If not for Illinois, Christina (Crawford) Steed’s passport would have a lot less stamps, her TV reel wouldn’t include a spot on “Good Morning America” and her taste buds wouldn’t know the delicacy that is the Gumby’s Pokey Stick.
These are a few of the Chicago communications executive’s favorite Illini things:
1. Gregory Hall
“When I was accepted into the broadcast journalism program in my sophomore year, I started spending a lot of time in the basement of Greg Hall — from my radio storytelling and editing class to when we started producing television stories.
“My classmates and I would be in there all hours of the day and night trying to get our work done, competing to sign up for editing bays and equipment and ordering Pokey Sticks from the pizza place Gumby’s as a late-night snack.
“Things got really punchy around 2 a.m. when your project was due later that morning. Fun times.”
2. The Black House — “or what’s now known as Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center.”
“I met great folks who managed the Ronald E. McNair scholars program hanging out at the Black House, which led to me being a summer participant in that program that prepared students for post-graduate study.
“I was also selected to be featured on ‘Good Morning America’ to talk about being a student seeking my master’s and Ph.D. I did continue on and get my master’s from Mizzou and am still shooting for completing a Ph.D. program.
“One of the McNair program managers — Dr. Micheal Jeffries — also recommended me for a cross-cultural trip to Germany to study the Black Diaspora and I was able to spend part of my summer after graduation touring cities in Germany such as Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt.
“It was my first time traveling overseas and ignited my love of world travel. Since then, I have been to France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Dubai, Egypt, China, Latin America, Romania and several other places, including back to Germany.
“I got engaged in Santiago, Chile. And it is because of that experience I got from being a McNair scholar.”
3. The dorms
“I loved, loved, loved living in Busey Evans my sophomore year. I lived in Snyder in the Six Pack my freshman year and quickly found out I was not a fan of coed dorms.
“Busey Evans was like a sanctuary and I loved the sisterhood formed their with my roommates. It also had the best specialty dining hall when they used to feature specialty cuisine in each dorm. Busey’s was like a dessert and coffee shop.
“Best dorm ever.”
“I worked at WPGU The Planet and WCIA, the CBS affiliate, as a newsroom intern/reporter. I also fundraised at the U of I Foundation. Great job.
“My former roommate and I are working on a book that has some parts taking place in Chambana so I’m looking forward to visiting the campus again soon to relive these memories.”