When Portia Booker graduated from high school, she was not sure what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She knew she wanted to continue her education, and did not want to incur unnecessary loans, so she chose Cuyahoga Community College because it was affordable and offered many program options. Tri-C immediately helped Booker determine her career path. “I was introduced to the newsroom on my first day and I fell in love with it. I knew I didn’t want to go into anything else,” she said.
Booker credits many Tri-C teachers for helping her both inside the classroom and with making life decisions. Associate Professor of English Brian Hall taught her to keep small issues in perspective and not to give up on herself. One of her journalism teachers, Jack Hagan, gave her valuable feedback that helped her writing and, though the class taught by Associate Professor John Kerezy was challenging, she always knew “he wanted me to reach my full potential.” Tri-C Instructional Specialist Sarah Szweda is still an important mentor to her former student. “She’s always available to help me with decisions,” Booker said. “I appreciate everything she has done for me at Tri-C and in my post-graduate life.”
She earned her Associate of Arts degree in 2013 and then transferred to Kent State University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism in 2016, the journalist accepted a position with KJRH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she worked until recently. As a News Producer, Booker had many responsibilities. “When I arrived at the newsroom, I would look for content from previous news shows to go in what was called the ‘morning rundown.’ I also looked on wire service feeds to find national stories. Once I found all my content, I had to write scripts, create graphics, and format everything in the rundown.” She is now managing a blog, “What's In Portia's Pocket,” that addresses mental health issues.
Tri-C provided Booker the opportunities she needed to start her career, and she encourages other students to learn more about the College and the scholarships that may be available to help them. “I would tell other students to do some research and weigh the options. Tri-C has many of the same classes as a four-year university at a lower cost," she said. "There are also many scholarships out there to make college affordable. Why not give it a try?”