Creative Journalism for Food and Travel
B.A., June 2011, Summa cum Laude
Home College: Baruch
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Vera Haller, Journalism, Baruch
“For years I have searched for a way to gather my interests into a single, coherent unit that would allow me to achieve my personal, academic and professional goals. It was not until a friend referred me to CUNY BA that I began to see a way to do this. Here I will be able to further explore the subjects that mean the most to me, and eventually channel my passion into a long sought-after career. In the end, I would like to be confident in my ability to comprehend food and cultures around the world and to process the information in a manner that other people understand and enjoy.”
So wrote Aaron Monteabaro in his application to CUNY BA. He was recommended to the program by Prof. Cynthia Whittaker, History, Baruch, who described him as “at the top of a very strong class of history majors and minors, even though he is neither. His writing is so strong I have given two of his papers A+ grades, a grade I have not given in over five years. I would place Aaron in the top 5% of all students I have ever instructed.”
Prior to applying to CUNY BA, Monteabaro had already attended five colleges – including schools in Colorado and Wyoming — in search of a degree that would help him pursue his passion. He says, “Writing is my way of communicating and sharing my love of food, travel and culture with the world while helping me to understand people and their lives in the local and global context. Food opens doors to understanding the very basics of life, whether it’s yours or someone else’s across the world.” It should be noted that Monteabaro has worked as a butcher for nine years and is an avid cook.
His previous education included courses in Beginning Editing and Beginning Reporting, as well as three years of Japanese. In CUNY BA, he continued his language study by adding Irish, German and Spanish. For his area, his courses included Urban Tourism, Culinary Tourism, Journalistic Criticism and an honors course in Creative Journalism, at Baruch, New York City College of Technology and Lehman. He did an independent study in culinary anthropology which allowed him to bridge his interests in culture and food and resulted in two papers about the agricultural economics and food-shortage crises in Africa and Southeast Asia, and a third cultural piece about the traditional foods of the various ethnic groups found throughout Astoria, Queens. He also did an internship with the Baruch-led website East 20s Eats (www.east20seats.com). There he created multimedia stories including one about Eataly opening up and the reaction of local businesses.
Monteabaro maintains a blog called Welcome to My Hell’s Kitchen, a guide to food and food-related fun in his neighborhood. He has written for Writing New York: Posts from the Boroughs and Beyond, a Baruch journalism blog, as well as Baruch’s independent student newspaper, The Ticker, where he wrote both news and feature stories and served as the Opinions Editor for a semester.