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By Michele Tallarita ’12

Charnelle Pinkett ’13 at Comedy Central in New York City

Not many people can say their summer internship involved a “Lady Gaga scare.”

“She happened to be on a radio show that’s housed in our building and before I could blink, there was a huge crowd of paparazzi, fans, and a lot of employees standing outside,” says Charnelle Pinkett ’13.  “We were told she slipped out the back door before anyone got to see her.”

That’s okay, because Pinkett (Silver Spring, Md.) is already racking up her on-the-job celebrity encounters.  She’s gotten to chat with comedian Jim Gaffigan, rubbed elbows with Archer actor Jon Benjamin, and even met Stephen Colbert at a taping of The Colbert Report.

Coming face-to-face with celebrities is just one of the perks of an internship with Comedy Central.  Pinkett is spending her summer working as a press intern at the entertainment stalwart, where she’s playing a key role in keeping the company on top of the media.  She received a stipend from Career Services, donated by the Class of 2011, to help make the internship possible.

Pinkett’s biggest job is helping to put together the “daily digest”—a publication that keeps track of electronic and print media concerning Comedy Central.  This includes some items that the company might want to use for funny fodder, but mostly those that cover the company itself.

“The digest is a very important part of the press department, as it shows the direct results of our hard work as well as keeping our shows relevant,” she says.  “Everyone who works with Comedy Central, including the talent and the president of the company, gets copies of the digest.”

Just by putting together the digest each day, she says, she learns all about what’s going on in politics and entertainment.  “What I enjoy about my work the most is seeing how much media influences everyone’s daily lives,” she says.

The lessons she’s learning at Comedy Central fit in well with Pinkett’s self-designed social justice major, in which she takes courses in American studies, government & law, women & gender studies, and more.  But the experience is really making use of her minor in film and media studies, an area in which she’s thinking of making a career someday.

A person of many passions, however, Pinkett is slow to settle on a single path.  Her activities at Lafayette testify to her variety of interests:  the Dance Team, the hip hop group Gossip Prone, the Fashion Club, and Veterinary Explorations Through Service (VETS).  She’s also a resident adviser.

“I am overall passionate about learning and absorbing as much information as I can,” she says.  “Asking questions is a way of life, and I don’t ever see myself not in a learning environment.”

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