SCM Freshman Class Reflects New Jersey Diversity

Sharif Hasan

The School of Communication and Media opened its doors to a brand new building, a new academic year, and a talented and diverse cohort of incoming students this year. New Jersey and the New York Metropolitan area are one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse areas in the country.  This is clearly reflected in the freshman class of SCM students who are passionate about their career dreams and look forward to joining the SCM community of students, faculty and staff that will be an important part of their education. Meet four of them here:

Sharif Hasan

Sharif Hasan is majoring in Communication and Media Arts.  He expects to graduate in 2021 and hopes to have a career as a production or media manager for a television or film studio.  Sharif explains his decision for choosing Montclair State and SCM.  “I chose to attend Montclair State University due to the wide variety of courses and internships offered, and definitely for its close proximity to New York City.”

He is especially excited about being part of the first freshman class to study in the new school facility.  What really excites him is the fact he will be working in a 4k studio, the multimedia lab, a motion picture stage, and a presentation hall powered by Sony Digital Cinema Projection.

To Sharif, the school’s diversity is an added benefit.  “Despite my belief that ethnic diversity is paramount, it was more like a bonus rather than a main consideration when I decided to attend Montclair State University.  Montclair has many more factors that I took into consideration when I applied to the school.” 

“Coming from Edison, New Jersey, a town that is home to many races and cultures, I strongly believe that diversity is very important. However, there are many students who have not had the privilege to experience much diversity before in their life, and college will be the perfect place to introduce it. Ethnic diversity promotes creative thinking, social interaction, enhances self awareness, and prepares students for the diverse workforce in the United States and all over the world.

Sharif Hasan is a Palestinian American, who is very connected to his heritage and culture.  “I was lucky enough to never be judged or mistreated in the diverse town where I grew up. This prepared me for the diversity I would face in Montclair, and to always be accepting of other faiths, religions, and cultural backgrounds. The knowledge and human sensitivity I developed will hopefully allow me to gain success in my future career."

Sierra Craig

Freshman Sierra Craig will be majoring in Journalism.   She explains why she chose SMC.  “I chose the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University because it all just worked out for me.  MSU is affording me the opportunity to get the journalism education I want and at a good school.  Also, it’s close to New York City, which is the dynamic place I hope to work and write in one day.”

“One thing that really excites me about coming to the school is the new SCM facility.  I know it will be full of new, state-of-the-art equipment and technology that I cannot wait to get my wants on.

When asked about her perspective on diversity, Sierra responds, “I was unaware of how diverse the campus was, but was pleasantly surprised as I mingled with fellow peers.  Ethnic diversity is a major concern of mine.  I grew up in the Jersey City/ New York area. I went to school with people of different cultures, first-borns and immigrants alike.  I think it would be a culture shock to me if I attended a university that had very low minority ratios. 

Far more mature than her years, Sierra contemplates the irony of life.  “I think the thing that makes me stand out not only as an individual, but as a writer, is my constant need and desire to prevail over obstacles. You know, in my college essay I talked about how in first grade my teacher took away my recesses and made me do my writing homework that I didn't complete because I hated doing it. Now 10 or so years later, writing is all I want to do. Even further, I found out my high school axed their journalism class before I could take it so I started my own blog. I never give up hope and I know in my heart I will make writing for Vogue Magazine a reality one day, so I don't let these minor setbacks get me down."

George Jamogochian

Another freshman, George Jamogochian is a Sports Media and Journalism, and he has his sights set on becoming either a sportscaster, sportswriter, or, as he puts it, “any job that requires statistical analysis in sports.”

As it turns out, George has a relatively long history with MSU.  He used to work as a batboy for the New Jersey Jackals, a team that played at Montclair State.  Even then, he thought that attending the school would provide him with a terrific opportunity to get his feet wet in the sports media field.  “I’m also attracted to the new School of Communication and Media building.  Montclair seems to have everything that’s right up my alley.”

George also looks forward to the internship opportunities that will help round out his educational experience at SCM.  “They will be perfect for a college student whose aspiration is to work in a competitive business like sports media.”

The subject of diversity seems to bring out the thoughtfulness of the new SCM students, George included.  As he puts it, “While the thought of diversity didn’t figure into my decision to attend Montclair, I know it’s important for this college, because there are plenty of different cultures and backgrounds that are here.  It’s also important to me in the fact that I’m going to work with students and professors that come from different backgrounds.”

Grace Schwiederek

Incoming freshman Grace Schwiederek is majoring in Film.  Her dream is to become a director.  As she puts it, “I chose Montclair because I really want to go into the film industry in the future, and the School of Communication and Media has the right tools and right teacher support for me to be successful and enjoy my time in the school.”

She adds, “I’m looking forward to making my own choices, meeting new people and growing in my knowledge of my major.”

Grace is also passionate about how diversity affects her life. “Ethnic diversity is important to me.  I love that the country is slowly becoming a giant melting pot, because a person is a person and we are all beautiful.  I myself am adopted.  I am Asian, while my family is Caucasion.  It’s really amazing because they have adopted some of my culture from China, and I have adopted a lot of theirs.”

Sharif Hasan, Sierra Craig, George Jamgochian, and  Grace Schwiederek – just four typical, but exceptional young adults who are about to embark on the career phase of their life’s journey in the School of Communication and Media.