College graduates dream of finding success while pursuing their passion. For Madison Pergrem, a recent graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, that meant working at a job where she would face new and exciting challenges each day.
Pergrem, who graduated in May 2019 with degrees in general business and broadcast electronic media, is now living that dream as the newest reporter and anchor for eastern Kentucky’s WYMT News. Though she began her college experience as a business major, she soon discovered a love for broadcast journalism.
“I'd always thought about broadcasting,” said Pergrem. “It's an opportunity to get out and meet people. You're doing something different every day.”
Growing up in Richmond, Pergrem spent a lot of time on EKU’s campus. Her family regularly attended sporting events and homecoming together. So after graduating from high school, enrolling at EKU was an easy decision.
“It kind of felt like home,” she recalled.
That sense of security allowed Pergrem to go the extra mile academically and professionally. As a student, she earned high-profile internships at WKYT news in Lexington, WAVE 3 News in Louisville, Fox News in New York, and the offices of Congressmen Mitch McConnell and Andy Barr in Washington, D.C. Those positions helped her gain valuable experience and build a broad network. Those are essential, she said, to landing a job after graduation.
“Without those experiences, I definitely would not be where I am today,” she said.
The highlight of Pergrem’s Eastern Experience, though, was covering last year’s Donald Trump rally with the EKU Broadcasting department. She reported on University and city efforts to prepare for the rally during the week prior. The opportunity was a dream come true for Pergrem, who hopes to report on politics at a national level one day.
The Department of Communication faculty, Pergrem said, were instrumental in her achievements. “They always made sure that, if there was something that I wanted to do, they would help me accomplish that,” she said.
Pergrem specifically credited Michael Randolph, senior lecturer in the department, with giving her valuable advice and story ideas and encouraging her to pursue her own stories. Deborah Givens, department chair, taught Pergrem much of what she has learned about journalistic writing.
Based on her success, Pergrem advises new and soon-to-be graduates to network, intern and learn as much as possible while in college. Most of all, she encourages students to try turning their passions into careers, even if others discourage it.
“If you’re passionate about something, I say, go for it,” she said. “You can always change your mind later, but while you're in college, you have the ability to pursue what you really want to do.”