UC Riverside alumna Megan Chao was elected to her first term to the Board of Governors of the Television Academy and ran uncontested.
The Television Academy is a non-profit organization known for its flagship event, the Emmy Awards. The organization is dedicated to the television and broadband screen entertainment industry. There are 20,000 members, representing 31 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, and others. Chao will be representing the documentary programming group.
Chao graduated from UCR in 2006, double-majoring in biology and creative writing. She credits UCR and its instructors with allowing her to focus on her passion, storytelling.
“I distinctly remember a life-changing moment when I was in my sophomore year as a biology major,” she said. “I had taken a nonfiction creative writing class to satisfy one of my ‘GEs' and my professor stopped me after class toward the end of the quarter and encouraged me to think about a career in journalism.”
The professor told Chao she had a gift for writing and her passion for science would allow her to communicate complex topics to a lay audience.
“I hadn’t considered the possibility before and then I spent the rest of my college education pursuing both concurrently,” Chao said. “I was able to find my voice in my writing, gain confidence in pursuing sources and story angles, all the while deepening my knowledge in the realms of science.”
Chao later earned a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California, specializing in documentary-making. Chao built her career producing documentaries for networks like Discovery, Nat Geo, Science Channel and others.
She teaches journalism at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and is the faculty adviser for Impact, the student-produced documentary series that broadcasts weekly on Spectrum News 1.
Chao said she has been mentored by previous academy governors. She served on the executive committee for documentary programming for the past four years and has been involved with the Television Academy for the past 10 years.
The Television Academy Foundation creates opportunities for students who are interested in the media and entertainment business, said Chao.
“I am passionate about the foundation,” Chao said. “I like to work with young people and give them internship opportunities whenever possible. I love what the organization represents.”
Chao is excited to explore the ways she can represent the membership in her two-year term, which began Jan. 1.
“The documentary peer group represents filmmakers and producers, but also television executives who work in documentary,” Chao said. “I hope to create opportunities for networking and just bringing our community a little bit closer together.”