Every year, many Duke students and graduates go on to jobs in the financial, consulting or computer programming industries. While these may be dream jobs for some, there are others who choose to break out of the mold and pursue careers and internships in the arts and entertainment industry. We've profiled five of these creative minds and asked them about the best and worst parts of their positions, how they landed their dream jobs and what the future holds.

Dana Fabrikant: HBO Media Relations

Name: Dana Fabrikant, Trinity '02

Job: Media relations department of HBO

Duties: Fabrikant is responsible for reviewing and writing press releases for all HBO programming, for assisting in the preparation for premieres and special events and for compiling a press digest of current HBO and AOL/Time Warner news. " This includes work for HBO series like The Sopranos, Sex and The City and Six Feet Under--as well as HBO's acclaimed documentaries," she said.

How she got there: Fabrikant knew early that she wanted to go into the entertainment industry. " Because Duke does not offer a major in communications, I decided to look into the [department of public policy studies]. I coupled my studies in the PPS department with an internship at HBO, and worked in the media relations department of HBO in New York City the summer after my sophomore year--where I assisted in the logistical planning of press campaigns," she said. Fabrikant loved her intership, so she frequently spoke with her co-workers at HBO. When she was offered a position, Fabrikant jumped at the chance to return to the media relations department.

What it takes: " I think that my outgoing personality and my people skills make me an ideal candidate for both my specific job at HBO and a general career in entertainment and media. I love working with people, and in this business you deal with not only some of the best and brightest minds, but also some of the most creative," Fabrikant said.

A word from the wise: She recommends the PPS to others wishing to pursue a career in television media--particularly classes like Television Journalism. The Film and Documentary Studies Program will also help you gain exposure to the industry, said Fabrikant. She also counts drama and performance classes as invaluable to her career.

Where you'll see her in the future: While Fabrikant is considering law school to pursue entertainment or sports law, for now, she is enjoying her time in New York City. " I have always said that my dream job, would be one in which I can honestly say that I look forward to going into the office everyday. I went from watching my favorite television shows, to being paid to promote them. As far as I am concerned, I have a dream job now," said Fabrikant.

--Kim Roller

Seth Davis: Sports Illustrated Columnist

Name: Seth Davis, Trinity '92

Job: Sports Illustrated columnist, covering men's college basketball and professional golf

Duties: He spends his summers on the links and winters taking in the best college b-ball around the country. It may be a dream job, but "there are parts to every job that aren't so cool. But I am not going to try to convince someone that it's not [great]."

First position: He wrote for the New Haven Register in Connecticut and covered high school sports. Davis said he'd never forget the time Coach K returned his call while he was working at the Register, covering a Duke-Connecticut game. Coach K wasn't giving interviews because he was recovering from back surgery, but he still returned Davis' call. "It was a little newspaper in Connecticut," Davis said. "He had every reason not to do [the interview], yet he still did it, and I'll really never forget that."

How Duke helped: Davis was a columnist and sports assistant editor at The Chronicle, as well as a creator and producer of Cameron Corner on Cable 13. "I have a picture hanging in my office of me and Coach K standing in front of the Cameron Corner sign [at Cable 13]," he said.

Role Duke plays in his career: "When you cover college basketball, Duke is a very big presence in the sport. Obviously, I got interested in college basketball because I was a Duke student. Certainly a lot of people in the business know me as the 'Duke guy,' and it's something that I am a little wary of because I don't want to be biased, but I am certainly proud to have that label attached to me."

Opinions on Duke: "I am proud to be a Duke graduate, and I have great affection for the experience and the school, but I definitely feel disconnected to the current version of Duke." Davis said he feels the University's recent trend of no longer creating well-rounded students and no longer giving students a well-rounded experience has affected Duke negatively.

Does Duke get to the Final Four this year? "If I had to predict, I would say no." He places Arizona, Pitt, Texas, and Florida ahead of us.

--Yoav Lurie

Kari Zander: Broadway Dance Center

Name: Kari Zander, Trinity '05

Job: Intern at Broadway Dance Center in New York City

Duties: Worked 10 hours per week in exchange for 10 free classes per week. Duties included manning the front desk and helping organize visiting groups.

How she got there: Kari went to the BDC in January as a member of the Dancing Devils and took classes. "It was so much fun; I loved it!" She took more classes while visiting her sister in NYC over spring break, and that's when she found out about the internship. She completed the application and landed the job. Kari's been dancing her whole life. Tap and jazz were the first types she learned as a child; then, she moved on to modern dance at Enloe High School in Raleigh. At Duke, she's been studying ballet, in addition to Dancing Devils.

How Duke helped: Since very few other interns have come from top schools--most were from state schools with dance programs--the name recognition helped her land the job. The time-management skills she's acquired also aided her in the eyes' of others.

