By Doni Holloway
Paul Cuadros is an award-winning journalist, professor and author and was the keynote speaker of the 2015 Chuck Stone Program for Diversity in Education and Media.
When reflecting on the myriad of titles he holds, Cuadros said he is most proud of the work he’s done as an author. Much of his reporting experience was compiled into “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America.”
Reflecting on that book, he said, “Writing something that has a big impact was a big achievement.”
Growing up in Chicago as a minority, he experienced his share of adversity. Instead of allowing the obstacles he faced to hinder him, he used them as catalysts for moving forward and effecting change.
Cuadros’ experiences as a graduate student at Northwestern University played an important role in his life.
“It didn’t really dawn on me that teaching could be a part of my life until I went to graduate school at Northwestern University. I got to meet some really cool professors. That really made me stop and think that teaching was something I’d want to do myself some day.”
For many years, Cuadros coached soccer teams, and his experiences as a coach attracted him to teaching students in the classroom.
“(Teaching) journalism is a lot like coaching, too. You want your students to be able to practice what it is that you’re teaching them and then coach them or edit them while they’re doing it.”
His commitment to shaping students’ lives is unquestionable. Professor Jan Yopp said: “You can teach students how to write a news story, but it takes a certain kind of teacher to get students to see and understand the human perspective in their writing. He does that really well with his students. Paul has also helped the university to prepare for the increasing numbers of Latino students who are coming on this campus.”
During his speech, Caudros said, “You can move things in a certain direction through reflection and transparency and by influencing policy.”
While much of his writing has focused on creating culture and on migration and change, Cuadros also has an affinity for writing about sports.
The most rewarding part to him about speaking at the Chuck Stone Program was “talking to young people who are interested in learning about journalism and what it can do in our society.”
Terence Oliver, journalism professor and co-director of the Chuck Stone Program identified what made Cuadros an ideal keynote speaker. “He displayed that will to really make an impact on others’ lives. One of my favorite quotes is ‘to make a difference, be the difference.’ He seemed to be a real difference maker.”
In his spare time, Cuadros reads, writes and plays soccer with friends.