Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Graduation Year: 2011
Current Position: Producer/Back-up Director, National Public Radio (NPR)
For some New Paltz students, an internship could be a crucial step toward attaining a position in the field they’ve been studying for years. But for others, it could lead to a career one may never have imagined for themselves.
The latter was the case for Andrew Limbong ’11, who aspired to be an English professor before an internship with National Public Radio (NPR) turned into a full-time job.
“The whole journalism thing was meant to be my backup,” said Limbong, who majored in English and minored in journalism. He interned at WAMC, NPR’s Albany affiliate, during his last semester at New Paltz. Shortly after graduation, Limbong traveled to Indonesia to visit family, and his radio journalism professor, Lisa Phillips, encouraged him to meet with NPR’s bureau chief in Jakarta.
Limbong took her advice, and before long, he was recommended for a second internship with “All Things Considered,” one of NPR’s flagship programs. This eventually led him to a permanent position with NPR in Washington, D.C., as a producer and backup director on the daily “Tell Me More” show, which covers a broad range of topics from minority issues and wage disparities to religion.
“I got really lucky,” said Limbong. He compared NPR to a train: “You have to be the one to jump on. It’s not going to stop and let you board.”
As a producer and backup director, Limbong’s responsibilities include pitching stories, booking expert guests, selecting music, scriptwriting, editing prerecorded segments, and coordinating live broadcasts.
“In broadcasting, especially in public radio, everything has to hit at a certain time. Everything is calculated down to the second. So I have to make sure everything is running on time and smoothly,” said Limbong. “I didn’t think I’d enjoy cutting audio as much as I do, because I’m from an English background and I took journalism to write important words.”
Limbong said he regularly applies what he learned from his professors at New Paltz to his job at NPR, and credited Phillips with introducing him to public radio.
“(Professor) Howie Good is a lifesaver – I keep him in the back of my mind whenever I’m working on stuff,” said Limbong. “I still have the first report I wrote for Adam Bosch, and it was awful. He gave me one of the worst grades ever, and I’m very thankful for that. I keep it in my drawer as a lesson on what not to do.”
Limbong said the classes he took with English professor Harry Stoneback also made a lasting impression on him, and the two still keep in touch today.
“Every year, he has a conference for Elizabeth Madox Rogers, a female writer out of Kentucky,” said Limbong of Stoneback. “I went one year and I have gone every year since, even out of college. It’s this really nice place to catch up with him and people who went to New Paltz ages ago.”
A native of Brooklyn, Limbong wanted to attend a small state college in the Northeast, and found New Paltz to be the perfect distance from home – not too far, but not too close.
“It ended up being a perfect fit,” said Limbong. “I met some of my closest friends there. Everybody uses the ‘big fish, small pond’ (analogy). That’s really what I needed at the time.”