Alumna takes her love of journalism to CNN
June 29, 2023
Priscilla Alvarez graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism in 2014. She took the skills she learned at Virginia Tech to CNN, where she works as a White House reporter.
Alvarez joined CNN to cover immigration during the Trump administration. A U.S.-born Argentinian, she has covered U.S. immigration policy, border crises under the Trump and Biden administrations, and the ins and outs of the White House.
She's currently based in Washington, D.C., where she's also on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Washington, D.C., chapter. She started her career in newspapers and worked at the National Journal and The Atlantic before moving to CNN in 2019.
Alvarez came to Virginia Tech knowing she wanted to pursue a career in journalism. In high school, she participated in Model UN by covering debate topics and events for the school publication. Through that, she fell in love with journalism.
At Virginia Tech, she joined the Collegiate Times, the student newspaper at Virginia Tech.
“I joined the newspaper probably within the first week of being a freshman. I joined the news section and that was, in addition to my studies, where I just started to learn a lot from my peers that were part of the student newspaper. I also learned more about the school and the surrounding area. I owe a lot of my career to my time at the Collegiate Times,” said Alvarez.
She worked as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief from 2013-14.
On top of her studies and extracurricular activities, she was also a Hokie Ambassador, the university’s student tour guides.
“I was daunted by it [Virginia Tech] being a big school in the beginning but then realized that it was a tight-knit community, and I wanted to share that with incoming students. It was also a good opportunity to get to know the school more. I was seeing all facets of the school while I was there, both by being part of the newspaper and talking to faculty and students for stories but also getting to know the school and its history by being a Hokie Ambassador,” said Alvarez.
While her academic studies in what is now the School of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences taught her in-depth knowledge of things such as Associated Press style used by most media, different communication laws, and broadcasting classes, she also had the chance to see the multimedia journalism program expand, including the addition of a broadcasting studio on the Blacksburg campus in 2013.
“I was piecing everything I learned together like a puzzle as I was going through school, and it was great to be there at the time because it felt like they [the faculty] were just starting to add more opportunity and gave me a better sense of all the different areas of multimedia journalism,” said Alvarez.
When it came time to apply for internships during her junior year, being a Hokie held tremendous power, she found.
“Virginia Tech armed me with what I needed to succeed in each of my internships. The reputation of the school was also helpful. The school’s prestigious reputation, my education, and my experience all helped lead me in the right direction,” she said.
Alvarez was a collegiate correspondent for USA Today and had other internship opportunities in both magazines and newspapers.
“There was so much anxiety around perfecting my stories but taking what I learned in classes and practicing it helped me feel more confident over time. It's always a challenge and there's always some anxiety and I think that's a good thing. It keeps us honest, and it keeps us humble as we report,” she said.
Written by Caroline Reed, a senior and an intern for Virginia Tech Communications and Marketing