Quiñones gives students advice on education and future careers

Alice Dunaway

Seven-time Emmy winner John Quiñones spoke to more than 400 students Wednesday about his experiences in the journalism industry and the influence education had on his life.

Quiñones, sole anchor of the show “What Would You Do?” and the co-anchor of ABC news magazine Primetime, began by talking to the audience about his educational journey.

“I would be a first generation college student and the message I was getting from society was I would never be college material,” Quiñones said. “They had no faith that I was material for college. They thought I wasn’t going to amount to much.”

“Again. I wouldn’t give up. I preserved. I wouldn’t let them get me down,” Quiñones said.

During his speech, Quiñones also gave students journalistic advice on how to seek out stories and find a career.

“The thing that got me the big job was something you should always remember: take advantage of every opportunity to get your foot in your door,” Quiñones said.

Quiñones showed a clip from his show “What Would You Do?” before taking questions from the audience. After being asked who his biggest influence was, he said his mother.

“Even though she dropped out of school in third grade, she was determined that I would do better than her,” Quiñones said during the event. “Even though I had to have bean and burrito tacos when the other kids had bologna, she told me that I was as good as the kids who grew up in the rich part of town.”

The event, sponsored by the Undergraduate Studies, Student Support Services, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and University Relations, allowed for students to think critically.

“Mr. Quiñones came because of his diverse background and his interest in higher education. He was involved in the TRiO program which is a very important program at our campus,” Said L. Sewell, the dean of undergraduate studies said.

“It’s also about critical thinking and allows students to think about why they’re here and their purpose for being on campus,” he said. “It’s more than just going to school. It’s also about being a good humanitarian and a good citizen of the world.”

Students said they came for a variety of reasons.

“I’m an international student from Colombia and thought it would be interesting to listen to him speak,” Maria Cardenas, a freshman broadcast journalism major said.

After the speech, Quiñones shook hands and took pictures with attendees.

“I want them to be inspired and know that anything is possible,” Quiñones said in an interview. “I told them tonight anything is possible if you believe in the dream and if you are determined and if you are persistent: It’ll happen. It is as simple as that.”

Contact Alice Dunaway at [email protected].