Biola alumna succeeds in broadcast career
Biola broadcast students, such as Stephanie Montano are building their way to success. She gives credit to professor Stewart Oleson for being "sold" to broadcast. Pictured L-R. Back: Rachel Pierson, Katie , Velena Jones, Alexandra Montiel, and Sarah Kim. Front: Marquesita Sommo, Laurel Yetter, Prof. Stew Oleson, and Stephanie Montano. | Photo courtesy of Stewart Oleson
Sitting in her living room watching the news as a kid, Stephanie Montano, Biola alumna knew it was her dream to be a news reporter.
Montano interned at Univision 34 KMEX in June 2011, and she recently landed a job at KEPR CBS affiliate in Pasco, Wash. When Montano first interned at Univision, she never thought she would pursue a career in Spanish news.
Becoming interested in broadcast
Originally a print emphasis, Montano switched to broadcast. She always knew she was interested in journalism but had been skeptical about it. Michael Longinow, journalism department chair, recommended taking one of Stewart Oleson’s classes, associate professor of journalism and EagleVision adviser. Oleson’s 18 years of experience as a reporter, news anchor and producer help him teach students in the best way he can.
Montano was sold after one broadcasting class with Oleson, she said. Oleson helped to establish Montano’s video reel to showcase her talents. Montano did a bilingual traffic report as well as a bilingual anchoring segment. Oleson says after 30-40 seconds a news director knows if they have seen enough to go further in contacting them.
He explained that he cannot teach heart and drive but always tells his students, “I believe in you.”
More than a career
Montano sees broadcasting as an opportunity to be a light in the world.
“Knowing who you are in Christ and really knowing who Christ is,” Montano said, is how she stays grounded in her faith.
Montano said when she first took Oleson’s class that he was the most honest and upfront person. She felt prepared for her field, as she was able to have hands-on experience. Learning how to shoot and edit prepared her well for the broadcasting field.
“I feel at the end I believed in myself because he believed in me,” Montano said. “As crazy as that sounds, that was the truth.”
Montano grew up in Los Angeles, Calif. The primary language spoken in her household childhood was Spanish. She had the opportunity to learn English as a second language while in elementary school.
The Los Angeles Unified School District used to integrate both languages, Spanish and English, into classes. Montano attended Bellflower High School and would always listen to The Fish radio station.
She was excited when she heard about Biola and told her mom that was where she wanted to go to college. She transferred from Cerritos College to Biola as a junior in 2008. It was a great accomplishment for Montano to go since her parents came from El Salvador and were not able to graduate from college.
Knowing Spanish helps her break the language barrier, Montano explained. Before the job in Pasco, she had an interview in Palm Springs, Calif. for a news station. Desert Hot Springs was the city she was sent to which appeared to be mostly Hispanic, Montano said. Montano was able to speak Spanish to these people and break the language barrier for the non-Spanish speaking news reporter interviewing them with her.
Bilingual skills a positive
Being bilingual gives her a type of advantage when landing interviews, she explained.
“I feel like I am blessed to speak Spanish and English because I get to relate to everybody,” Montano said.
Language skills are huge right now, Oleson said. He further explained broadcasting is global, targeting audiences of different ethnic backgrounds.
There are stations that are proving Spanish is growing as a broadcasting industry. Univision, a Spanish-language network, is serving the fastest growing consumer population in the country, according to National Public Radio.
Montano realizes God will provide if you seek him and put in your effort. She explains that everything was not handed to her, but she has had to work diligently for what she has.
“I was so stressed out because I was taking 18 units plus working and doing an internship at one point all together but hard work pays off,” Montano said.
She believes that the best advice for Biola students is to follow your dreams.
“If you work hard, and you seek God, he will open doors,” Montano said.