Listen to this article

Among the 1,997 former students and faculty members featured on our Gies College of Business-powered ‘UI at 150 & Beyond’ website: The Class of 2005’s Amber (Jenne) Hankins, co-host of ‘Indy Style’ on Indianapolis’ WISH-TV.

One part professor, one part mentor, one part pal.

John Paul was all that — and then some — to 2005 broadcast journalism grad Amber (Jenne) Hankins.

“John Paul had a way of explaining TV news in a way that made sense. His demeanor was calm. His instruction was careful. And his ability to see talent in each of his students was admirable,” Hankins says from Indianapolis, where she’s the Emmy-nominated co-host of WISH-TV’s ‘Indy Style.’

“I remember coming into the U of I broadcast journalism program as a grad student. I wasn’t exactly sure where my career would take me, but JP, as we called him, made sure I knew I was going somewhere. He believed in me, my abilities and my vision of who I wanted to become.

“Not often do you find a professor who will take the time outside of the classroom to help guide you and answer the next 100 questions you have about your first potential job. He did that. Not just for me, but for several other students who had a ‘dream.’

“Through his guidance, I became our class ‘Future TV News Star,’ and because of his continued encouragement, I climbed that ladder. And then I climbed again.

“Wherever my career in TV takes me from here on out, I’ll continue to climb — in my work and in life. It all started with that very first step. That first job. That first opportunity.

“U of I’s John Paul helped me take it.”

Know a UI alum you’d like us to track down? We’re taking requests at jdalessio@news-gazette.com.