Q&A with Communications@Syracuse Student Katiuska Fernandez

Communications@Syracuse student Katiuska Fernandez is a real game-changer. She is blazing a career in a field that many people dream about—sports production. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Katiuska grew up in Cambridge, Mass. She recently moved to Sherman Oaks, Calif., where, after working for the NFL, she accepted a full-time position as an associate producer at Diesel Films. She enrolled in the Communications@Syracuse program earlier this year. We recently spoke with Katiuska about her career path and how she is applying what she learns in the classroom to make her career aspirations a reality.

What motivated you to earn your Master of Science in Communications?

Going into the communications field, I felt that, in order to really grow in the industry, I would benefit by gaining the credentials and being as prepared as I possibly could be.

Why Communications@Syracuse?

I had heard a lot about Newhouse through the college I attended as well as in speaking with other people, including my mentor and other colleagues at the NFL. Given the school’s reputation and the quality of the Syracuse alums I know, I knew it was the right school for me. In fact, Communications@Syracuse was the only program I applied to.

Tell us more about what you do.

I started out as a production assistant with the NFL Network—and I still work with the NFL, but I’ve recently accepted a full-time position with a company called Diesel Films. Located in Los Angeles, Diesel Films is a production agency that works directly with NFL, Nike, the NBA and a number of other clients. While their focus is sports production, they’re about creating meaningful stories, which is really important to me. This company really produces amazing work.

I have a more senior position with the company and more responsibility, which as a 22-year-old is pretty overwhelming but exciting. It’s great to know that you have a team under you—and that you actually have a voice to bring these visions to life.

Meanwhile, at NFL, I’m one of the producers for A Football Life on Jim Brown that’s coming out in November. I really do enjoy working with the NFL and love that I can still have them as a client.

What has been your favorite course so far?

So far, Professor Seth Gitner and “Multimedia Storytelling” has had the greatest impact on me, particularly given my career. Not only is he an amazing professor, he’s also super smart and funny in class. He gives you the tools you need to succeed in production.

For example, when I first started the course, I was still working at the network. At a network, everyone has a specific role. There are a number of people all working on the same project that you are. Through this class I learned the entire production process, every step of the way. I was in charge of seeing the idea through, start to finish. I got to learn the entire process and really come to appreciate every member of the team.

In my new job, I feel I can use this experience to better guide my team because I’ve been there and done it. I know what they are experiencing.

Without this class, I’m not sure I’d have that perspective.

 

Katiuska at the Immersion in April.

Have you chosen a specialization?

I plan on going into the public relations sector, which might sound strange since I’m already in journalism, but I’m thinking longer term. Later down the line, I would love to start consulting with professional athletes. I want to be able to help them out with their careers.

What would you tell someone considering Communications@Syracuse?

This program gives you the tools, and then it’s up to you to make them work for you. I’m constantly learning new concepts and lessons that I am able to apply to my career and professional world. Most people get their money’s worth from their higher education after they complete a program. Me? I’m getting my money’s worth while I’m doing the program. Which is amazing. I 100 percent recommend this program.