Yahoo Beauty & Style reporter Cindy Arboleda, ’17 got an abrupt welcome to her new home in the Big Apple.
She arrived to Times Square, New York City to get to her hotel, but was stopped by police after a drunk driver had run over pedestrians. Instead of taking it as a drawback, Arboleda says it was a sign that she was there to do a job as a journalist.
“It was pretty unfortunate what happened,” she says, “I immediately started reporting on the event and getting people’s reaction, journalism is what I love to do.”
She was recently hired as an editorial intern for Yahoo Beauty & Style and selected fellow for the Knight City University of New York Summer Internship Program. The program is exclusive to minorities and offers digital-journalism training, all-expense paid.
“New York is a place where there are so many people and they’re all trying to achieve their dreams,” Arboleda says, “So working at what you’re passionate about here is a validation that you’re on the right track.”
Arboleda, who is from Bogotá, Colombia, had previously interned as a reporter for the Miami Herald. She had first worked as Entertainment Director for FIU Student Media and was a Staff Writer for the South Florida News Service. She also interned at Viacom International Studios for Nickelodeon where she helped manage video production and social media.
“Cindy always takes the opportunity to see how she can do better,” says Dr. Robert ‘Ted’ Gutsche, School of Communication + Journalism Assistant Professor. “Few students come back to their professors with a copy of their story draft and then final version published in the Miami Herald to go over the changes – even after talking with their editors. That kind of tenacity and spending of time is what fuels her success,” Gutsche says.
Gutsche also says he encourages his students to continue their studies at a graduate level to continue to grow as journalists who can better the industry. Arboleda says Gutsche’s advice influenced her to eventually pursue a master’s degree.
“At FIU, we train journalists, digital media entrepreneurs and strategic communication professionals how to take hold of such moments and move their career – and the industry – forward. Like what Cindy found, however, nothing our students experience in the classroom alone can prepare them,” Gutsche says.
Before starting a career in the communications industry, Arboleda was accomplished in hospitality working at hotels; however, she knew she had to seriously focus and follow her dreams of becoming a journalist.
“You have to learn when to sacrifice and just go for your dreams and know that every step you take in that direction is like a building block,” Arboleda says. “It’s up to each student to really feed what they have with all the amazing resources FIU offers.”
Arboleda took advantage of the “building blocks” FIU has for young journalists. “I was heavily involved in journalism-related activities and clubs at school,” she says, “everything led to where I am now.”
Arboleda sees her new opportunity at Yahoo as an inspiration to work even harder and hone her skills. She wants to bring awareness about the Latino community through her platform.
She recently wrote a story about a college student from El Salvador who empowers people from Central America by creating social media accounts that highlight their culture in a positive way.
She thanks God and her mom for helping her become who she is today.
“This is all for God’s glory because when you think you’re not enough, He’s the one that opens the doors for you,” Arboleda says, “Every opportunity you have, you just have to take it and go a thousand percent.”