August 6, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (August 6, 2018)—When Richard Pergolizzi was 16, he painted one wall of his bedroom bright green to create a “green screen,” bought a video camera, and even rigged up a teleprompter to turn the space into his own mini-studio. Then, every morning, he got up early to tape the daily weather forecast for his high school’s in-house news show.
Pergolizzi is still getting up early, but now he’s reporting to the WCTV broadcast facility in Tallahassee at around 4 a.m. several mornings each week in his role as a news intern there.
Pergolizzi’s interest in meteorology and broadcasting has never wavered. While a student at Jupiter High School and later Palm Beach State College, he was a weather intern at a local station. Last year, he enrolled at Tallahassee Community College to complete several mathematics prerequisites before entering the online meteorology program at Mississippi State University.
Even though Pergolizzi, 27, is not a full-time student at TCC, he decided to take advantage of TCC’s internship program to complete a college-credit internship through the TCC Career Center.
According to Career Center director Catie Goodman, Pergolizzi took a proactive approach to his internship. When he came to talk to her about it, she realized he had already won a spot as a news intern. But he wanted to enroll in the three-credit internship course in order to benefit from having the internship documented on his college transcript.
To earn college credit, Pergolizzi had to complete at least 150 hours at the station and submit a term paper. The station also agreed to submit two required evaluations of his performance—to make sure he got plenty of feedback on what he needed to do to best prepare for his future career.
According to Majorie Pierre, special projects producer and internship coordinator at the station, Pergolizzi has made the most of the opportunity.
Pierre, a former WCTV intern herself, advises new interns to be “annoying”—constantly asking questions, trying new things and offering to help employees throughout the station.
“We look for our interns to be ‘bona fide hustlers.’”
According to Pierre, Pergolizzi took what she said and ran with it.
“He did not shy away…his energy was there…he’s positive…he wanted to learn and he did learn. That’s what made him super-successful.”
Although weather is his passion, Pergolizzi enjoyed getting to work with professionals from all areas of the station during his internship.
“I do weather some days. I partner up with Charles Roop [the station’s meteorologist], who has been awesome at teaching me and being a mentor. I’ve been going out with the reporters, talking with the anchors…video editing, talking with the producers, even participating in the control room, working the teleprompter during the morning shows….”
In 10 years, Pergolizzi hopes to be working at a major network, after a stint at a small-market station to get some on-air experience. He’s already applied for an internship at the Weather Channel for next summer.
“I’m ready to do what my calling has been since I was eight years old. I’ve always been fascinated with the weather…I love the process of how the weather works, how the weather changes all the time—that’s what makes it exciting.”