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Roth Interns

The Paley Center for Media Announces the Next Generation of Visionary Television Professionals, The Peter Roth Internship Inaugural Class of 2021

Thursday, October 7, 2021


  • The Paley Center for Media announces the inaugural class of the Peter Roth Internship Program named in honor of the legendary television studio executive.
  • The program is comprised of 20 talented students coming from 14 of the most prestigious colleges and universities from across the U.S.
  • The program continues the Paley Center’s long-standing commitment to promoting diverse voices in the Media and Entertainment industry.
  • The Peter Roth Internship program is endowed through the generous contribution from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Alliance, The Berlanti Family Foundation, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, and The Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation.

New York, NY, October 7, 2021 – The Paley Center for Media today announced the members of the inaugural class of The Peter Roth Internship Program. The program’s mission is to inspire the next generation of television professionals to embody Peter Roth’s commitment to innovative storytelling, love for writers, passion for the art form of television, and the critical importance of nurturing a diverse array of creative voices and portrayals on television. Students will gain first-hand experience in the world of television and access an unparalleled educational experience during this paid apprenticeship opportunity.

"We are delighted to announce our inaugural class of the prestigious Peter Roth Internship Program, honoring our dear friend and industry leader, Peter Roth. After a rigorous national selection process, we are honored to welcome the brightest young minds and the next generation of television's creators and leaders in Media and Entertainment,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center's President and CEO. “We thank Greg Berlanti, Ava DuVernay, Chuck Lorre, Katie McGrath, and J.J. Abrams for their tremendous support and for investing in the future talent of our industry.”

"We are so excited to welcome and support such a talented, passionate, and dedicated cohort of future media executives, creators, writers, and thought leaders. I fully expect, and I am convinced, that they will make a significant contribution towards the betterment and nurturing of great television," said Peter Roth. "It is with great honor and gratitude that I applaud Maureen Reidy and her outstanding team at the Paley Center for having assembled such an impressive and impactful group of young minds to serve as our inaugural internship class."

“I am delighted by the selection of the inaugural internship class of 2021 at The Paley Center for Media in honor of the one and only Peter Roth,” said Ava DuVernay. “I wish our talented twenty nothing but success with their future endeavors and salute them as they begin to make their mark on the industry.”

“Congratulations to the twenty incredible college students who were selected for the 2021 Peter Roth Internship Class at The Paley Center for Media,” said Greg Berlanti. “The Berlanti Family Foundation is happy to support such an exciting group of students through our endowment to this paid internship program that will help all of them begin to establish long and meaningful careers that honor the program's one-of-a-kind namesake." 

“Looking forward to what the talented students of the 2021 Peter Roth Internship Class at the Paley Center for Media will accomplish now and in the future,” said Chuck Lorre. “We welcome each of these industrious individuals into the internship program created in honor of my dear friend Peter Roth.”

"The future of television will depend on brilliant, diverse and bold points of view. Programs like this will help ensure opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to learn, collaborate and prepare for a career in the industry,” said Katie McGrath and J.J. Abrams. “We are thrilled for the 2021 Peter Roth Internship Class, and are honored to be associated with them and the legacy of a true television legend."


The following 20 students have been selected as the Peter Roth Internship Program Class of 2021:

