KOKOMO, Ind. – For senior Shane Simmons, May 2013 will be a month of firsts.
Talk about jam-packed. Not only will he graduate, he's also getting married, taking a honeymoon to the Bahamas, moving to Indianapolis, preparing for graduate school, and, if all goes well, will start a new job.
As he leaves Indiana University Kokomo to begin a new chapter in his life, Simmons said he would miss the campus.
"My experience here has been more than I could have asked for," Simmons said, who will receive a degree in communications. "IU Kokomo has kept me grounded, focused, driven, and it has matured me. I've met some really great people and learned a lot."
When Simmons isn't swamped with schoolwork, his eyes and ears are glued to CNN or sports channels. It makes sense, then, that his life goal is to become a well-known broadcast journalist on a major television network.
"I've always had a passion for TV broadcasting," Simmons said. "In high school, I had my own sports show and I wanted to find a way to continue that."
For his senior seminar project, Simmons and friend Korey West founded a news-broadcasting club called Cougar News. The club took off and aired its first episode early last December, receiving more than 100 views within the first week.
"Starting Cougar News is essential to our experience and education," Simmons said. "I'm really proud of the success we've had and how much I've learned in the process."
Simmons emphasized that broadcast journalism requires a lot of experience. In order to be successful, it will require a lot of hard work and determination – two skills he doesn't lack. He is always looking to Anderson Cooper and Brooke Baldwin, both from CNN, to improve.
"If Anderson Cooper can travel the world as a teenager pursuing his dreams, I can do the same."
Simmons hopes to report on sports or politics. His minor in political science greatly prepared him and made him even more passionate about reporting on the subject.
"I remember taking a political theories class with Todd Bradley, and that class changed me," he said. "I'm much more open-minded and have new ways of thinking."
Recently, another great opportunity presented itself that puts him one step closer to reaching his goals. He landed a video production internship with the Office of Media and Marketing at IU Kokomo.
"I'm really excited for this internship," he said. "I have some basic knowledge of shooting and editing video, but enhancing my skills is going to really help me in the long run."
In addition to his work with Cougar News and Media and Marketing, he is a photographer for the student newspaper, The Correspondent, and a member of the History and Political Science Club.
This fall, he plans to start graduate school at Ball State University to pursue a master's in journalism with hopes of landing a broadcast reporting job in a large city.
Walking across the stage at May's Commencement will set him on this journey of firsts, as he will also be the first person in his family to graduate from college.
"My family has always been so supportive of me, and I wouldn't be where I am without them," Simmons said.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.
Story written by Mary Olk. Mary is a student writer for the Office of Media and Marketing.