Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.
Saying that Arizona State University graduate student Cory Kamerschak is driven is an understatement.
The 28-year-old California Bay Area native spent six years in the U.S. Air Force as a healthcare management technician where he was quickly promoted ahead of his peers and was a finalist in 2013 for Major League Baseball’s and People Magazine’s “Tribute to Heroes”—an initiative that spotlights top service members at the MLB All-Star Game.
On Dec. 10, Kamerschak served as the student speaker for the Fall 2016 Commencement Veteran Honor Stole Ceremony in Tempe’s Memorial Union, where he addressed a crowd of over 800 attendees and earned their praise.
The sports journalism major is graduating with a Master of Arts degree and soon after will relocate to ESPN headquarters in Connecticut to start his new job.
“I will be a production assistant starting out,” Kamerschak said. “I hope to become a producer for a show such as E:60 someday, because I like documentary and feature style pieces.”
He had no journalism experience prior to starting his master’s program at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. But Kamerschak spent “countless” hours perfecting his videography and editing skills, and it paid off. He saw the ESPN job advertised online, went for it, and got it.
Kamerschak is grateful for his time at ASU, including the role of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center on campus.
“Overall I loved my ASU experience,” he said. “I had always wanted to go to a big name college and get that college experience and I feel I was able to do that during my time here.”
The Pat Tillman Veterans Center has always been there to support ASU’s veterans, Kamerschak said. Currently more than 5,200 veterans, active-duty, National Guard, reservists and military family members attend ASU.
“I always felt like I was kept in the loop about events that were taking place or services they offered,” he added.
Here Kamerschak shares thoughts into his college experience and on other topics.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I was applying for grad schools towards the end of my active duty career and 95 percent of the programs I was applying for had me staying in the healthcare field. Deep down I didn't know if that was something I wanted to wake up doing for the rest of my life. So when I came across this field at ASU I applied immediately.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
A: Coming to ASU was my first experience after separating from the military and the transition was a little tough at first. I was the only one in the program with military experience and I was used to a certain way of life for 6 years. However, everyone in the program came to ASU from all different parts of the country, which reminded me a lot of my time in the military. It brought everyone closer together because at first we only knew the other people in the program and was very similar to what it was like when I first joined the Air Force. It made me realize that even though things may not seem similar on the surface, you can find similarities in anything.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU because it was the first year of the sports journalism program for masters students and it sounded really interesting. I had also wanted to attend ASU since I had taken a tour here when I was a senior in high school.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Stay committed to your decisions but flexible in your approach. Pursing your education is supposed to be challenging, but the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end is very rewarding.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: I didn't have any classes on the main campus because my program was based downtown, but I whenever I was at the [Tempe] campus I always loved walking down Palm Walk.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I will be relocating to Bristol, Connecticut for a job I have accepted with ESPN.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would put that money into the VA system in an effort to try and improve the care that is given to veterans.