Red Carpet Arrival

Sofia Espina won an Emmy for her work on a television adventure series,
and the journalism major is just getting started.

When she finishes her college degree, Sofia Espina might have a leg up on her fellow job applicants in television news.

The Georgia State University journalism major earned a Southeast Emmy Award — one of the top prizes for television excellence — June 10 in the “Feature News Report” category for a light feature or series.

Espina won the award with her mentor Amanda Ramirez, the longtime news anchor on Univision Atlanta, for their feature program, “Aventura Sin Fronteras” (“Adventure Without Borders”). The feature details the travels of a businessman who quit his job and sold his belongings to travel the world.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it,” Espina said. “I’m so grateful. To me, it’s more than an award. It’s proof that sacrifice comes before success.”

The native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, has a passion for storytelling and listening to the stories of others. She heard that a friend of hers, Ignacio Valenzuela, had left his job at Coca-Cola and wanted to follow his dream of traveling the world.

“I said, ‘What? Is this even possible?’” Espina recalled. “I always saw these things on TV, but I couldn’t believe he was going to leave. And he said, ‘Of course, everything is done, and I’m ready to go.’

“The guy is so young. He had a great job, and everything was perfect. But he had a dream and did whatever it took to pursue that dream.”

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While Espina didn’t go abroad with him, she told the story of his journey using her interviews and the videos he sent her from abroad. The result is an exotic tale of wanderlust most people accustomed to job security and the luxuries of life could never experience on their own.

The program was born entirely from Espina’s drive to succeed. As a production assistant at Univision Atlanta, she constantly asked her supervisors if she could do more. Her wish was granted.

“They believed in me and what I was doing,” she said. “They allowed me to be involved all over, and it was one of the greatest things I’ve experienced.”

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