Tips on landing a similar position: Kari recommends going to a larger city--such as New York or Los Angeles--and know whether you want a more structured environment or a less structured one--like BDC's. She also uses the Internet to find jobs or auditions and use any opportunities for networking.

Cool stuff: BDC gives interns a lot of good connections in the dance world. The employees there keep interns posted on auditions, and a friend of Kari's from BDC is now a Rockette. She also got to take classes from Brian Friedman, who choreographed Britney Spears' video for "I'm a Slave 4 U." A regular instructor at BDC, Jermaine Browne, choreographed Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" video.

Tough stuff: Many of NYC's professional dancers take classes at BDC on their days off, so the classes were challenging. "You'll have one dance studio that will have 80 people in it; there's no air conditioning in it. Everybody's just going crazy, working hard, trying to make their way to the front." BDC's open class system allows anyone to take any level class, but beware, Kari warns, many people who are advanced students at home aren't ready for the advanced classes at BDC.

Future plans: While she can't see herself leaving dancing altogether, she hopes her Film and Video certificate will help her get into directing and producing music videos and other projects involving dance.

--Meg Lawson

Vinny Eng: Williamstown Theatre Festival

Name: Vinny Eng, Trinity '03

Job: Production management intern at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

Duties: At Williamstown, Eng would rise at 9 a.m. and run the errands for the day--going to production meetings, shuttling actors, sitting in on technical rehearsals, taking care of finances or moving in a show, which had to be done each weekend within 48 hours. Perks included meeting established Broadway and film actors, such as Tate Donovan and Diane Venora and attending opening-night galas and late-night company shows.

How he got the job: While working as a producing intern on Paper Doll for Theatre Previews at Duke last spring, Eng met Broadway producer Randall Wreghitt, who mentioned that Williamstown might offer an interesting summer experience. Eng applied to the program and was accepted for an 11-week theater season in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

How Duke helped: Williamstown is a premiere regional theater festival--and has a Tony Award to prove it--but Eng hadn't heard of it before talking with Wreghitt and Theatre Previews producer Zannie Voss. Both Wreghitt and Voss wrote Eng recommendations for the competitive internship program. Eng also credits his work on Paper Doll for preparing him for such an intense program. "The theater program here is great, because everyone is so involved with the national theater community, so they can give you contacts," he said. "Opportunities exist for that in one way or another, especially through the Theatre Previews program.... You can work on a show in a professional setting, and they have internships on everything."

Future plans: Although he is an economics major, Eng plans on entering a life in the theater behind the scenes. He's especially excited to work again with folks he met in Williamstown. "The people there--the interns and apprentices--work alongside established professionals. In 10 years, they're going to be working in New York, as the new professional community. It was a great place to go and meet people with such a passion for the art," said Eng.

What WTF experience translates to Duke now: Eng is active in Duke's drama community, currently working as stage manager for Theater Studies' production of Macbeth. At Williamstown, he also helped with the Greylock Theatre Project, which brought high-caliber theater to underprivileged students from North Adams, Mass. He hopes to continue a similar project at Duke, producing for Hoof 'n' Horn's children's theater, a touring production of Schoolhouse Rock.

--Meghan Valerio

Ashley Hollan: Artist's Assitant

Name: Ashley Hollan, Trinity '05

Job: Artist's Assistant

How she got into it: "It started the winter of my sophomore year of high school. A good friend and I decided to go check out some art galleries around Atlanta one Saturday afternoon, and we stumbled into one called Jules Jewels. It's a gallery and kind of like an artsy gift store. and we ended up speaking to the lady behind the counter not knowing that she was the artist who had done all the work--on the spot, she offered me a job. So I went in and interviewed with her and started out working, running one of her two locations as the assistant manager and then eventually started shadowing her as one of her studio assistants, one of two studio assistants."

Duties: "Some of the stuff she did was like wall hangings and that was one of the major things that I contributed to. We each kinda had our own part in the studio, and then we were also free to work on pretty much anything we wanted to contribute. I still correspond with her, I actually was selling my own work out of her store for a while and pulled it out right before college, but I was selling both paintings and floor cloths out of her gallery. She was on the Today show and a lot of other shows talking about the work that she's done. One of the projects that we worked on was part of the stage for the show Friends. Some of the pieces that all of us in the studio worked on together were on the show."

How art has improved her Duke experience: "I think it has let me see what the art community is like right now and the good and bad things about it--it's definitely made me want to be a part of it"

Solicited advice: "Don't be discouraged if you feel like you don't have the right contacts. Jules is actually a great example of this--she had no formal training as an artist and now is known as one of the better self-taught artists, especially in the South. So, no matter what style of art you have, don't stop doing it--for any reason. "

Where she's going from here: "Jules is a pop-artist--I'm more of a photo-realist. But it was a great experience to learn what the art community is looking for and the challenges that local artist are facing."

--Macy Parker