When Lisa Lumeya did her first screen test to host the Eye on the Eagles TV show, she was so nervous, she didn’t think she’d be able to get through it. She’d never thought about getting into TV when American University Athletics scouted her, so being featured on a show was not on her radar.
Since that first time on camera, Lumeya has made an impressive go of it, hosting the sports round-up show for the 2012-2013 season. Not bad for a freshman who came to AU thinking she’d be a lawyer, not a TV personality.
"I just want to take full advantage of all the opportunities and resources here," Lumeya said.
Lumeya’s journey to AU was long and winding. She was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and a Congolese father. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they stayed until war broke out, which forced them to flee.
They returned to Sweden for a bit and then went back to the Congo when the war had ended. Ultimately, the family ended up in Fresno, Calif., where Lumeya did most of her schooling.
Having experienced war and conflict up close had a significant impact on Lumeya, SPA ’16.
"It spurred a passion in me for justice and international human rights," she said.
From a young age, Lumeya, who was her high school’s valedictorian, knew she wanted to be a lawyer and thought Washington, D.C., was the perfect place to cut her teeth in law.
She applied to AU sight unseen on the merits of AU’s political science program.
"This school could offer me the most in terms of what I wanted to do," she said.
As soon as Lumeya arrived on campus for AU’s Summer Transition Enrichment Program, she began to take advantage of all the opportunities she could.
She also joined the University College World Politics program, a full-year interdisciplinary course covering global issues in the contemporary era.
During one of her performances with the AU Dance Team, Lumeya caught the eye of Nancy Yasharoff, associate athletics director for communications. Yasharoff asked Lumeya if she’d consider hosting the Eye on the Eagles. Despite not having any broadcast experience, Lumeya said yes. She figured the experience of being in front of a camera would come in handy one day.
"I’ve definitely gained an understanding of speaking and an awareness of how I look when I’m doing it," Lumeya said. "Public speaking is a very important skill when you’re a lawyer, so this is very helpful."
Not only has hosting Eye on the Eagles laid a foundation for public speaking, but it has also given a new appreciation for what it takes to be a broadcaster.
"It’s a lot harder than it looks," she said.
One thing Lumeya has had to work on while hosting is holding her pose at the end of a shot. The pause seems interminable, but Lumeya’s getting better at it because "she’s extremely teachable," Yasharoff said.
Another thing Lumeya has come to appreciate since taking over host responsibilities is athletics at AU. Before coming to American, Lumeya had no idea that the university fielded 16 Division I teams. Now she knows a little something about all of AU’s sports.
Hosting Eye of the Eagles has brought the freshman some recognition around campus as well. More than once, someone has come up to Lumeya asking if she’s “the girl from the Eye on the Eagles.” Lumeya laughs at this, especially when it happens in the Terrace Dining Room.
With so much on her plate, including taking 17 academic credits this semester, Lumeya’s planner is her life. It’s full of commitments from fraternity meetings to class projects. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
"I work best when I’m under stress," she said. "But I enjoy everything I do."
To that end, Lumeya has some advice for incoming AU freshmen: Explore all of your options once you get here. Then participate.
It’s how Lumeya has adjusted to college life.
This article is the first of a four-part series called, "Your AU." The articles detail the experiences of American University students during freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.