Hometown: Maywood, Ill.
Where he hopes you’ll see him someday: on television
How Beloit helped him get hands-on experience on air: My junior year, I did the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies program in Chicago. I got to do an internship with WGN Radio and Chicago Access Network Television in Chicago. I also got hired on as an intern with WGN TV during the following summer.
How his internships involved much more than getting coffee: With WGN Radio, I was finding news and writing about it. It’s great to hear your story read. It’s like, “Wow, that was good enough to be on air!” I learned a lot, like how to write short stories for radio and how to catch people’s attention with a good lead.
What it feels like to see your name on television: I interned for People to People on WGN TV. I booked guests, wrote for the script, and found graphics and music for the show. One of my friends saw the show and the credits went up and she immediately sent me a Facebook message: “I saw your name!” I was like, “I’m getting credit for my work!”
How off-campus experiences and classes meet: I took a journalism class with English professor Shawn Gillen, and he reaffirmed everything I’ve learned out in the field. Have active writing, no passive sentences, strong leads. In terms of learning how to write for television, Beloit has really helped me.
How he gets involved on campus: I do public relations for Black Students United. We just put together a speed dating event. We want people of all backgrounds and orientations get out there and get to know each other.
How a Beloit education “opens people up:” You learn things that you probably wouldn’t know otherwise. For example, I took a gender studies class. You come across stuff in your life like gender issues and taking classes like that makes you better prepared. When I was interning at CAN TV, a gender advocacy organization was featured on one show. Instead of being shocked to see men who looked like women, I knew where they were coming from. I liked that I didn’t judge them.
Why Justin will take these lessons on screen: When you’re in journalism, you’re talking to people who might not have the educational background that a Beloit student has. People might say things or do things that are not politically correct. I have the educational perspective and the ability to defend people or to challenge people about what they think. I feel more prepared to go out into the world and to be able to say what I want to say because of what I learned at Beloit.