There is no one path to success.
Neither Jen Rosen ’09 nor Kelly Nader ’16 pictured themselves in casting and production when they began radio-television classes at the Nicholson School of Communication and Media. And both took different career routes after graduation. But in the funny way life works, the UCF grads crossed paths on the set of the award-winning series “Shark Tank.”
“I wanted to be a director of photography originally, but the more exposed I got to writing and content production the more I fell in love with it,” Rosen says .
Nader, who got her start in the casting department, feels the same way.
“I was going to be a sports reporter,” Nader says. “I never even considered production until I was walking around Nicholson and saw an advertisement for the Clay Newbill Internship.”
Newbill ’82, a Nicholson alum and executive producer of Shark Tank, began an exclusive internship in 2013 to bring radio-television students to Los Angeles. While this wasn’t available for Rosen as an undergraduate student, Nader found and took the opportunity with open arms.
“I am so grateful that UCF and Clay Newbill gave me amazing opportunities and an internship that changed my life.” – Kelly Nader ’16
“I am so grateful that UCF and Clay Newbill gave me amazing opportunities and an internship that changed my life. If you work hard and take chances as they come, you will cultivate your own best reality,” Nader says.
Nader credits her success to the Clay Newbill internship. It took her from a student who wasn’t sure where she’d end up all the way to Los Angeles, working under some of the most notable producers in the television business.
The road to California wasn’t as simple as an internship-turned-career for Rosen. After graduating UCF, she spent her time working at a resort near Disney. Unsatisfied, she decided enough was enough.
“I wanted to give my dreams a shot,” Rosen says. “My husband and I packed up our belongings and our dog and headed across the country. I had no plan and no solid job prospect; I was just going with the flow and hoping for the best.”
An old friend from UCF reached out to Rosen after her move, and told her about a local job opportunity in the casting department of Reveille Productions. That job developed multiple connections that led to Shark Tank.
Recently, the casting department of Shark Tank was nominated for an Emmy. This is Rosen’s greatest achievement to date.
“Our casting department has never been nominated before,” Rosen says. “This was a huge deal, not only for me, but for our whole department. It was an incredible and unexpected experience.”
With Season 11 wrapping up, both Nader and Rosen continue on with their own individual projects. While Rosen continues on at Shark Tank, Nader is working as an associate producer on the Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC.
“Production life is not glamorous,” Nader says. “But UCF has prepared me in every aspect for these job opportunities. I know what to do, how to conduct myself, and most importantly I have a developed work ethic. I am so grateful.”