Jackie Orozco arrived on campus in the fall of 2003 thinking the military was in her future. But as big a blast as Army ROTC was — “I learned how to swim in my full Army uniform and I rappelled off of Memorial Stadium. So cool,” she says — the future reporter at WOFL-TV Orlando discovered her career calling when she stumbled upon a sign about opportunities at the campus’ FM radio station, WPGU.
“I remember this day perfectly, as if it was yesterday: As I cut through the Quad to get to class, I noticed a colorful sign posted right outside the Union asking for people to come to a meeting to learn how they can have fun and earn some money working at the local radio station, WPGU,” she says. “After attending that meeting, my life changed forever.
“It’s here where I found out I really enjoyed talking to strangers, writing stories and learning about what was going on in the community. So being a reporter seemed to be a perfect fit.
“I decided to take a few journalism classes to see if this was really the right career path for me. When Mitch Kazel showed us the studio lights, control room and all the fancy equipment at Richmond studios, I was intrigued even more. I was contemplating switching my major from pre-med to broadcast journalism.
“I finally made that decision when I met John Paul, my broadcast TV journalism instructor. He had real first-hand experience in the TV biz and was always up front and honest about how difficult and satisfying this career can be while also having the opportunity to change lives. His teaching style and genuine knowledge of broadcast journalism sealed the deal, so to speak.
“I switched my major, and I’ve never looked back since.”