From the liberal arts to a blossoming career in news

Hudson, Maine — It’s a brisk afternoon on Monday in late September, and Caitlin Burchill ’12 has just met her first two-headed snapping turtle. An encounter with an exotic baby animal is just one aspect of the job. Burchill has also explored Lobster Palooza in Rockland and even watched the investigation unfold of the devastating murder of Lynn Arsenault in Belfast last August.

Despite graduating from the College only two years ago, Burchill may now be better recognized as an anchor and reporter at WABI-TV5. On the hill, Burchill was well known around campus for her passion for athletics, her outgoing personality and her seemingly chronic and contagious good moods.

Luckily, after graduation, Burchill did not leave the Pine Tree State for long, and is now resides in the lively city of Bangor. Working as a reporter during the day and then as co-anchor for TV5’s one-hour 5 p.m. weekday newscast, Burchill has come a long way since moving onto the campus in 2008. As a freshman Burchill had yet to discover her interest in reporting, but her experiences at the College and in the workforce helped to shape her career today.

During her four years at the College, Burchill was a dedicated member of the varsity volleyball team. Her love of sports helped her develop her interest in story coverage and news casting. Burchill webcasted and did public announcing for Colby men’s and women’s basketball games, giving listeners animated play-by-plays of the games.

Off the courts, Burchill double majored in American Studies and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. When exploring career options, Burchill’s liberal arts education provided her the opportunity to pursue a variety of jobs.

She said, “Colby also gave me an upper-hand because I became a great writer, and the liberal arts education made me well rounded.” She encourages current students to understand the value of a liberal arts education and to try careers even if they do not necessarily fit within a specific major.

In deciding on a career in reporting and broadcasting, Burchill took advantage of a variety of resources. From speaking with her professors, family members of students and alumni, Burchill was able to find informative, supportive mentors.
For example, Burchill was able talk with Dave Epstein, a Colby graduate who worked as a meteorologist for WCVB-TV in Boston. Mentors like Epstein sparked Burchill’s interest in the profession, and helped her to find the job she enjoys today.

Burchill also took advantage of internship opportunities, such as her internship at New England Cable News. She said that during down times, she was proactive in trying to learn more. “I shadowed and watched anyone who would give me the time of day. I learned a lot and it led to a full-time job,” Burchhill said. Burchill recommends Colby students do the same, and if a student absolutely hates it, “try something totally different!”

While Burchill may not anticipated that she would return to Maine so soon, she emphasized the importance of not having a strict career plan.

When the opportunity arose in Bangor, Burchill knew the job description matched her interests. She was able to experience a new and exciting city—not to mention that she would be able to revisit the always exciting Maine winters. Fortunately for the Colby community, Burchill was close by, available to cover monumental events such as graduation and the opening of the College’s Museum of Art.

Reflecting on her undergraduate experience, Burchhill considers volleyball to be have played a vital role in her life on campus. The team gave her a close group of friends and taught her vital lessons, such as the importance of hard work, cooperation and acceptance. Given her close ties at the College, Burchill’s geographic proximately to the Hill is almost symbolic. In Bangor, she brings with her the influence of her courses, professors, mentors and peers and applies the skills she learned on the Hill; all of which has ammounted to a rewarding professional career.

Fortunately for WABI-TV5, the city of Bangor and the College network, Burchill will be a presence in Maine for at least the next few years. Burchill encourages students to find their individual passions, and would love to speak with any students interested in exploring the fields of reporting, anchoring or careers in general. And despite being a well-known Maine news personality, Burchill would be glad to sit down and with anyone intersted in hearing about her fun and interesting work experiences such as the adorable, two-headed reptile.

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