Viacom Summer Intern Avonna Zheng: From Homeless Youth to Nickelodeon Team Player

Nickelodeon intern Avonna Zheng worked hard and played hard at her 2017 summer internship. (Photo collage created by Zheng)

When I was in the eighth grade, I was one of the thousands of homeless children in New York City. I was constantly moving from shelter to shelter.

At that point in my life, attending college and having a successful career did not seem nearly as important as worrying about where I would be sleeping at night.

Luckily, I was raised by a mother who encouraged me to work hard and get an education so I would not have to live through this struggle again. The adversities I faced growing up, along with my mother’s strong, positive influence inspired me to pursue a better future for myself.

During high school, I joined Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, an organization that helps students from underserved communities access opportunities to attend college and start a career. This organization helped me earn a six-week scholarship for Syracuse University’s summer college program, which ultimately let to my enrollment as a full-time student at Syracuse University.

I worked hard in college, and in the summer of 2017, my dedication and determination paid off when I applied for a Viacom summer internship and was selected to work with Nickelodeon’s project management department.

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Viacom Scores 18 Emmy Nominations for a Diverse Roster of Programming

Sketch comedy, potluck, political satire, lip syncing, drag queens, kid-friendly rock and roll and animated, nostalgic purple grapes: these are a few of our fans’ favorite things. And it turns out that the esteemed voting committee for the 69th Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards likes them quite a bit too.

Between VH1, Comedy Central, SpikeNickelodeon, and our Paramount Television production studio, Viacom brands scored 18 nominations.

Take a look at Viacom’s diverse roster of brands and the eclectic shows that impacted TV’s most prestigious award celebration:

Created by Viacom Catalyst

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The Stars, Stunts, and Slime of Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards

Orange blimps invaded Los Angeles, along with a deluge of slime, stars, and surprises, for the 28th annual Kids’ Choice Awards earlier this month.

Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards juxtaposed beloved mainstays (green goo, orange blimps, and celebrity guests) with cutting-edge elements. Stars shot out of an orange slide to get onstage. A drone circled the audience at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center, affixed to an orange blimp, snapping shots of fans and posting them to a second screen in the arena. A “live set” of real kids posing as stage props capped off the ultimate fans-first experience.

WWE star John Cena hosted the extravaganza, getting the chance to flex his muscles in an arm wrestling contest with the cast of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. This was one of many stunts chosen by the kids watching at home on Nick’s multiplatform, digital voting system.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: The cast of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn armwrestle with host John Cena onstage with Dj Khaled at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/KCA2017/WireImage)

The cast of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn arm wrestle with host John Cena and Dj Khaled at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/KCA2017/WireImage)

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Nick Jr.’s Nella the Princess Knight Captures the Zeitgeist of Diverse America

Not all super heroes wear capes—some wear sparkly ball gowns.

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Nella rides into town with a message of self-empowerment. Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Nella, the titular character in Nick Jr.’s Nella the Princess Knight is shattering princess norms.

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This biracial princess knight slays gender norms. Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Equal parts glam, girly-girl and brave warrior, Nella lives in a castle and gossips with her pet unicorn about fashion—yet she’s not afraid to get her pink gloves dirty when trouble arises.

Nella grabs her glittering sword and dons pastel armor, embarking on treacherous quests to save her kingdom.

Oh, and she’s biracial.

Since the show premiered earlier this month, Nella’s attracted legions of fans (besides Nick Jr.’s target audience of preschoolers).

Nella is a hero. Not just for the citizens of her fictional village, but for parents, journalists, television critics, African-American bloggers, college students, women’s studies professors, and child media advocacy groups.

According to People, “[Nella] stands for everything our world needs.”

Here’s why.

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Nick Gets Kuu Kuu With Gwen Stefani’s Exclusive Animated New Show

Fans of superstar Gwen Stefani won’t want to miss Nickelodeon’s latest animated series, Kuu Kuu Harajuku. Inspired by executive producer Stefani’s love of Harajuku cultureKuu Kuu Harajuku follows the kuu kuu adventures of the band HJ5 – Love, Angel, Music, Baby and G – through their super cute world of music, fashion and style.

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Gwen Stefani is executive producer for Nickelodeon’s newest animated series, Kuu Kuu Harajuku. Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon.

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