Lights, camera, success: Communications alumna shines in television industry

February 19, 2024

Natalie Pino stands in a blue dress outside with an Emmy's statue behind her.

Natalie (Sgro) Pino ’12 always knew that communications was her calling. A decade post-graduation, she's risen to tremendous success as a seasoned casting director in unscripted television.

As a Bobcat, Pino was ambitious from the moment she stepped onto the Mount Carmel Campus and secured internship opportunities as early as her second year.

“I had an internship every semester because I wanted to figure out what I liked,” said Pino. “I tried a lot because when I entered the real world, I was already given more direction. Interning is so important. Even though it can be a lot, it can definitely be done.”

Throughout her Quinnipiac journey, Pino expanded her portfolio by interning at her current company ITV America — formerly known as Leftfield Pictures — as well as WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut; News 12 New Jersey; and "Today" in New York City.

Her experience covered various areas of the field from assisting producers in the studio to working in development. She shared that her time gaining expertise as a student, as well as navigating possible future roles, was extremely beneficial to her career now.

During her senior year, Pino collaborated with fellow students in her capstone course — currently known as HQNN — which acted as a stepping stone to her line of work.

“It really prepared me in a working newsroom,” said Pino. “We used very similar equipment in class that I did at News 12, so it wasn’t too much of a learning curve when I worked at a real station. I loved all of my journalism professors and their hands-on classes prepared me the most.”

The alumna cultivated valuable relationships with several companies during her internships, which led her to secure an associate producer freelance position at News 12 immediately after graduating. After a quick, enriching summer with the station, Pino began working as an East Coast Page at NBCUniversal conducting studio tours at 30 Rock, acting as a production assistant for the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” coordinating live audiences and more. After her work as a page ended, she became a full-time PA for “Morning Joe."

She then moved onto a position she got to know as an intern at Quinnipiac.

“The casting team at ITV America always grabbed my attention when I interned there,” said Pino. “I really bonded with them and enjoyed the work there.”

Flash forward eight years, Pino is a two-time Emmy-nominated casting director making waves in the unscripted television field.

She has worked on a variety of series that range from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” to “Pawn Stars." Some of her favorite long-term projects to work on are “Queer Eye” on Netflix — for which she received Emmy nominations — and “Alone” on the History Channel.

While she didn’t win for her category, the experience was incredible for her and her team.

"'Queer Eye’ is a show where you are interviewing people that you really want to help,” said Pino. “They really deserve the recognition. It’s nice to talk to their families and friends and hear about these amazing people. You get to see them become their best self and you see the positive impact on their life.”

She shared how she surprised herself when switching from working in news to entertainment, but how her love for casting has grown. In her day-to-day work life, Pino speaks with potential talent over video calls, handles feedback from channels and streaming services and often advocates for prospective stars.

“There are always different people, different challenges and different stories to tell,” Pino said.

As a Bobcat, she continues to leave a mark on Quinnipiac and shape the future of reality television with each new project she embarks on.

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