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March 27, 2020

Meet Amelia Karasu

As a Senior Coordinator, Events and Donor Engagement, Amelia Karasu coordinates many of the Development Department’s Member events, including monthly lunches, which focus on sharing behind-the-scenes stories from WNET’s producers with donors. “I also coordinate select events for higher level donors, such as our Tech & Tours, where Patrons get a chance to tour our offices and studios at WWP. It’s important to make these events educational and engaging for our donors, so they may not only learn more about the organization they support, but also truly feel connected. Additionally, I maintain the schedule for our department’s Vice President, Vanessa Wise,” Amelia says. Read on to learn about the path that led Amelia to WNET, her favorite places in Astoria, and more.

Amelia Karasu

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

I was an English Teacher in Kenya, then South Korea, then a traveling volunteer on various farms in the Philippines, Turkey, and the UK, and then I came back to Brooklyn (where I’m from) and worked at the Brooklyn Public Library in volunteer resources and community outreach. I moved to Seattle after that and worked at a small non-profit organization called Village Volunteers, where I was the Associate Director. I’ve always been passionate about education and empowering communities, so when I saw there was an opportunity to work at WNET where I could be a part of doing that in an events capacity, I was excited to take it on.

The Development Department hosts many events throughout the year. Are there any events you have worked on that were especially memorable?

I would say the Downton Abbey movie screening at the AMC movie theatre in Times Square was pretty memorable. There was so much outreach for that event, as there was space in the theatre for over 300 people. Donors giving at all different levels were invited to come together as a community to enjoy something they loved from PBS; that communal aspect is what makes viewing content particularly special. And it was awesome that so many people came in costume!

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

I definitely watched a lot of Sesame Street, Zoboomafoo, Zoom, Wishbone, Arthur, The Magic School Bus, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a kid. These programs were all special and informative for me in different ways. I think most importantly, they taught me about the values of kindness and community.

Which three shows airing on our stations this month are you most likely to watch, stream, or record?

This month is almost over now, but I watched the Ken Burns documentary, East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (more about that below). The American Masters series, Unladylike has been really satisfying and empowering, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming Cuba’s Wildest Revolution episode on Nature.

The company is now working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you have an interesting story or photo to share about your experience working from home?

I actually watched East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story with some of my Urban Planning peers at Hunter. We screened it together through Zoom, while using the chat feature to talk about how the story compares to our studies and experience with public housing. I also watched a live drag show with friends through Zoom, which was interesting to see being offered. Everyone is getting more creative in these challenging times, which has been an encouraging silver lining.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I’ve lived in Astoria for the past year and loving it. I really like Socrates Sculpture Park, a small community-supported park with lots of interesting sculptures that change from year to year. I also really enjoy the Museum of the Moving Image, which shows really cool classic films with admission and has some fun permanent exhibits. There’s also a ton of great restaurants in the area, including a Turkish one I really like called Truva. It has backyard seating, which feels great when it’s warm out. (Can’t wait to get outside again!).

What book are you currently reading?

I’ve recently gone back to some comfort reading — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It happens to be about the world ending, but in a very satirical and ridiculous manner. I need the comic relief right now, and this series never fails to give me that.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

I’m working towards a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning right now, which is both exciting and challenging to study in New York City because there are so many different interests involved in the planning decisions that are made here. Now that I’ve had more free time inside recently, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and knitting again, which has been relaxing and fun.

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