By Nadine Matthews @deeniemedia

Takoma Park’s Faith Young revealed to Baltimore AFRO that she has always been drawn to television because of how stories are communicated visually. “I was always interested in anything centered around art,” she explains.

Now a Cinema Major at McDaniel College, Young, who took Advanced Placement art at Springbrook High School, points to Frida Khalo as her favorite artist. ”She had a disability but she still found a way to be an artist and to incorporate her mental health to help herself cope.”

Faith Young (Courtesy Photo)

Young is one of fifty students from across the United States to be selected for a coveted spot in the inaugural Television Academy Foundation Internship: Star Trek Command Training Program. It’s an immersive educational experience into the show’s production process, where interns are exposed to writers’ rooms, wardrobe design, cinematography, animation, and post-production.

Television Academy Foundation Executive Director Jodi Delaney, explains. “Our vision is to educate and inspire the next generation of television leaders.” Delaney reveals they have always strove to be diverse. “Our current class of interns is 78 percent people of color. It’s important to work with partners who have the same vision so it’s wonderful to work with CBS.” Normally interns are flown out to California. Unfortunately because of the coronavirus, it all happens virtually this year.

“Fantasy,  sci-fi, surrealist films and TV” such as  The Neverending Story and Labrynth captured Young’s imagination as she grew up. “I loved puppetry and animatronics and lots of color .” She also loved Star Trek. “It was very important to me growing up to see Uhura in the original series as a Lieutenant and having lines and she’s not a super light-skinned woman.”

Uber producer Alex Kurtzman approached the Television Academy about partnering with his show for a Star Trek internship. He’s showrunner for Star Trek: Discovery starring Sonequa Martin Green, and was Executive Producer of Sleepy Hollow starring Nicole Beharie, both of which have Black women as leads.

Kurtzaman told Baltimore AFRO a meeting with astronaut Mae Jemison inspired him to create Discovery, and he feels a “tremendous responsibility to provide opportunities for those who might not otherwise have access to learn how it really works on our show.” Doing it on a franchise like Star Trek, he feels, is very fitting. “Star Trek has always been about inclusion,” he says. “It’s about imagining a future where all the things dividing us now are things the Star Trek universe left behind centuries ago.” The ideal Star Trek intern Kurtzman said is, “Obviously someone inspired by Star Trek but more importantly, this is an opportunity to give the key to a door a lot of people don’t think they could ever walk through.”

Young who was about a month into the program at the time of our interview already met Kurtzman. “It was ‘humbling speaking to the person who created the program I’m in now,’” she said. She’s also met the art director and cinematographer for Star Trek: Discovery, a show she shares, she loves. “I love being introduced to new characters and think it’s amazing the main character is a Black woman. With sci-fi you don’t really see a lot of Black people so it was nice seeing her at the forefront of the story showing there is a place for us in science fiction. Science fiction is extremely inclusive if you’re doing it right.”

She was incredibly excited, she said, to meet Jonathan Frakes who was a regular  in Star Trek: The Next Generation and now also directs. “It was nice to find out what made him want to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. His meeting set the tone for many others. He was very kind.”

Young also met director Gina Prince Bythewood (Love and Basketball). “It was wonderful to hear her journey and how she went from wanting to do basketball to going into film and became a top person in the  industry.”

A self-described introvert, Young admits she was nervous meeting these industry insiders. However, she understands it’s important for her future. “I know I need to form connections and I’m really excited to learn from these people.”