Eric Russell was accepted into his dream graduate school, but said he couldn’t have done so without what he learned at the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA) and the home he made at Binghamton University.
Russell — who will pursue a master’s at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in the fall — said human development (HDEV) allowed him to step outside of his comfort zone, gain hands-on experience and become more openminded.
“As an aspiring broadcast journalist, I now have a strong understanding of how to approach and interact with people of diverse backgrounds,” Russell said. “You never want to make people or groups feel inferior. Majoring in HDEV has made me more patient, more culturally competent and more empathetic.”
Russell has always had a passion for communications and journalism. He interned at FOX 40 WICZ and FM 98 WJLB — roles that took Russell to the streets to interview local communities members on a variety of topics. HDEV’s unique practicum component, which requires students to intern at community organizations, helped Russell kick-start his journalism career.
“HDEV 475 allows you to do real-world work and connected me with the type of people and professionals I will be interacting with in the workplace,” Russell said.
Russell was also president of the Black Dance Repertoire and vice president of the University’s chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
“I have been very involved throughout my college career. Not just for my resume, but because I always like to be busy and interact with people.”
Russell, a member of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), credits its staff for reminding him that any goal can be attainable with hard work: “Every one who graduates from the EOP Program becomes a better version of themselves. I was taught that if I want something, I should go for it.”
Russell believes tenacity help gain his entrance into USC Annenberg, which is one of the most esteemed communications schools in the country.
“I called the University of Southern California every day just to keep my name in admissions’ heads,” Russell said. “Persistency is key: I feel like students sometimes become complacent when they don’t think they can meet certain requirements.
Russell will miss his HDEV professors and fellow students.
“I will miss the human development professors who have taught me so much,” Russell said. “I’ve gained classmates here as friends that I probably never would have talked to outside of my major.”
Although he won’t have the practical journalism background many of his USC classmates will have, Russell knows his education at CCPA has prepared him well: “This major has taught me so much about writing, communication and teamwork.”
“Human development is designed to challenge your preconceived notions,” Russell said. “I have become more well-rounded and socially conscious. If you are going to be a journalist, I you have to understand different viewpoints and perspectives.”