Lu Ann Cahn has always enjoyed mentoring future aspiring journalists.
“It wasn’t something anyone ever paid me to do,” the longtime NBC reporter said. “But I loved it. … It’s kind of like a pay-it-forward.”
Cahn, who has been a general assignment reporter at the station since 1987, has covered a varied range of stories from the 9/11 attacks to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, for which NBC won an Emmy for reporting.
Starting next month, she will begin her role as Temple’s first Director of Career Services at the School of Media and Communication, which she said she was offered in mid-December. Cahn added that since August, she and SMC talked about the logistics of the job, before eventually being named to the position on Jan. 5.
Cahn will work under Kimberly Guyer, assistant dean for student affairs at SMC. Guyer said there were multiple reasons why Cahn was selected to help fill the role.
“[Cahn] is particularly impressive because she has years of work experience,” Guyer said. “She has a lot of connections in the journalism field and broadcasting, [and] even advertising and [public relations] … she really seems to understand our students through our conversations, and it seems that she kind of gets Temple.”
Cahn has worked in higher education before, when she was a guest lecturer and taught investigative reporting at Drexel University in 2010-11. As the first person in the new position at Temple, Cahn said the job will have unforeseen challenges.
“I’m the first person to do this for the first time,” Cahn said. “So honestly, I’m not sure [of the challenges] yet … it will take an adjustment … but it will be like any other stage in my life, I’ll make the adjustments and figure it out.”
Cahn hopes the networks she has established while working in the field will help students find careers in a competitive job market.
“I must know thousands of people in the business,” Cahn said. “[I want to help students] get that hands-on experience you need in the field … it’s a difficult job market out there right now.”
Cahn is currently traveling around the country to promote her book, “I Dare Me,” which was published on Nov. 5, 2013. She said she is completing a 30 Dares in 30 Days Tour, where she completes a new dare in a different location every day this month.
She added that the tour has helped her connect with readers, which has become the main part of her cross-country trip.
Guyer said that SMC is excited to have someone fill in a new position, even though Cahn won’t be at Temple until next month.
“While we would like someone for all our positions [this month], this is a new endeavor for us,” Guyer said. “At least at this level and to this extent, so when she gets here, she’ll hit the ground running, and I’m sure we’ll be ready to go.”
When Cahn arrives, Guyer said there will be two main parts to her job – one is helping connect students to outside employers to help them find jobs and internships, and the other is preparing students for those opportunities, including teaching interviewing skills.
Guyer added that something Cahn will have to adjust to is working mostly in an office, instead of having to react to “emergency stories” that can pop up in the reporting field.
Cahn said one of the main reasons she chose Temple was because she thinks the university’s School of Media and Communication is the best in the region. Next month, she looks to help several Temple students start their career paths.
“I really just can’t wait to start working with students,” she said. “[And] helping them with where they want to go and what they want to do … and helping them achieve their goals.”
CORRECTION: A version of this story which appeared in print on Jan. 20 stated that Cahn had been offered the job as Director of Career Services in August. Cahn was offered the job in mid-December.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 215.204.7419 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel