July 22, 2016

I live my life by a quote from Napoleon Hill, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” So it should not have come as a surprise when Urvashi Barua and I received an invitation from the White House to travel with President Barack Obama to Poland for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit–and we would make the journey as part of the White House press corps. Even though we had already covered news events at the White House twice, this was an unprecedented honor. It was only possible because of the support and encouragement we received from New York Film Academy.


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alisa Rajkitkul and I am an alumna of the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. Last year, I finally made the life changing decision to leave everything I knew, and follow my heart to pursue my dreams. The journey has not been an easy one, but it has been extremely fulfilling. I learned a tremendous amount at NYFA, but the best and most unique part of a NYFA education is a real world-oriented, hand-on, intensive program that is unlike any other. They prepared us to do what no other student journalists have ever done — accompany the President of the United States on an overseas trip.

Our first stop was Poland, for the biennial NATO heads-of-state summit. Following that, we traveled to Spain where President Obama first met Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and then His Majesty King Don Felipe VI.

President Obama at NATO speech

Arriving in Warsaw, Urvashi and I reported alongside correspondents from CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and other top news publications and networks from around the world. One evening, I had a conversation with an NBC correspondent, who was in awe that reporters for NYFA News, an educational news outlet, were invited to attend. It felt surreal, and we definitely found ourselves taking it all in.

We had the opportunity to network and meet with generals, prime ministers and corporate executives. We reported on everything from US-EU crisis talks, to bilateral meetings involving NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, then Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, President Francois Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine.

This experience is something I will never forget. As my colleague, NYFA student Urvashi Barua stated, “I read about NATO in my college books. Today, being a part of the NATO summit as a credentialed White House reporter for NYFA News and the New York Film Academy, took me a step forward in my life.”

– Alisa Rajkitkul

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.