Spring 2012

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Deonate Moore with his mother, Rhonda, at their home in Chicago's South Shore community. Photo by Michael Goss.

Overcoming the Odds

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Aspiring journalist from the South Side settles into life at Northwestern.

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Deontae Moore earned a rep — for working hard and staying out of mischief. “Some people envied that I never got into any trouble,” said Moore, who lives in Chicago’s South Shore community. “I have an ambitious mind, so I didn’t really care what people were saying about me.”

That ambition led Moore to Northwestern, where he’s the first in his family to attend a four-year university. He was part of the first graduating class from Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, Chicago’s first all-male charter school. (Every one of his 107 Urban Prep classmates in 2010 was accepted to a four-year college or university.)

In Chicago nearly 60 percent of African American men don’t finish high school, and according to the 2009 Census, only 12 percent of African American men between ages 25 and 29 have bachelor’s degrees.

Moore admitted that college has been an adjustment. “I needed a new mindset,” he said. With help from Michele Bitoun, senior director of undergraduate education and teaching excellence in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and the staff at the Urban Prep Alumni Association, he’s learned to manage his time and ask for assistance.

A former journalism “Cherub,” Moore is studying digital media and online reporting. He also gives back to the community, sharing his new media knowledge with Chicago high schoolers through the Medill Media Teens program, a collaboration between the Medill School and the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Last summer Moore also taught an eight-week journalism workshop at Youth Communication Chicago in the Loop.

On campus, Moore is part of Undergraduate Admission’s NU Ambassadors recruitment program. He also serves as technology director and on the executive board of For Members Only, Northwestern’s black student alliance.

“I know that I’m here at Northwestern for a purpose,” he said. “I’m so excited about what I will do here. I only wish it were longer than four years.”