Skip to main content

Jade Garnett

Intern, the TODAY Show

Coming from a small Kentucky town can make dreaming big seem like just a dream. But for one College of Communication and Information senior, she’s turning these dreams into a reality one internship at a time.

Jade Garnett knew she wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but she also knew it would take a lot of work. After racking up as many internships as possible in her time at UK, this graduating media arts and studies major is taking on her biggest internship yet: the TODAY Show.

Since high school, Garnett has dreamed of working at NBC. However, it wasn’t until making a LinkedIn account for an intro-level college course that she understood the steps to get there. Through the professional social networking site, Garnett began scoping out interns and employees at some of her favorite NBC shows. What she found in her search was that these workers had plenty of experience prior to their positions at NBC.

Over the course of her college career, Garnett would spend hours combing through LinkedIn, connecting with professionals and asking for advice. She would spend even more time bolstering her resume with internships and work experience.

In June 2018, Garnett learned how to operate in a formal professional environment through her student marketing/writing internship with the Gatton College of Business and Economics. In her internship with LEX18 in Fall 2019, she learned the ins and outs of the news world. And in November of that same semester, she learned about the entertainment facet of the communications industry through her internship with America’s Got Talent.

Garnett even got the chance to work on a local movie set thanks to Robby Henson, part-time instructor for the School of Journalism and Media.

“Jade was good in my classes, but she also had excellent people skills. When there was an opportunity to get her on the set of the independent movie ‘Not To Forget,’ she was very much at home working with a professional film crew,” Henson said.

Among these internships, Garnett had also been a social media manager, public relations coordinator, content creator, reporter, photographer and more. Being someone who loves to be “uncomfortable” and learn new things, she found it important not to confine herself.

“I pretty much took advantage of everything that I could,” Garnett said. “That’s the thing, I am so happy with the way my experience at UK has been. It’s really been incredible, and I couldn’t have done any more, I really couldn’t have.”

With this array of experience, Garnett took a leap of faith at the end of 2019 by applying for an internship at MSNBC. Applying for big internships like these is exactly what her professor, Kyra Hunting, has encouraged her students to do. By January 2020, Garnett was off to New York as a production intern, first for Hardball with Chris Matthews, then for MSNBC Live.

Garnett said moving to New York was “life-changing.” Being in the Rockefeller Center was something “indescribable” for her, and when she first got there, she knew that that was exactly where she wanted to be.

About a year after applying for her MSNBC internship, Garnett was eager to try her luck again and applied for an online internship with the TODAY Show. This position was even bigger than her last with only six out of 20,000 applicants being chosen.

As she was applying, she thought that if she got the internship at the TODAY Show, it would change her life forever. Luckily, this dream of hers came true, and she credits her past NBC experience for making that dream a reality.

“Jade’s creative, not only in her ideas about media but, more importantly, a creative thinker — she always brings a new perspective that sees things in a completely new light,” said Hunting, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media. “With her enthusiasm, creativity and insight, I know the TODAY show will be just the beginning of her accomplishments.”

Since joining the TODAY Show on Jan. 11, Garnett works 26 hours part-time on top of her 15 hours of schoolwork. On Mondays, she works with the TODAY Show plaza by virtually meeting people from across the world. On Thursdays, she works with music cue sheets, gathering information on the songs used in that day’s show. On Fridays, she works with the research team and producers, many times on human interest stories.

Without internships, Garnett said she doesn’t know what the college experience would be. Internships have broadened her horizons and expanded her network while also teaching her valuable lessons along the way. While traditional education is important, she thinks it means nothing without real-world experience, and vice versa.

“The whole point of an internship is to mess up and learn different things,” Garnett said. “If it wasn’t for any of the seemingly small internships that I’ve done, I wouldn’t have gotten anything at NBC.”

Her advice for anyone looking for an internship is to never stop looking, stay tenacious and always be your authentic self. Despite her successes, Garnett has also faced rejections, but she powered through them and is now in her dream internship. With that in mind, these are words she lives by:

“Don’t get your hopes up but don’t give up.”

Connect with CI