CNN News Editor & OU Alumnus Welcomes ‘Pegasus Creative’ Behind the Scenes

Joe Sutton '09

Last semester, I made one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career: I became a part of Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, launched in the fall by the University Communications department. Thanks to Pegasus, I’ve gained hands-on experience, internship credit, and the confidence that can only come from a supportive, skillful team. (For those students out there, with summer internship orientation around the corner, why not consider applying to Pegasus?)

One of the (numerous!) great things about Pegasus is that we are offered field studies—we’re required to complete at least one—to enhance our skills and learn about other real world communications careers. Recently, my co-workers and I ventured on one such trip: a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, courtesy of Joe Sutton ’09 (an alumnus of Oglethorpe’s program for adult students), who generously took time out of his busy schedule to show us around his workplace. Joe has quickly climbed the so-called ladder of success, earning numerous promotions, and is now a news editor and journalist for CNN. He oversees the editorial direction and news gathering for 13 states and serves as the liaison between the Washington, D.C. bureau and CNN headquarters. He credits much of his early success to Oglethorpe.

“The least I can do is stay in contact with the institution that has made me who I am and the education that has allowed me to take on any damn thing I put my mind to,” said Joe. “Being at school late at night and taking some weekend classes helped me fully prepare to take on more complex, time-devoting career positions. I understand how to manage time effectively and juggle multiple projects simultaneously, and I love being under pressure and deadlines… What I set my eyes and mind on, I usually get! That’s the stormy petrel in me.”

“It was a great opportunity to see things up close and in person,” said Zach Kevorkian ’13, Pegasus’s graphic designer. “The exclusivity of it made us feel like we were part of the excitement. The fact that our tour was personalized by an alum made it all the better, and I was grateful for the fun afternoon with my friends at Pegasus!”

Caitlyn Mitchell '13 in CNN's Command Center.

Joe showed us numerous offices including International Headquarters, the Command Center, and his own workspace, which he called “the heart of CNN.” We were given the opportunity to sit across from an anchor as she delivered her news report (live!), and to ask questions about Joe’s daily life at CNN. Between that, watching the process of a breaking news report, and posing with the majestic Lady Rainicorn (of the Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” series), I can’t decide what I most enjoyed!

“My favorite part of the trip was seeing the control room,” said Chandler Anderson ’13, web content developer at Pegasus. “The director analyzed the various camera shots to determine which one was the most effective, and relayed that information to his crew. It was incredible seeing all of this important behind-the-scenes work done before my eyes.”

“I was impressed at how fast it all is,” added Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, former magazine features writer for Pegasus. “You know that news is speed, and that the turnaround time has to be near instantaneous, but you don’t realize until you’re seeing it that there are stations across the United States…ready to leap at a moment’s notice. My favorite part of the trip was definitely sitting in the command chair in the “Command Center”—yes, they really called it that! I was doing my best…not [to] touch any of those incredibly tempting buttons.”

“Joe Sutton gave us a tour that was unlike any tour I’ve ever gotten,” added Rebecca Williams ’13, editor of the adult degree program’s newsletter The Nightcap and friend of Pegasus. “We were able to see important procedures—like filming the news—that we would otherwise never see. (Joe) is widely respected by everyone there. It’s undeniable that he will continue to do great and amazing things for CNN!”

This opportunity would not have been possible without Pegasus—and would not have been possible if I had not pursued an internship at Pegasus. It is not enough to be supplied with opportunities, but to take them as they come. Pegasus showed me an exciting career choice that I had not previously considered, and internships like Pegasus can make all the difference in paving the path to your future.

“Internships are essential to determining who you are as a person,” said Joe. “In media, there are plentiful internships in various departments. Be flexible, be savvy, be astute in global news, (and) be committed. Generally, I find that saying ‘yes’ is a good thing…it opens many doors of opportunities in the business.”

Attention Oglethorpe students! For me, Pegasus opened the door, and it can provide many opportunities for you as well. If I’ve persuaded you to join our team, or if another internship opportunity calls to you, contact Debbie Aiken in University Communications.  Opportunity is knocking, and you only have to answer!

Evening Degree Program Graduate Awarded Prestigious International Scholarship for Graduate Study

Cleo “Fifi” Sloan, a 2011 graduate of Oglethorpe, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship to attend  Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London to study in the Masters of Arts in Art Business program, commencing in September 2013. The school is the educational wing of Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest auctioneers of art and jewelry.

Sloan joined Oglethorpe’s Evening Degree Program (EDP) in 2008 as a communications major and planned to pursue a career in the field of integrative medicine. However, once she took her first art history course, she says, “I realized that a passion for art steadily pumped through my veins, and there was nothing that I could do to suppress it.” With some encouragement from her mentor, Dr. Jeffrey Collins, she developed an Individually Planned Major (IPM) in Art Business. She says that she soon found herself “being molded into a prime candidate” for the Master in Arts Program at Sotheby’s.

While at OU Sloan served as the David Willis Presidential Fellow and received Oglethorpe’s coveted “Art History Achievement Award” for two consecutive years. She also participated in several study abroad programs in Oxford, Paris and Italy. She graduated in 2011 as the first EDP student in Oglethorpe’s history to graduate Magna Cum Laude with an IPM in Art Business.

Sloan’s advice for other adults considering continuing their education is this: “Dream, and dream big! And when you open your eyes, know that there are others at Oglethorpe who are dreaming big for you.”

Two Oglethorpe Alumni Named Teachers of the Year

OU alumni Wanda Nesbitt ’09 and Kevin Travis ’02 were named by their school districts as Teachers of the Year for the 2010-2011 school year.

Wanda Nesbitt is City Schools of Decatur's system-wide Teacher of the Year. Photo: oakhurst.csdecatur.net

Wanda Nesbitt, a kindergarten teacher at Oakhurst Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Oglethorpe after receiving her undergrad degree through OU’s Evening Degree Program. Prior to  winning the district-wide honor, she had been named Teacher of the Year at her school as well—a fitting accomplishment for someone who is “a fantastic born teacher,” according to Beth Roberts, Oglethorpe’s Division of Education Chairperson.

Dunwoody High School's Kevin Travis is DeKalb County High School Teacher of the Year. Photo: www.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Over on the north side of town, Kevin Travis was awarded the DeKalb County School System’s High School Teacher of the Year award.  He teaches social studies at Dunwoody High School and also serves as the advisor for the school debate team. In a recent interview with Reporternewspapers.net, Travis is quoted as saying,

“I think on most days, I have more fun than most people do at their jobs…I love what I do.”

Congratulations, Wanda and Kevin!