When John Sakelos ’14 joined the Marine Corps in 2011, he planned on serving 20 years. That didn’t happen. After just eight months of service, Sakelos was given an honorable discharge due to a heart condition he had developed. While he could no longer serve alongside his fellow Marines, Sakelos would find new comrades in a more fitting institution where he could focus on academics and further his career. In the Fall of 2012 he enrolled at QCC and declared a major in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Now, one year later, Sakelos is focused on a career in Broadcast television. Surprisingly, or not, the young man who was once on the frontline now wants to be the guy behind the scenes.
“I don’t necessarily want to be in front of the camera but rather someone who works on the production side of the industry, whether it’s writing or some technical aspect of the field,” says Sakelos. His dream is to land a position at PIX11, CNN or ABC. Until then, the first step for Sakelos will be earning a degree in Broadcast journalism which he plans to do at Brooklyn College after he graduates from QCC next Spring.
Aside from his passion for broadcast, Sakelos also has a keen interest in community service.
“I’ve always enjoyed doing volunteer work and always wanted to do more,” he says. Wanting to do more led Sakelos to the Office of Career Services in search of such opportunities, and in a meeting with Ms. Grossman, the Internship Coordinator, Sakelos learned about an organization called The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).
NYPIRG is New York State's largest student-directed research and advocacy organization that provides community outreach across the state. The organization was founded in 1973 and has 20 college campus chapters including QCC.
With the assistance of Ms. Grossman, Sakelos gained an internship position with NYPIRG and was able to gain three college credits as well as achieve some notable accomplishments.
“I’ve learned and done much with NYPIRG,” says Sakelos. “I’ve spoken to government officials in Albany in regards to lowering student tuition, I’ve hosted special events, and I’ve also participated in a community outreach project in the Queens community where we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless.”
On campus, some of the tasks Sakelos performs include conducting "Class Raps" where he informs QCC classes about NYPIRG and their mission. He recently headed an awareness campaign that promoted students to vote in the 2013 New York mayoral race.
“Being an intern at NYPIRG has influenced me to begin my own campaign,” says Sakelos. “As a driver and a cyclist, I’ve seen many people come close to getting hit and almost killed by speeding drivers. Through research I’ve learned that the Department of Transportation has been taking resolve to this issue by implementing Slow Zones.”
Neighborhood Slow Zones are a community-based program that reduces the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph and adds safety measures within a select area in order to change driver behavior. The ultimate goal of the Neighborhood Slow Zone program is to lower the incidence and severity of crashes. Slow Zones also seek to enhance quality of life by reducing cut-through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods.
To support the cause, Sakelos will produce his own 28 minute studio broadcast promoting Slow Zones. The segment will air on Queens Public Television (QPTV) where Sakelos is currently participating in a certification program.
From shooting rifles to shooting film production, his dream job is a shot definitely in close range for Sakelos. Stay close to your TV!