Student Spotlight: Christine Nieves

Penn Senior Christine NievesPhoto credit: Mark Stehle

LEAD STORY: Since June, senior Christine Nieves, born in the United Kingdom but a native of Puerto Rico, has co-hosted “En Portada,” a public affairs show on Telemundo Philadelphia. “En Portada” is Spanish for “On the Front Cover.”

MEDIA MATTERS: Nieves, a communication and public service major, originally wanted to be a neurologist but says it was professor Amy Jordan’s class in children and media that introduced her to the power of the media. “I saw it as an opportunity for me to make a difference,” she says.

POWER PLAYERS: Longtime Philadelphia broadcaster/journalist/author Diego Castellanos, who hosts 6ABC’s “Puerto Rican Panorama,” is Nieves’ mentor. He’s kept her informed about media goings-on in the city and introduced her to the industry’s power players.

HUMAN INTEREST: For her first interview, Nieves spoke to Yolanda Jimenez-Colon, director of marketing and communications at Taller Puertorriqueño, a Latino social service and cultural organization in North Philadelphia. “I was shaking throughout the entire interview,” Nieves recalls. “But the good thing ... is that being able to connect in a very human level with the person I was interviewing made it so much smoother and easier for me.”

TUNE OUT: Nieves says she does not watch television, but does watch her own show on DVD. “I tend to get a lot of my news online or from The New York Times that we get free in the Quad.”

PARA NIÑAS LATINAS: Nieves is working on developing a television show targeting Latina girls ages 7 to 11 to counter negative stereotypes she says are pervasive in mainstream media, such as portraying Latinas as domestic workers or saucy sex pots. “My goal right now is to get funding to see whether we can make this a reality,” Nieves says.

SECOND LANGUAGE: Nieves was not fluent in English when she came to Penn, but now speaks almost as if English is her native tongue. As a girl, she would read novels in English, with an English dictionary and thesaurus by her side.

GRAMMAR SCHOOL: Penn’s writing center and other campus resources have helped Nieves improve her English-speaking skills. “Also, I told all of my friends that they could make fun of me as long as they corrected me,” she says.

WISE LATINA: Nieves is applying for fellowships abroad and is interested in studying at the University of Oxford or the London School of Economics after graduating this spring. “The other option is to stay in Philadelphia, continue working on Telemundo or concentrate my energies on working on television [someplace else],” she says.

Originally published on November 12, 2009