Worth it. That’s how Jeremy Castro, a senior journalism major from Raritan, New Jersey, sums up his time at St. Bonaventure University.
It was worth what felt like an endless drive across I-86 during his first trip to campus four years ago, arriving in the dark at a place he knew only through its men’s basketball program. And it was worth all the late nights of balancing class assignments with the challenges of producing live sports telecasts, hosting his own radio shows, and wearing several editorial hats for the student-run newspaper.
“For me, it’s been a real experience,” Castro said. “I’ve met a lot of people I won’t soon forget, people I care about and want to see succeed, and professors I can talk with, remember our time in class together, and just share a joke.”
Castro said the influence of his professors, especially those in the Jandoli School of Communication, has had a profound impact on him. He has gained a variety of skillsets via the mentorship of Rick Karnath, director of broadcasting, been challenged and inspired by the tough editing lessons of Dr. Denny Wilkins, professor of communication, and guided since his freshman year by the sage and nurturing advice of Carole McNall, assistant professor of journalism.
“I’ve been able to work with a lot of very talented professors in the Jandoli School,” he said. “I’m also proud of seeing the people I started this journey with now coming into their own, pumping out story after story, whether about the pandemic or sports or local news.”
He said some of his best moments have been realized while working alongside classmates in covering Division I college sporting events on live television via ESPN+. In his sophomore year, the A-10 struck a deal with ESPN’s digital network, which held specific requirements for equipment and staffing and how all sports should be covered on-air.
The university integrated new HD equipment to meet the needs for the ESPN+ feed and then trained staff and students on how to utilize the equipment. Castro was there for every step forward into streaming live in HD across the country. He has done everything from play-by-play of sporting events to providing replays, operating a camera and overseeing audio and graphics for telecasts.
“As a kid, I watched a lot of sports,” he said. “To be involved with something like ESPN is a pretty cool thing.”
Karnath, who teaches the Sports Television Production course and oversees the production room located in the Reilly Center, is appreciative of enthusiastic students like Castro. (Pictured above left: Mike Hogan interviews Jeremy Castro. Photo by Priscilla Contreras.)
“With St. Bonaventure and the Atlantic 10 being part of the ESPN family, we are able to bring these games to family and alumni and anyone else who might want the ability to view the games live,” Karnath said. “The product we produce is broadcast quality and has great viewership across the country. This wouldn’t be possible without dedicated students like Jeremy. It gives them first-rate, hands-on experience, as well as material they can put on their resumes and in their portfolios.”
Karnath praised Castro for his strong work ethic as well as his attention to detail.
“As an announcer, Jeremy always does his research,” he said. “During a play-by-play for a men’s soccer game, the goalie from the visiting school was from Colombia. Jeremy did some research on the player’s hometown and found that this player lived in a town eight hours from the nearest airport. So for this player to get to the United States, he had an eight-hour car ride followed by a 22-hour flight. It was a fact that wasn’t important to the game, but it was a fun piece of information that enhanced our broadcast.”
During his final semester at Bona’s, Castro is focusing on his photography skills—specifically sports photography—and is inspired by adjunct professors Craig Melvin, a photojournalist who covers the Buffalo Bills and the WWE, and Lian Bunny, a member of the class of 2017.
“I’m really enjoying their instruction,” he said. “They push me to be better. Now there’s more of an interest for me to ‘make’ a picture instead of ‘take’ a picture.”
Words used to describe Castro include kind, dedicated and funny. Once he makes a decision, he sticks to it. He has been known to expound on rock ‘n’ roll, especially the great guitar players, and is fond of Starburst candies. But it is his appreciation of all things Bona’s that is his signature mark and will have the biggest influence on his future.
“Being able to study at St. Bonaventure,” he said, “is worth everything.”
By Susan Anderson