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English major Pamela Roth ’04 (Manalapan, N.J.) is working with the BBC on a new show that will premiere on The Learning Channel Saturday, July 6.

Roth is serving a full-time internship in the New York pre-production and post-production headquarters for “While You Were Out,” a sister program of the home makeover show “Trading Spaces,” one of the biggest hits on cable television.

“I am in charge of a lot of editing, watching the tapes, doing research, booking talent, and if they need me, going on location around the country,” says Roth, who began the internship after Memorial Day and will work through the second week of August. “The show is filming in Kansas City at the end of June, and I may be lucky enough to follow the crew to the city where they are surprising a family.”

TLC bought the rights to the program and is having it produced on location in the United States. In each program, a crew enlists the help of a spouse, relative or friend to remodel a room in someone’s house without their knowledge

“On our show, for example, a husband wants to redo the kitchen for his wife,” says Roth. “He calls us, and if we pick their story, we come up with a way to get the wife out of the house for two days. We come to their house, make the room over, and then surprise her. The interesting part about the show is that the person being surprised with a new room is taken out of the house by an accomplice who works with us, like the wife’s sister. We get in touch with them before we go on location – all the plans are very elaborate. This accomplice videotapes the surprised person, asking them questions about their spouse, so we get kind of a ‘back story’ that we can edit in.”

The student joined a staff of 20 people after being selected among several intern candidates, she adds.

“It has really showed me that I want to pursue a career in television, or at least in the entertainment business,” Roth says. “My favorite part so far has been a simple thing – brainstorming ideas for all aspects of the show. When I help the producers think of something interesting that would make the show better, it makes me feel like I’m really involved in something great. It’s amazing to think that the work I do will be on television for millions of people to see.”

The experience is supplementing Roth’s education at Lafayette, which she calls “an amazing institution.”

“There are so many things that the school offers to students, from the diverse range of activities to the individual attention given by the professors,” says Roth. “Especially in the English department, professors are here to help and are always available. Everyone at Lafayette is so friendly and bright; it is a great learning environment.”

Roth says that among her “many great academic experiences at Lafayette,” a Writing for Publication course with Kenneth Briggs, visiting part-time instructor of English, during her first year taught her to love journalism.

“The class was so intensive and small that we all got personalized attention, and Professor Briggs is so knowledgeable about all aspects of journalism and writing,” says Roth, noting that Briggs is a former religion editor for the New York Times. “He is also the faculty advisor for The Lafayette, so his expertise helped me gain the confidence to join the newspaper — and now I am the Arts and Entertainment editor. He is well admired.”

Roth also serves as secretary for Hillel Society and correspondence coordinator for Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News