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Live the Orange Experience Through Our Students

Sophomore embraces the chance to lead while he prepares for a career diversifying storytelling in the entertainment industry.

Five More Questions With David ’23

How did your family weigh in on your decision to attend Syracuse University?

When I selected Syracuse as my top choice, my family was astonished that I would opt to attend a school up north instead of staying in Florida. Since my family is from Cuba and Haiti, they were worried about me dealing with the cold. Not to mention that I would be so far from home. But once I explained to them that Syracuse has everything I need to take myself to the next level, they were more than happy to support my decision.

What was the first thing you did when you found out you were accepted?

November 28, 2018—that was the day my life changed forever. I remember the car ride home from the interview. I replayed my interview over and over in my head until the car pulled into the driveway. When I got the phone call about my acceptance, I was in complete and utter shock. I immediately ran to tell my grandma and eat the congratulations cake my aunt had brought for me even before we received word of my acceptance.

Why did you choose a dual major in international relations and television, radio and film?

I want to be remembered as someone who redefined how stories are told so they accurately reflect the experiences of all viewers, and as someone who was able to give his audiences an overall better understanding of the world around them. By majoring in international relations with a concentration in intercultural communication, I am broadening my ability to comprehend and navigate different cultures from a non-Eurocentric perspective. This is important since cultural sensibility gives people the mechanisms to question and reevaluate traditional narratives.

At the same time, studying television, radio and film is giving me the specific skill set and knowledge regarding the medium I want to use to carry out my visions and ideas. I hope to use both of my majors to diversify the stories being told on the big screen and to increase representation within the entertainment industry.

Students wearing masks stand and talk outside.

What are some of your experiences getting involved in campus life?

This past summer, I was asked by Keith Alford, the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Syracuse University, to co-moderate a panel with politician and commentator Bakari Sellers. During the panel, we discussed some of the systemic injustices that exist within higher education. After the event, I realized that more conversations like these had the potential to propel my Syracuse community forward. I wanted to design a program that would enrich and empower students of color, and show them that success is attainable. Soon after, “Shades of ’Cuse” was born: a talk show facilitating dialogue between students on campus and alumni making positive change from marginalized communities. During the first episode, we had a chance to hear from Dexter McKinney Jr. from Netflix’s When They See Us . This conversation gave students an opportunity to discuss what it’s like to navigate a predominantly white industry. I know firsthand that success feels so much more attainable when you see people who look like you, and I want to continue this work of making others’ dreams a reality.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is a great place for students to start if they are looking for ways to get involved on campus. The Center for Fellowship and Scholarship is another resource for students looking to maximize their Syracuse University experience.

What’s your favorite memory at Syracuse University so far? What are you looking forward to in 2021?

One memory that stands out occurred last fall semester. While in-person classes were still in session, each person in my multimedia storytelling class had to pitch an original script idea, and the proposal with most votes got adapted into a film. My group selected a piece I had written called “GONE.” It follows the story of the disappearance of a college freshman and it’s up to a ragtag group of students to get to the bottom of it. Think 39 Clues meets Scooby-Doo meets Riverdale . The filming of that was so much fun. I remember just running around in the cold with my group having a blast. In 2021, I’m looking forward to making the most of every experience.

Jacki Grosso

This story was published on .

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