No matter what the medium— journalism, broadcasting, screenwriting, or filmmaking—senior Rico Denard is determined to become a professional storyteller.

“I love talking to people and telling their stories. If I can make a career out of that,” he says, his words trailing off into a characteristic smile. He knows it is possible, but it is easier said than done. Still, Denard’s prospects look good. He is interning at the renowned public radio station WNYC and is one semester away from graduating with a dual degree in communications and journalism.

Arriving in Brooklyn from Haiti by way of Miami and Boston when he was three years old, Denard played football in high school with hopes of winning a scholarship to a Division I college.

“As a teen I was determined to get into the NFL,” he says. “I was a typical 16-year-old, soda-guzzling kid.” In middle and high school, he got involved in theater. “That’s when I realized that I liked the arts and that I wasn’t going to move easily to a sports career. The odds were not in my favor—no scouts were coming to my high school,” he says.

After a gap year, Denard attended Medgar Evers College and began taking courses in communications, with which he more readily aligned. He soon made it his major. But as he progressed in his studies, he decided to make a move to Brooklyn College because of the good buzz around the communications program (“I fell in love with it there.”)

On track as a communications major, Denard completed a writing internship for credit in the Judaic Studies Department and then worked as a writer in the college’s Communications and Marketing Office. He ended up adding a second major—journalism—after he realized what he wanted to do for a living. At the end of the spring semester, he received the exciting news that he had been selected to be an intern at WNYC.

“I’m working directly with the community partnership editor, and we’re doing several different projects to amplify the voices of people you may not hear over the radio,” says Denard. “We’re looking into different ethnic communities, bringing focus to their unique issues.”

A big plus of the internship for Denard is meeting peers from other schools and parts of the country. “Everybody has got their own thing going on; they are not all local,” he says. “It’s good to meet people here who are interested in the same things I am but come from very different backgrounds and different paths.”

Denard, who has been asked to remain at WNYC until next spring, is quick to recognize that he wouldn’t be where he is without the faculty who have supported and encouraged him: “Professor MJ Robinson [associate professor and chair of Television, Radio, & Emerging Media, or TREM], helped me immensely, as well as [Associate Professor of Journalism] Jessica Siegel. They care enough to give me tough critiques of my work. I’ve heard ‘this can be better, Rico,’ more than once,” he says, laughing.

Although fully immersed in news reporting, Denard has not entirely dropped the idea of entering the entertainment business. He jokes about parlaying his athletic inclinations into a side gig as a stunt double but is more serious when he says he is keeping an open mind about looking into filmmaking. “I’m considering applying to Feirstein [Graduate School of Cinema],” he says. Ultimately, his goal is to tell the stories of the people who are rarely in the daily headlines. As a native of Haiti who has lived nearly all his life in the United States, it stings to see that his birth country is only ever mentioned in the media when it is hit with natural disasters or beset with political violence. Denard, who recently received a scholarship from the Caribbean Leadership Empowerment Foundation, is speaking not only about Haiti but also about neighboring Caribbean nations.

“There is a side of developing countries, especially those famous for tourism, that people do not typically see,” he says. “The ports and beaches of these vacation destinations are all anyone outside of them is usually exposed to. I want to tell the stories of everyday people, those on the other side of all the glitz and glam.”