Alumni Profile: Jesse Scardina

By Delaney Fitzpatrick, Class of 2018

“I can’t think of anything I would directly classify as regret,” Jesse Scardina quotes on thinking back at his time at the University of Maine.   For those of you who don’t know, Jesse Scardina is a recent Alumni of the University of Maine. He graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelors degree in Journalism. Most might remember him as Editor in Chief to The Maine Campus from 2012 – 2013. He was also sports columnist and sports editor for his column, “Can I Kick it?” where he traveled to most UMaine hockey away games.

Jesse Scardina is from Kittery, Maine, where he currently resides with his parents, his older sister, and four dogs. On his decision to go to the University of Maine, it wasn’t his first choice. Or a choice at all at first. During his senior year, he applied to 4 colleges all in Boston. He got into his preferred school, Emerson College, but after a few complications involving financial and housing issues, he dropped out mid October and sent a hurried application straight here to the University of Maine. “I was able to make the best out of the situation though by finding my niche with the paper,” Scardina says on his decision to attend the University of Maine in the first place.

He joined The Maine Campus at a time when most of the higher part of the department was graduating, so the next year, he inherited the entirety of the sports section. “That threw me into the deep end, so to speak, for covering sports, which is what I want to do,” Scardina says on inheriting this large responsibility. There were lots of small things he had to do to get the job done, such as planning out coverage strategies, finding time to meet with coaches and players, finding interesting stories to develop for our readers, accurately cover games, and research opponets. “It was completely hands on and it was a type of experience that I could only gain with an actual publication, outside the confines of a classroom or homework assignment.”

Scardina enjoyed his time with the Maine Campus, especially the traveling aspect of it. Because he covered sports, part of the requirement was to travel to some of the games close by. From UNH and UMass to TD Garden and Fenway Park, he gained experience dealing with a lot of different people in situations. “There was the valuable tool of working with other schools for press passes and guidelines about Wi-Fi and interview times,” Scardina recalls, “It’s a skill that spans journalism, because in any field you’re constantly reaching out to other organizations and departments, and knowing how to talk with them is vital.”

In his time here, Scardina didn’t just write for the campus newspaper. Besides taking classes as well, he had two internships. During the summer of 2011, he interned for NESN.com (New England Sports Network website). He contributed pieces as well as copyediting for the network. He commuted to Boston three days a week to work 4pm to midnight unpaid, while also holding a four-day a week job at a restaurant. His other internship was paid internship, in working for the Bangor Daily News. He copy edited stories and browsed the web to make sure they didn’t miss any substantial information for their articles. The internships (held at separate times), working for the The Maine Campus, and classes kept him very busy. “College is the place where you have to almost overwork yourself, to find that threshold you have so you know what you can and can’t do when work piles up professionally, if you get to that point,” he stated on his experiences.

By January of his senior year, he was already seeking out websites for journalism and news jobs. He had a little trouble finding a job because he was picky, wanting to stay near his family. In journalism, jobs aren’t always the easiest thing to come across, so the less picky you are, the better luck you will have. Scardina was hoping to get a job at one of the two places he had interned at (NESN or BDN), but neither would commit, so he applied to a weekly paper in Vermont and a daily paper in Waterville, Maine. The daily paper in Waterville hired him as a news reporter. After a year and a half of working there, his hometown paper, whom he had interviewed with months back, called out of the blue and offered him a job. “I jumped at the chance to write for the paper I grew up reading, living near my family and friends and working in a larger market, which should only help my career moving forward.” He continues to work for his hometown paper today.

As you can see, Jesse Scardina led a very focused, hard working; writing – centered college life, and it led him to where he is today. In a job he loves. His advice to people who will be graduating this year and are looking for a job in a Communications and/or Journalism Department are quite simple. First, if you haven’t done an internship, do one now or sooner rather then later. Join The Maine Campus. Both of these opportunities that the UMO campus can give are valuable resources that should be used. He also suggests learning more about your possible job field. “The more you know how to do, the better it is for job prospects. Don’t be afraid to pick up that camera and learn how to take photos. Don’t be afraid to live-tweet events you’re at and incorporate other types of social media into your reporting… Being versatile in this industry is a small type of job security.”

It is nice to see how far some of our UMaine Alumni have come. From young intimidated freshman to news reporter extraordinaire, he took all the right steps in his college path to get where he needed to get. He gives good advice and sets a good example. Work hard, take every opportunity that comes across to you, and never let go of your dreams. Soon enough, we will all be Jesse Scardina’s. Alumni at the University of Maine and successful in our career paths we have chosen.