Today@Sam Article

Bearkat Internships: Sophia Cruz

Aug. 10, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

Bearkat Internships is a Today@Sam series that features select SHSU students who participated in recent internships. If you (or a Bearkat you know) would like their internship considered, fill out this form

Sophia Cruz (second from left) poses for a photo with her fellow KPRC-2 interns.

Some students enter college with the intent to pursue one subject until the bitter end and make a career out of it, others acknowledge that while having it all figured out is good, it is okay to change your mind along the way. Sophia Cruz entered Sam Houston State University as a business student looking to find her true calling as she studied.

Inspiration struck Cruz in a weather and climate class led by Ava Fujimoto-Strait, professor and renowned researcher of all things geography. To the then-freshman Cruz, Fujimoto-Strait’s instruction actually stuck with her and made sense.

“Weather is something you see every single day,” Cruz said. “Something she said that really stuck out to me as a freshman was high pressure days are good hair days, and that was something I could get behind.”

With that simple remark, studying weather and relaying it to the masses became Cruz’s mission. She later changed her major to geography and dove into her studies, learning about all facets of the discipline, from climatology to culture. The more she learned, the more she leaned toward making a career out of geography, eventually settling on meteorology.

“I started thinking about my interests and someone once told me that if you find something you love and you can make it a career, it will never feel like you’re working and those words really stuck with me,” Cruz said.

Sophia Square copyAs her final semester approached, Cruz knew that she needed to get experience. She sent out applications to news stations around her hometown of Austin and Houston, just an hour’s drive from her new home in Huntsville. After much anticipation, she was offered the opportunity to work at KPRC 2 as the station’s only weather intern.

“I was kind of nervous and  thinking I’ve never done this, I don’t know what to expect. I was thinking it was going to be like TMZ and the newsroom is going to be so crazy all the time,” Cruz said “It did not turn out like that at all, everyone is like a big family there.”

Cruz entered the newsroom equipped with her knowledge of geography, but no experience in the media, leading to her being intimidated at the prospect of working on-air. Her fears were quickly alleviated by the KPRC 2 weather team, who she says took her under their wings and supported her every step of the way.

During her stint at the station, Cruz has acquired many new skills, including graphic creation for forecasts, writing copy for weather updates, working with a weather team and even presenting her own forecast live on air. She credits the weather team’s support, guidance and care for her success in the internship.

“You can tell all the anchors there, including my mentors Caroline Brown, Anthony Yanez, Justin Stapleton, Frank Billingsley and Khambrel Marshall, just love what they do, are willing to share their knowledge with me and what they’ve learned from the industry,” Cruz said. “I think that’s the best part of working for KPRC 2, they’re just great people.”

While Cruz expressed great admiration for all her mentors, she explained that she was particularly inspired by Brown, who serves as the station’s only female meteorologist. Cruz said she was repeatedly impressed by Brown’s knowledge and skill and felt that she could be successful as a woman in the industry just as Brown is.

As she looks forward to her last semester at SHSU and her future career goals, Cruz is aiming to continue her education at Mississippi State University, where she will pursue a master’s in geosciences. Thanks to the university’s online program, Cruz hopes to also work as a meteorologist while studying. Because of the impact the KPRC 2 team made on her this summer, Cruz hopes that she can return to work for the Houston station after completing her master’s degree.

“My mentors have been the biggest inspiration for me to continue in this career and encourage me every single day, which is what really makes me feel special to them because they have interns every year,” Cruz said. “I just want to thank the whole team at KPRC 2 for showing me kindness from the heart and for teaching me so many valuable lessons in the station and about life in general.”

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