A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Patriot Profile: Issmar Ventura

By Colleen Kearney Rich on April 26, 2017

Year: Senior

Major: Communication

Hometown: Woodbridge, Virginia

Mason student Issmar Ventura at his internship at Telemundo in Washington, D.C.

Claim to Campus Fame: Two years ago, Ventura started a weekly Spanish-language news show, Mason Noticias, on the university’s student-run Mason Cable Network. In 2016 the program was recognized by Mason’s Student Media with an award for best newscast. Each semester he has a group of students who work together on different roles of the news program, such as editors and videographers.

What Drives Him: He started Mason Noticias because he needed the experience both in front of and behind the camera, and he wanted to share that opportunity with his fellow students. “This [show] is not for me. This is for everybody. Yes, I started it, but I’m going to leave one day. Any job will require you to have some kind of multimedia experience; you need to learn the practical skills and produce your own content.”

Inspiring Internships: Ventura is serious about getting broadcast experience, and he has built an impressive resume. He says there was a point in his junior year when he realized he had better get an internship. After the first one with BBC Mundo in Los Angeles, he hasn’t stopped. Over the past year, he has interned at Telemundo Washington, VOA Latin American Division, and Univision Washington. He also received a stipend from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a well-being scholarship from Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.

Learning the Ropes: He believes work experience in your chosen field is essential to success, and that you should learn all aspects of the work—not just the job you are seeking. “You need to know what is happening behind the camera, what your producer is doing, how they put the ‘rundown’ together. There’s a lot of competition [in this field]. You’ve got to work extra hard and be ambitious about your dreams.”

Humble Beginnings: Ventura was born in El Salvador and came to the United States at the age of 6. Last spring he traveled back to his native country and had the opportunity to reflect on his life and what he has accomplished. “I looked at the house I used to live in and the poverty there . . . I never thought I would make it this far; my family’s support and George Mason University has made me a professional.”

Extra Credit: The young man who went from ESL classes in elementary school to AP classes in high school says his parents have been a tremendous influence on his life. “They respected me and supported me. On graduation day, I’m going to look at them and cry because it took a family effort to make it possible.” Ventura plans to pursue a graduate degree either in journalism or homeland security in the nearer future.

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