would get on there, and I did.”
Box was not new to interning. The USF alumna had interned in the Tampa area through her marketing practicum course with the Tampa Bay Career Center and had another internship with Microsoft.
This time around, she’ll be in the Windy City and cameras will follow her every move.
“This wasn’t just a regular reality show,” Box explained. “It showed your work ethics and experiences – you got to show the world your talent.”
Box and the other interns participated in competitive internships that included working with a variety of clients.
“We did some of everything,” Box said. “We focused mainly on event planning, marketing, strategizing and worked for different Fortune 500 companies and the city of Chicago as well.”
To try to make an impression, each intern had to stand out from the rest and compete in regular challenges on the show that proved their commitment and dependability, Box said.
Halfway through the program, a mid-term examination cut those who did not live up to the high demands of the business.
“Most people would have three or four months to plan an event that we would plan in a week,” Box said.
Living in a house with 10 people, all with different personalities and from different parts of the United States, added to the pressure, she said.
“We only had one phone in the house and we shared an office space,” Box said. “So it was kind of difficult because there were limited resources and you basically had to do everything from scratch in a limited amount of time.”
Although there was a lot of extra stress in the internship, Box did say she enjoyed her work.
“My favorite event was the fundraiser event for BET’s Wrap It Up campaign,” Box said. “It made people aware of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and that was the most memorable to me.”
On the show, she was known as the “quiet storm” and one to “fly under the radar,” she said, adding that her game plan was to observe the other contestants and keep herself away from the drama that sidetracked them. She said she decided to take note of the others’ personalities and skill sets before she made her moves.
Box, 23, was one of the oldest contestants.
“I believe, to an extent, that because I was older I paid close attention to my reputation,” Box said. “The older you get the more you have to worry about the future, and that helped me to be more observant, to calm down, and not get into any super drama.”
Box credits the program with giving her a wide array of skills that she will take with her. Being on the show helped her adapt to different atmospheres and deal with people from different regions of the world, she said.
“I really enjoyed the experience because there are nine other people that I can now call family,” Box said.
Box is now working full time at her entertainment career. She said she plans to sign up for performing arts classes at USF in Spring 2008 and hopes to eventually work in front of and behind the camera.
Her advice to all students looking into being in a competitive internship: “Work hard, follow your dreams, stick to your goals and don’t let anybody deter you from what you want to do.”
Anna Peters can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.