A Shippensburg University alumna was presented a collegiate Emmy last weekend for a community service package made for SU’s television station, SUTV, which provided an inside look into the life of a woman who raises guide dogs.
Marina Barnett, a 2017 graduate of SU, conceived the idea during her junior year of college, but it wasn’t until February of last year that her idea came to fruition. Her subject, Andrea Malmont, is an elementary education professor at SU.
“[Malmont] raises seeing-eye dogs, and has raised them for many years. She brings them to her classroom to socialize them,” Barnett said. “I decided to focus on seeing-eye dogs on this package because I think raising them is something that not everyone can do, but is very important.”
Barnett’s original intent of her project, titled “Seeing Eye Dogs,” was to focus solely on Malmont and how she uses her service dogs as a teaching tool in her classroom. Through Malmont, however, Barnett was able to meet teacher education department secretary Danielle Surotchak, who is currently raising her first guide dog puppy.
“When I talked to her, I learned that her son Joe, who is 11 years old, was the main caretaker,” Barnett said. “I thought it was incredible that an 11-year-old would be willing to raise a puppy knowing he would not be able to keep it.”
Throughout the package, Barnett chronicles the Surotchak family’s experience raising a guide dog for the first time. The family’s dog, a yellow Labrador Retriever named Burt, will remain in their care for several more months before he returns to New Jersey for additional training.
Barnett said she was able to complete her interviews with Malmont and Surotchak in two weeks, with two additional days needed to write and edit the package. Throughout the process, she said she received input from former SUTV adviser, Kim Garris, and her SUTV colleagues.
“I think winning awards like this benefit SUTV a lot. It is definitely a good way for us to get our name out there and for people to learn more about us,” Barnett said. “Not a lot of people know the hours that go into producing a newscast, or doing a package, but this kind of brings light to that.”
Barnett said she hopes SUTV’s Emmy nominations will further enhance the communication/journalism department in the eyes of the university and prospective students. She credits the strength of the department as the reason why SU is able to compete with the programs offered at Penn State and Temple.
“I think it shows how great our communication/journalism program is for the fact that we are able to compete with schools of that caliber,” Barnett said.
In addition to Barnett, Eric Heisler and Julie Kupchella, both graduates of 2007, were awarded Emmys for their work as students at SU. To view Barnett’s package, visit http://bit.ly/2h9Dtzz.