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Student to celebrate two graduations this weekend

David Romo is a student journalist in search of the next big story. In less than two weeks, he’ll be a big story himself.

Romo is sprinting toward two finish lines with the equivalent of two pianos on his back — and he’s barely breaking a sweat. In his final semester at Our Lady of the Lake University, Romo carries a crushing load: 22 hours. He works 10-12 hours a week as News Director of OLLU’s Lake Front TVHe remains active in Sigma Theta Epsilon, a national Christian fraternity.

On May 4, Romo will graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism. After the pomp and circumstance, he’ll dash over to the Univision 41 television studios for another big finish.

Romo will serve as executive producer of a live student-run newscast called, “Proyecto U,” the fourth installment this spring of a groundbreaking program.

“I graduate from The Lake and then I graduate from ‘Proyecto U,’” Romo says. “I’m really excited about that day.”

As graduation approaches, Romo juggles seven classes, multiple Lake Front TV responsibilities, an internship at Univision 41, fraternity meetings and social requests.

“I’m a micro manager so I can have multiple calendars and plan ahead,” Romo says. “ I’m good at managing my time well.”

An El Paso native, Romo arrived at OLLU unsure if he could succeed. No one in his family had attended college. No one back home could speak to the stress of midterms and finals. Romo had to figure it out himself. Along the way, he became a student reporter and secured interviews with Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, Mayor Julian Castro and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.

“It’s been very rewarding,” Romo says.

Nothing compares to the experience at Univision 41. Station management selected Romo as executive producer for “Proyecto U” from 18 students who attend OLLU, the University of the Incarnate WordTexas A&M-San Antonio and Palo Alto College. Romo also has worked as a reporter, creating stories for taped broadcasts.

As executive producer, Romo works with OLLU peer and associate producer Alicia Barrera to produce the entire show. That means presiding over weekly meetings with student reporters, making assignments, reviewing stories and selecting the best ones for broadcast. It also means working with fellow Lake students Roxanna RubioAlejandra Guzman and Priscilla Correa, who report, operate cameras and handle other duties.

Sanford Nowlin, OLLU Visiting Professor in Mass Communications, attended a recent taping of “Proyecto U.” A former reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, Nowlin left impressed. “All five Lake students performed their jobs like seasoned pros,” he said.

OLLU’s Mass Communications program produces award-winners. Last year, “Proyecto U” won a Lone Star Emmy with the help of two Lake students. Over the years, OLLU graduates have won more than a dozen Emmys, an accomplishment noted in this blog.

Romo may win one of his own. For now, he’s running down the stretch, two finish lines in sight, and another goal beyond that. After spending the spring writing and speaking for Univision 41, Romo wants a career in Spanish media.

“The community that the Spanish-speaking media reaches,” he says, “is the community I want to impact.”