“It was an exciting experience; there is a lot of energy out there,” said Gabriel, who graduated from ECU in 2001 with a degree in electronic mass media. “The folks being nominated are at the top of their craft and the whole evening is a celebration of their success. Being out there with my AFN teammates and representing our military men and women gives me a sense of purpose and pride in what I do!”
Gabriel is currently the lead producer and host for the American Forces Network. The AFN broadcasts entertainment, sports, and news programming to the U.S. government and military stationed around the world. A lot of what his job centers around is marketing AFN’s programming and covering industry events like the Oscars.
“We send our broadcast to 150 plus countries and multiple ships at sea,” said Gabriel. “If it’s popular here in the U.S., chances are we’ve got it on air for the troops. [We want] to give those folks out there a “touch of home” while overseas.”
Gabriel’s journey to ECU started with the thought of being “close to home.” After getting a chance to tour the campus, he immediately knew that ECU and the school of communication was the place that would help create the foundation for his future.
“I had some great opportunities to learn and prepare for the TV and media business while at ECU. The teaching philosophies and wisdom of the professors was first class,” said Gabriel. “From learning proper voice and dictation to understanding news and copy writing, the instructors poured their knowledge into those of us who were eager to learn and pursue a career in the business.”
With a strong foundation and a rewarding job, Gabriel couldn’t help but express pride for his school and what it meant to him.
“I’m always a proud pirate; my four years at ECU were really memorable,” said Gabriel. “I had some great experiences and learned a lot of life lessons. East Carolina [University] will always be a part of who I am.”
He also had a piece of advice for current and potential ECU students.
“Surround yourself with a good support team and if there’s something you want to be or do after college, chances are you can get some experience at it while at ECU,” said Gabriel. “You have to be a “go-getter” and take advantage of every opportunity. If there’s a chance for someone to give you a helping hand, they will! The culture of “Pirates helping Pirates” is alive and well.”