New Jersey Native Tackles Journalism at UA

Phillip Bramwell's career aspirations began when he was in grade 4.

“The penalty for missing words on spelling tests was to write a story with those words. I would misspell words on purpose so that I could write more stories," Bramwell said.

Today he is an athlete and sophomore journalism major at UA. Bramwell is also Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Arizona. He took time to discuss his childhood and future goals.

Bramwell was born with Cerebral Palsy, a birth injury affecting his brain. CP impairs all of his limbs so he uses a manual wheelchair for mobility.  Bramwell is a triplet and is the only one of his siblings born with CP. He grew up with his extended family in Boonton, New Jersey.

Bramwell is always upfront about telling people about his disability. At the same time, he is careful not to let it take over his life. Growing up with his condition was not easy.

“It was hard to develop hobbies in school. It was a very physical experience, so I did not feel like I fit in all the time,” Bramwell said.

In middle and high school, the curriculum focused more on students’ mental ability and his opportunities opened up.  He took a journalism class in his sophomore year of high school, and he knew what he wanted to do for his career.

“I needed help in a lot of things so for me to have an opportunity to help someone else learn something instead of them helping me. I feel like that’s my role and I can fulfill it well,” Bramwell said.

Bramwell credits his decision to leave New Jersey and move to Arizona to attend UA for his development into a more self-sufficient individual.

“Having other people help me besides my family made me grow as a person because I am motivated to do things on my own. I am a much better person now that I am here,” Bramwell said.

After he graduates, Bramwell wants to move to California and develop his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times or a similar news organization.  Originating from the east coast, Bramwell appreciates warm weather. He believes living in California will give him the best opportunity to progress in his career.

Bramwell has done his share of inspiring and motivating peers and mentors.

“To just kind of throw everything in the wind and decides to learn to get around on his own is admirable,” said Keith Runne, a teacher’s aide and employee at Montville Township High School, where Bramwell graduated in 2016. 

Runne credits Bramwell for having a unique perspective and a talent for writing. 



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Bramwell also influenced his family and close friends. During high school, he got involved in Lightning Wheels, a Paralympic sports club where he met Joseph Volfman.

Volfman is a Paralympic hopeful, a multiple-time marathon finisher and a DJ.  When Volfman was in middle school, he lacked self-confidence, did not care about sports or anything in general. That all changed when he joined Lightning Wheels and met Bramwell.

“He [Bramwell] is one of the most dedicated people I know. He breaks the boundaries regarding what disabled people can and cannot do. He was always there to support me, and he became one of my biggest role models," Volfman said.

He adds that Bramwell has a bright future ahead of him.

"Sometimes a disability helps you to see things in a different perspective, and Phillip uses that to his advantage. People have to get ready for him because he is going to change the way we see sports and journalism in general," Volfman said.