by Annabelle Blair
When Frank Gargano began college, he never planned on being a journalist. In fact, he started as a civil engineering major, taking math and science classes but quickly realizing this wasn’t for him. During the second semester of his freshman year, Gargano’s friends who worked at the university’s cultural magazine, the Stony Brook Press, suggested he try journalism.
“I took a couple classes and fell in love with it,” Gargano said. Although he said it’s “a big leap from engineering to journalism,” he feels rewarded in seeing his work published and being fully engaged in his career choice.
Gargano, 20, is a junior at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York. He is majoring in journalism with a minor in business management. The place where he was born is also his current city of residence, Atlantic Beach, which is located on Long Island.
“Frank Gargano is a terrific journalism student,” said Jon Friedman, who teaches at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism and worked with Gargano at the school's Professional Friday program in the 2018 spring semester. “Frank helped whenever I asked him to contribute stories to the school of journalism website. He showed his maturity and ambition by making himself available. It was a pleasure working with him.”
Connection with the DJNF came about as Gargano was seeking summer opportunities; once he learned of the test and application, Gargano studied for a few days before applying. In March, he got the official call that he was accepted. “I didn’t have high expectations (of getting offered a DJNF internship),” Gargano said. But when he was offered a position at American Banker, a business publication headquartered in Manhattan, he began jumping up and down.
Joining the workforce in a professional setting and being able to have clips and bylines outside of his school publication is what Gargano is most excited for in his internship. This will be his first internship experience; in the past he’s worked on a ranch and in restaurant service.
For the past two years, Gargano has worked for the Stony Brook Press. The role of business executive has been his most recent this past semester, a position he described as similar to a treasurer: managing the budget and purchasing new equipment and vouchers for trips.
He has also written articles during his two years of college — some were published both in print and online — and is involved in the editorial process. Gargano said he enjoys writing for the magazine because he has a lot of freedom in choosing his story topics. While working for the Stony Brook Press, he has learned to edit, use media programs and design layouts.
An opinion piece he wrote about the Wells Fargo financial scandal was his first published work; it’s also his favorite. Gargano chose to emphasis how the scandal might affect college students. The piece combined his interests in business and news; through it, he hoped to show students why the issue was important to them.
Gargano has a variety of soft and hard skills: researching, interviewing, professionality, punctuality, dedication and communication.
In his free time, he enjoys visiting local diners to hang out with his friends and running on the beach in the summer. He ran track in high school, and was a part of the honors program there. Gargano loves kids. He used to volunteer at a local school where his mom worked, playing with Kindergarteners and helping them draw and do math.
His dream job, if he didn’t have to worry about money, would be owning a small diner in a small town where everyone knows each other. “In any (TV) show there’s always that one place where all the characters would go and hang out, and I think it would be so cool to own that,” he said.