  • Abena Ababio is a senior at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Film Studies and Psychology. She hopes to develop diverse programs featuring young adults and positive perspectives of minority mental health.
  • Mollie Allred is a senior at Boston College majoring in Film Studies and Communications, who is inspired by Amy Poehler’s comedy and wants better representation for women in media.
  • Amy Altman is a senior at the University of Southern California (USC) majoring in Journalism, who is passionate about documenting the intersection of food, race, and culture.
  • Francisco Andrade is a senior at Vassar College majoring in Education and Media Studies. A native of Brazil who served in the U.S. military, he hopes to see more stories on television that mirror his own.
  • Afnan Answar is a junior at Hunter College majoring in Media Studies, who became inspired to pursue a media career after a film she directed was accepted into the TriBeCa Film Festival.
  • Jada Bethea is a junior at New York University (NYU) majoring in Film and Television, and is passionate about social justice issues and wishes to use media as a platform to amplify marginalized voices.
  • Nicole Cervera has designed her own curriculum while at NYU, allowing her the freedom to explore and develop programs around the construction of Latinx identity in TV and film.
  • Emma Hansen is a senior at USC majoring in Law, History, and Culture, and derives her robust work ethic from her upbringing on a farm in rural California. She said: “I have the work ethic of a farmer, the hustle of a basketball player, and the curiosity of an explorer.”
  • Lau’Rent Honeycutt is a senior Marketing major at Texas Christian University (TCU) and loves the power and possibilities he sees on TV, and instilling that same belief in the kids he mentors. One of his proudest accomplishments is his role as Student Body President.
  • Sophie Leiton Toomey is a Drama major at NYU and is driven by her passion to have long-awaited representation for neuro-divergent and autistic creatives, like herself, “in the room” when media is being created and presented to the public.
  • Kanika Mehra is a Government and Politics major at the University of Maryland, spent summer 2021 interning for The Rachel Maddow Show. She is especially fond of “misfit characters,” like those seen on shows like Parks and Rec and Community, as well as shows featuring complex female leads, such as Alias and Veronica Mars.
  • Kisori Mohinani is a Media Studies major at Hunter College, a podcast creator, and Hong Kong film festival organizer who wants to create stories on television about the realities of different cultures like her own.
  • Uzo Ngwu is an accomplished designer as a junior at Harvard University. She has created artwork for such companies as Hulu and MTV, and has cofounded the Harvard Design Collective, a digital arts organization.
  • Jillian Russell is a Journalism major and Screenwriting minor at USC whose goal is to create television that uplifts young people. She wants to develop content that has character and helps people learn empathy.
  • Madeline Salman is a Film and Television major at Boston University who self-produced a series called Sustainable Silhouette about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment.
  • Tia Smith is a Theater Studies major at Duke, an avid writer, and was inspired by John Singleton to write her first full-length screenplay in summer 2020.
  • Jenae Talison is a Mass Communication major at Tennessee State University, a budding media mogul who is inspired by Peter Roth’s career as a model for her own.
  • Michael Tseng is a Journalism and Cinema and Media Studies major at USC, who has covered the Oscars and Golden Globes for USC Annenberg Media and has hosted USC Asian American advocacy events.
  • Laila Wilson is a Senior at Purchase College, SUNY majoring in Playwriting and Screenwriting. She produced POV Festival, showcasing new student works, and is a YoungArts screenplay winner.
  • Daejah Woolery is a Film/TV and English major at Fordham, who wants to make television programs that depict more QPOC (Queer person of color) characters and has facilitated this through a screenwriting competition via their TikTok channel.

Students were selected for this comprehensive paid internship through a competitive application process that evaluated their academic achievement, leadership skills, and commitment to the media industry. The Paley Center received hundreds of qualified applicants—undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and underserved communities who are rising juniors and seniors with a GPA of 3.2 or higher from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities nationwide, including schools with top media programs.

Using the renowned Paley Archive, the Paley Center is uniquely positioned to provide an extensive course to help students better understand the importance of diverse voices and portrayals on television. Interns will also attend guest lectures, meet-and-greets, and Q&A sessions with television executives, talent, showrunners, writers, and other members of a creative team to gain an appreciation for the art of storytelling. The program will also include first-hand experience working at the Paley Center, along with site visits to networks, sets, and studios, to provide a valuable understanding of the business side of television.

After completing the program, students will join the Paley intern alumni association, where they will continue to receive expert advice and counsel, special networking opportunities and events, and make lifelong connections within the television industry.


Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Rojas Levi, The Paley Center for Media,, 212-621-6757

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About The Paley Center for Media

The Paley Center for Media is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms, drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the media community. The general public can participate in Paley programs in both New York and Los Angeles that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. They can also access the Paley Center’s permanent media collection, which contains over 160,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry.

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