ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's not every recent college grad that can say he met the President and First Lady.
But Jourdan Henry, who graduated summa cum laude from Howard University in May, said his steadfast focus on academics and extracurriculars helped land him invaluable internships and even an invite to last year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.
After winning a $7,000 Harry S. McAlpin, Jr. Scholarship, Henry was honored at the White House. It was, said the Spring Valley resident, among the most memorable moments in his life. Before the dinner, Henry was joined in the reception area by the cast of "Modern Family" and Model, Chrissy Teigen, along with two other Howard University students who won scholarships and a number of scholarship recipients from colleges across the country.
"It was incredible," he said of the dinner and meetings. "Really surreal."
Since attending Albertus Magnus High School in Bardonia where he developed his work ethic and commitment to studying, the sky has been the limit. At Howard University, Henry cohosted radio shows at two different radio stations on campus. He also hosted a sports show and covered all of Howard University's division one sports teams. Upon the invite of Henry's cohost and staff editor of the campus newspaper, he became the sports editor of Howard's Hilltop Campus Newsletter.
His first internship was with the Emma Bowen Foundation, which helps prepare minority youth for careers in the media industry. Following his passion for sports, he also held internships with ESPN and the Washington Wizards, and he spent multiple summers at ONE World Sports in Stamford, Conn.
After graduating with a B.A. in broadcast journalism, Henry will start work with the Nielsen Company, a global marketing research firm, in Manhattan this July. "I veered off the journalism path and onto the business path with this job," he said. "I saw it as an opportunity for growth."
Henry advises students to follow his example and focus on academics. “It’s all about really stressing academics, not getting caught up in the college hype," he said. "Focus on your books.”