In our increasingly polarized political world, Dyson Assistant Professor Courtney Gosnell, PhD, and Sarahlouise Baldwin ’22 are researching what makes people maintain relationships with those who have different political views than their own.
Connor Morgan was never a big fan of school. “When I was in high school, I wasn’t a great student—didn’t do the homework.” But don’t take that to mean that Connor isn’t a hard worker. His senior year, he became a business owner. “My teacher needed someone to video a wedding at the last minute, so I said sure. Then I filled in for another wedding videographer who got into an accident before a shoot. It wasn’t until wedding three that I figured I had something.”
From there, Eighteen Mile Media was born. And ignited an entrepreneurial spirit Connor never knew he had.
But being a student and an entrepreneur isn’t easy. “My freshman year at Pace, things really took off, and I was juggling going to school with running the business. I almost left. But being in the supportive Pace Community helped me get out of the burnout.” Connor was blown away by both the community and the drive of Pace people. “Everyone seemed like they were happy to be there, not just going through the motions to get a piece of paper. Pace students are constantly learning and finding a way to make a really great future for ourselves. It’s infectious.” On top of his classes and the videography business, Connor took on becoming a Pace Orientation Leader for the summer and fostered some deep friendships along the way.
“Pace students are constantly learning and finding a way to make a really great future for ourselves. It’s infectious.”
And Connor didn’t just find a supportive academic community at Pace—he also found support for his business that helped him grow as an entrepreneur and a person. “When the new president took office, I filmed the video that introduced him to the school. That opened the door to the commercial world.” Since then, Connor has shot several videos for Pace University and has fostered close relationships with the staff and administration. “I just spoke at my high school’s career day—I showed my first video, and then my most recent video, and the students were amazed to see the difference. I’ve seen how much growth has come out of this. Pace gave me the opportunity to grow from real professional experience.”
And Connor’s opportunities have only multiplied. In 2019, Hillary Clinton paid a visit to Pace, and Connor was the only available photographer on campus. So, they called him up to cover it. “She reposted my photo on her Instagram, and my watermark was on the photo. It was amazing!” In 2021, he was invited to be part of the audio team for the halftime show at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. “Even though I wasn’t there with a camera, it was awesome to watch the camera crews and see the amount of prep work that goes into the event. I had to miss a week of school to make it there, but my professors at Pace were so supportive and wanted me to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Connor knows his story isn’t conventional, but what he loves so much about Pace is that they were able to meet him where he was and show him that he determines what makes a great college student experience. In 2020, and again in 2021, Connor recorded and produced Pace’s Commencement ceremony, an experience that he says kickstarted his interest in live-to-tape broadcasts.
“I think I might be the only person in the world who can say they made their own graduation on this scale,” he says, thinking back on the mix of in-person and virtual components during Commencement 2021. He was calling the shots behind the camera and crossed the stage all in the same day. Amazingly, that experience helped him land another gig with the NFL. “I was there for all of Super Bowl week and I’m there—the youngest person by far—with 15 major NFL players and everyone seemed really impressed with the skills I gained from doing graduation at Pace.” He produced Taste of the NFL, which premiered Super Bowl Sunday.
In the year since graduation, Connor has moved to Los Angeles where he’s branched out 18 Mile Media doing live event and commercial work, in addition to managing a group of individual content creators with 1M+ YouTube subscribers. “I made my own future,” he says. “Pace helped me get there.”