After graduating high school in 2014, Chinedu Onyemaobi figured he would be like a lot of his friends and head off to a four-year college. “But my mom said why pay for a four-year school to start when I could come to Essex County College for a lot less,” the now 21-year-old recently recalled.
So Chinedu started at Essex in the 2014 Summer II term. “I planned to go to school, do my work and then just go home; I even started out that way in the Fall semester.”
But along the way, Chinedu fell in love with college life as he pursued his Associate in Arts in Communications. The self-proclaimed big sports fan is now at nearby Rutgers University-Newark majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with an eye on becoming a sports journalist.
Chinedu also had a unique perspective and close up view of New Jersey politics when he was part of the panel of journalists during the Gubernatorial debate held October 10 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. “It was pretty cool to see the candidates and be part of the broadcast.”
Chinedu’s question to Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno was on students leaving the state to continue their education and the resultant New Jersey “brain drain.” He said he was a little disappointed in their answers and gave both candidates a grade of C+.
After he graduates from Rutgers, where he is on full scholarship, Chinedu plans to go to graduate school to continue his education.
As he moves forward in life, Chinedu proudly says, “I will always be happy that I started at Essex. The College gave me my identity and confidence I may not have had if I started out at a larger school.”
Essex Professor Jennifer Wager, Coordinator of the Communications, New Media Technology and Digital Media & Electronic Publishing programs, said she saw a lot of promise in Chinedu. “He’s brilliant, motivated and has a critical eye for media. I loved having him in class as he was always bringing new perspectives and approaches to media analysis and his media production skills were top notch!”
Chinedu has done work at jazz station 88.3 fm WBGO and that played a big part in his referral to the debate panel. That connection was definitely not lost on Professor Wager. “I take the Radio class to WBGO every semester and several staff members remember him as an outstanding young journalist.”
The Irvington resident has two sisters and one brother. One of his sisters, Chinenye, is a Nursing student at Essex. His father works for the City of New York and his mother is a nurse.