Dean DeChiaro, Class of 2004
After becoming the editor for his eighth grade class newspaper, The Flabbergast Journal, Dean DeChiaro knew that he would pursue a career in journalism. Dean began his Stevens journey at age five and was a member of the second graduating eighth grade class at the Hoboken Campus. His experience set the foundation for his educational journey - he enjoyed small class sizes with learning tailored to the individual students and benefited from the holistic approach to learning across subject areas. He found comfort in continuing with these progressive principles of education at Elisabeth Irwin High School, and later at Occidental College, a liberal arts school in California. Dean went on to receive a Masters’ Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.
Classroom studies enhanced Dean’s understanding of the world around him. He recalled the Permanent City and Brooklyn Bridge projects at Stevens, and how they amplified his knowledge about the many intricacies and moving pieces of community life. He was grateful to have visited the bridge, accompanied by a class parent who worked as a bridge inspector, where he easily applied ideas learned in the classroom and put them in a real-world context. Years later in eighth grade, his class held a donations drive for school supplies that they brought on their Mexico trip, an experience he called “world-building.”
“Stevens is the type of place that fosters who you are and not someone’s idea of who you are supposed to be,” Dean commented. His teachers propelled him to study subjects of his own interest. Intrigued by the Civil War, Dean’s teacher compiled several books for him to read, despite not studying this topic in class. This individualized approach promoted his deep love for history, and his current events classes cultivated his passion for politics and world affairs. The eighth grade newspaper project was similarly curated in a way that appealed to each student’s interests and talents, enabling writers, artists, and tech-savvy students to collaborate all year long.
Dean was the editor for both his high school and college newspapers, and worked as a writer for The Hoboken Reporter after college. Today, he writes for CQ Roll Call, covering stories focused on the intersection of technology and politics. He commends Stevens for helping him learn to think in a way where he makes connections that may not be so obvious. Most importantly, Dean has the freedom to cover topics that interest him, the same way he was able to explore new areas of interest as a student. “We don’t always get the freedom to be the types of learners that we are, and I think that’s something Stevens does incredibly well.”
This article was originally published in the 2020 Winter Issue of SCOOP Magazine.