West Virginia Native Lands First New York Job

Chelse Hensley isn’t afraid to go after her dream. Self-confidence and ambition are already paying off for the 20-year-old Political Science major, who had the opportunity to live and work in New York City for the first time in the fall of 2011.

“Fairmont State gave me the confidence to chase my dreams in journalism in the Big Apple!” Chelse says. “I was a news editorial intern at Seventeen Magazine. I networked, actively brainstormed for editorial pieces, wrote for Seventeen.com and had many other opportunities. Because of what I learned in my classes at FSU, I had a strong foundation in reporting and current events that helped me thrive during my internship with the Hearst Corporation.”

A Journalism minor, Chelse writes for the student newspaper, The Columns, and is a member of Delta Zeta Sorority. She attended another college in North Carolina for one semester, but transferred to FSU to be closer to her family in Charleston.

“Fairmont State is such a small university; it’s easy to build your confidence here. You don’t have to try out to write for The Columns. At bigger schools, you might not have the same opportunities,” she says. “The Columns is a great place to practice writing skills and get people to read your work on campus. I wrote a story about Islamic students on campus, and an English as a Second Language teacher messaged me on Facebook and said his students liked my story. It was really nice.”

Before her internship, Chelse had only been to New York one time on a 24-hour bus trip, but she’s always known she would like to live there.

“I like the atmosphere in New York. Everyone is trying to reach the top of their career. It’s fast-paced. You can’t be stagnant and expect to thrive,” she says.

Chelse searched for and went after several different positions in New York. After three interviews, Seventeen magazine told her to fly to New York where she would be one of 20 magazine interns for three months. She wrote fashion and beauty articles for Seventeen.com, and her name appeared in the print magazine. Chelse covered parties and hobnobbed with the famous.

“I worked with the Features Department doing news stories and research and got to meet lots of celebrities. One day we ate lunch in the cafeteria next to Gail King. A lot of cast members from teen shows came into the office in Hearst Tower,” she says.

Chelse met the cast of “Vampire Diaries” and the teen Kardashians. She had her photo taken with “American Pie” star Eddie Kaye Thomas and “Glee” cast member Jonathan Groff.

“Networking is more important than your actual skill base. You have to be confident talking to people. Contrary to what people say, New York is a friendly city,” she says.

Chelse still talks with other interns she met during her months in New York, and she hopes that some of the people she met will help her find future jobs as a journalist at magazines like Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire or even at MTV.

She advises others considering going after an internship that “you just have to do it.”

“Completely immerse yourself in the experience and just apply. Send your resume anywhere,” she says.

You can submit your beFirst story idea at befirst@fairmontstate.edu.