By Sloane Barlow
Honors student Jerome Hamilton Jr. is now in his second year at Michigan State University, almost 600 miles away from his hometown.
“I’ve lived in Baltimore my whole life, so I wanted to experience somewhere else — push myself into a different culture for school.”
After receiving an invite to the Honors College, as well as an Undergraduate Distinguished Scholarship from Michigan State, Hamilton began to take a closer look at becoming a Spartan.
“It wasn’t just the financials; it was also the people from the Honors College I was able to meet. I felt like I was going to be at home here. They built up my confidence in feeling part of the community, and in feeling like I could have a good time here, academically, and socially.”
With support from the Honors College staff, and from John Waller, the director of the Social Science Scholars Program, Hamilton had the confidence to “make the full jump and commit.”
Hamilton is also part of the College of Social Science, pursuing a major in political science – pre-law, with a minor in environmental social science. His inspiration for his political career path comes all the way from Baltimore.
“Growing up in Baltimore, I was around public officials a lot through sports and parades. Having those close relationships with them and seeing them do their jobs was pretty remarkable.”
Hamilton cites Mayor Brandon Scott of Baltimore as being one of his biggest inspirations in picking his major.
“The integrity of his character is something that is unbreakable,” Hamilton said. “Hopefully for me I can bring that into my future aspirations of being involved locally for the government in Baltimore.”
With having to travel back and forth out-of-state, Hamilton only goes back to Baltimore once or twice a school year. But when he is home over the summer and for breaks, he makes an effort to spend as much time as he can with friends and family.
“I miss them sometimes, but at the same time they’re always encouraging me when it comes to my studies here.”
At the same time, Hamilton has made his mark on campus by building his own home at Michigan State and with the Honors College. In addition to the Social Science Scholars Program, he is also a member of H-STAR, ADS Leadership, and he works as a Professorial Assistant under Daniel Kramer, Ph.D.
“Part of my plan was disconnecting from home and planting myself somewhere new. And being with the Honors College and having the Social Science Scholars Program, there’s a social group already there. I was able to come here and find friends pretty quickly.”
Looking back at when he first arrived at Michigan State over a year ago, Hamilton noted that the Honors College has been the most helpful in making him feel comfortable from the transition out-of-state.
“Eustace-Cole Hall is as familiar to me as anywhere on campus. The people, Bess, Andrew, the whole Honors College staff, getting to meet other Honors students and researching with them. I was given that built-in community as soon as I came here to Michigan State.”
Hamilton recently participated in the 6th Annual Diversity Research Showcase on Jan. 13 with Nel Robinson and Sharmila Suresh. They received first place for their poster presentation, “Television News and the (Mis)Representation of Cocaine and Opioid Users: A Systematic Study of NBC Nightly News.”