Chicago students chosen as Television Academy Fellows

2021 Summer Fellows Program
2021 Summer Fellows Program

Three students from Chicago, IL–Mallory Baysek, Zachary Gradishar and Isabel Roney–have been selected for the Television Academy Foundation’s prestigious 2021 Summer Fellows Program. They are among just 50 students chosen from across the country by Television Academy members to participate in the program.


Zachary Gradishar, of Chicago, IL, who attended St. Ignatius College Prep, is currently a student at American University in Washington, D.C., majoring in Public Relations & Strategic Communication. He will be a Public Relations/Publicity Fellow this summer through the Television Academy Foundation’s program.

“It feels so surreal to think the same people who vote on the Primetime Emmy Awards chose me to be a PR/Publicity Fellow–it is truly an honor!,” said Gradishar. “This fellowship means the world to me. It has been a dream of mine to have a successful career in the entertainment industry and obtaining this fellowship is getting me one step closer to that dream. I have always loved watching movies and television shows ever since I was a child. Both Tyler Perry and Shonda Rhimes are two television pioneers that have inspired me to seek a career in the entertainment industry. Being African American, representation means so much to me given I did not see a lot of people who looked like me on television growing up. Tyler Perry and Shonda Rhimes have done so much in that regard with their work and careers. Seeing them being successful in the industry transcends a positive message to me that I can do the same.”


Isabel Roney, of Chicago, IL, attended Walter Payton College Prep, and is currently a student at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She is majoring in Film Production and will be a Sound Fellow this summer through the Television Academy Foundation’s program.

“My favorite aspect of television is the ability to build unique and three-dimensional worlds”, said Roney. “In both television production and sound design, you can create anything imaginable–even things that don’t exist in our own universe.   I love the endless possibilities and creativity made possible by working in television.”

“What I hope to get out of this internship more than anything else is more insight into a very niche career field from people with real-life experience,” said Roney. “I didn’t have much exposure to production prior to college, so it’s been a steep but exciting learning curve. I’ve learned that the most valuable asset, when learning new things, is connecting with mentors and peers as passionate about the subject as you are.”


Mallory Baysek, of Naperville, IL, attended Naperville Central High School. Baysek obtained her undergraduate degree from Yale University and is currently working towards an MFA in Television Writing at Stony Brook University in New York. Baysek will be a Drama Writing Fellow this summer through the Television Academy Foundation’s program. 

“As I embark on my career, I am so grateful to have been selected for this fellowship by members of the Television Academy,” said Baysek. “I want to write intimate epics that probe the complexities of intersectional identity, in which untold permutations of characters — female, LGBTQ+, BIPOC —finally get to be their own legends.”

Typically, the Television Academy Foundation’s annual Internship Program provides 50 internships, at top Hollywood studios and production companies, to college students nationwide every summer. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Television Academy Foundation has had to re-imagine its internship program this year offering the 50 students selected from across the country the chance to either intern remotely or enroll as a Summer Fellow.  

The Summer Fellows Program includes virtual one-on-one visits with professionals in a student’s field of study, online panels with leaders in the television industry, and customized seminars covering personal brand building and navigating the job market ahead.Fellows also become life-long members of the Foundation’s alumni family giving them access to events and networking opportunities as they build their careers in the industry. 

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