Tab Bamford, January 21, 2014
After the Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball team hosts Purdue tonight, the Northwestern episode of LiveB1G premieres.
Tonight's episode showcases a partnership between engineering and design students at Northwestern and Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, as well as a unique program called Medill Media Teens, partnering journalism undergrads with high school students in Chicago.
Every Saturday morning, students at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism work with high school students from the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago to gain a better understanding of, and experience with, journalism. Nick Petro has been involved with the program as a student at Medill.
"A friend of mine was involved with it freshman year, and he always talked about how special the program is," said Petro. "Every Saturday morning he got to hang out with inspiring kids who had incredible stories and backgrounds, and who were motivated to do great work in journalism. When sophomore year came around, I applied and was accepted."
Throughout the year, students work in a one-on-one mentorship to build portfolios that include written pieces, photography, video and audio stories. As Petro remembered, not every experience was easy for the high school students.
"In the beginning the students are nervous and realize they're going to get rejected like every journalist does," he said. "We would go out on the street and try to get people to talk to us about something simple like football players' concussions. Dealing with rejection isn't easy at first, but the students learn to work through it."
Petro also pointed out that the program tries to keep the students with their mentor for the entire two years of the program. This leads to a deeper relationship than just a few sound bites.
"It's like your second family every Saturday," he said. "By the end of two years, it becomes like a big brother-little brother or little sister feeling. You see them every Saturday, get to know them outside of the program, too."
"The most rewarding part of it is when they ask about applying for college or talk to you about life after college," Petro continued. "By the end of the two years, they're all so confident in their writing, editing and video producing skills. It's amazing to see how much they can grow working with college students."
To learn more about the Medill Media Teens, visit http://www.medillmediateens.com/
Also be sure to check out some of our other blog posts featuring Northwestern University this season at LiveBIG: Northwestern.