Jaquon Heath

Fellowship-Winning Student Looks Forward to Media Career

When Jaquon Heath ’13C receives his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in May, he will complete an undergraduate career notable for wide-ranging achievements. The English major has embraced the Vincentian tradition by distinguishing himself in the classroom, through service, and as a budding media professional.

A high point came last summer, when he was awarded a fellowship from the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) Foundation, Inc. He was one of only 15 students—from among 1,000 applicants nationwide—chosen for the organization’s competitive 2012 Summer Fellowship Program. The fellowship provided him with broadcast-industry experience through an internship at CBS News in New York City.

“I was so excited to receive this fellowship,” said Heath, who is interested in television writing and production. “I’ve always wanted to work in media. This gave me an inside look at the field.” Through the internship, he attended networking sessions with industry leaders. The IRTS Foundation is a charitable organization that promotes educational opportunities for current and aspiring media professionals.

It was University Career Services, Heath said, that originally helped him to obtain the fellowship. Through the center, he participated in an IRTS Foundation workshop that teaches students about media-related fields. He went on to apply to the summer program.

Career Services strengthened Heath’s desire to help others. For example, he served as one of the office’s Peer Mentors, assisting classmates as they prepared for jobs and internships. “I wanted to do the same things for my fellow students that my own Career Services mentor did for me,” he said.

Volunteering also enriched Heath’s other activities at St. John’s. He worked in the Writing Center on the Queens, NY, campus, advising fellow students on creative analysis and strong writing, and he regularly took part in Campus Ministry's Midnight Runs, which distribute food to the homeless. “I’ve been involved with community service since I was a child,” he said. “The University’s Vincentian Mission inspires me.”

Heath’s other extracurricular activities included writing for The Torch, St. John’s weekly student newspaper, and serving as vice president of Theta Epsilon, the University chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In addition, he founded The Food 4 Thought poetry club. "Poetry," he noted, "is a wonderful form of self-expression. If something is going on in my life I can always use the power of words through poetry, and others can relate to it. It forms a connection with people."

Under Heath’s leadership, Food For Thought has been active in on-campus events—including the Spring Week Poetry Slam and the Black History Month Cotton Club Dinner—as well as community service activities for the past four years. "Every week,” he said, “Food For Thought went to P.S. 156 Laurelton Middle School in Queens, NY, where we talked with the kids about college and worked on poetry with them. It was a really nice atmosphere."

As he looks forward to graduation, Heath is continuing his education in his craft. He is taking writing classes in Manhattan—including television writing, while serving as the Managing Editor of The Sphinx magazine, his fraternity’s national publication, and as editor of Sales Success for the Rookie and Sales Success for the Seasoned Sales Veteran, books both by author Steve Lentini.

These experiences, Heath said, confirmed the impression St. John’s made on him during his first campus visit. “I knew I had to come,” he said.