Cannon School grad gets Duke University course credit in New York City
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013

Cannon School grad gets Duke University course credit in New York City

    Cassie Calvert, left, a graduate of Cannon School in Concord, interned as a production assistant for actor Tony Lo Bianco. She also attended the talk show hosted by reporter Katie Couric, right, and talked with her after the show, getting advice about journalism from Couric.
    Cassie Calvert, second from left, a sophomore at Duke University, interned as a production assistant for actor Tony Lo Bianco, best known for his role in the movie “The French Connection,” starring Gene Hackman.

Cassie Calvert’s interests tend to veer in several different directions.

At the end of this school year, she’ll probably declare herself an evolutionary anthropology major at Duke University, but the college sophomore spent her summer as a production intern for MNA Productions in New York City.

Calvert, the daughter of Dave and Jennifer Calvert of Concord, arrived in New York through the Duke in New York Arts and Media Program.

“I got some Duke class credit while living in New York,” she said. “It was an amazing summer.”

The 2012 Cannon School graduate said AP biology was one of her favorite classes in upper school there, and her intended major “incorporates all aspects of evolution and anatomy. A lot of people use it on the medical education track.”

On the other hand, said Calvert, 19, “I know that I want to be involved in sports.”

Thus her developing interest in journalism.

In school, her sports were cross-country, track and swimming. She said her time at Cannon School shaped who she is today.

“I was there from age 4 to 18,” she said. “I would not be who I am today without going there. It was my home away from home.”

“She literally grew up at this school,” said Jennifer Calvert, lower school counselor at Cannon. “It’s a very safe and secure place. She was ready for the big jump.”

Cassie Calvert said Duke wasn’t even on her radar, but her best friend wanted to visit while they were looking at colleges.

“It was pouring down rain, but everything just clicked for me,” she said.

Calvert had a part in the documentary “Sports: Mission or Money,” filmed by one of her media professors, Clay Johnson.

“We were tenting,” Calvert said. “It’s the most insane thing you can ever think of.”

During her freshman year at Duke, she and 11 friends took turns living in a tent for one month before the Duke-North Carolina basketball game in Durham to get seats in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Calvert’s experience was part of the documentary.

Calvert recently interviewed former Duke basketball star Jay Bilas for her sports media class. She said she hopes the clip will be shown on Duke Student Broadcasting, although she was disappointed the video wasn’t the best quality.

“We talked about what Duke means to him now,” she said. “He has a daughter at Duke. We talked about his Duke memories and his predictions for the basketball team this year.”

In New York, Calvert interned as a production assistant for actor Tony Lo Bianco, best known for his role in the movie “The French Connection,” with Gene Hackman.

Her mom had gotten Calvert tickets to reporter and host Katie Couric’s talk show, and she was lucky enough to be seated on the front row.

“We were the last ones out, so I struck up a conversation with Katie,” Calvert said. “She gave me some really good pointers on how to get the most out of my undergraduate experience. We had a really good conversation.”

“It was just a good, stretching, growing experience for her,” her mom said of the New York internship.

Calvert is considering a career as a physical therapist or physician’s assistant.

“I want to see where life takes me,” she said.

Susan Shinn is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Susan? Email her at

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