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Bob Benz Taking on the Impossible: Teaching Scripps Kids

Bob Benz, Scripps Howard Visiting Professional, is taking the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism by storm. With his magazine feature writing class, Benz is incorporating his writing, editing, and media talents into something he’s never done: teaching Scripps kids.
 
Born in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Benz slowly turned into a moving-junkie thanks in part to his wife, Lara. He has lived in Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Albuquerque, Denver, Knoxville, Washington, D.C., and now good ol’ Athens.
 
He struggled in high school and getting into college. When Edinboro University of Pennsylvania accepted him, as one of the few colleges that did, Benz decided he should leave his heavy metal, Grateful Dead, long haired self on the back burners for a bit.
 
“I remember a point where my parents said, ‘If you don’t start studying to get a job, we’ll pull the rug out from under you,’” Benz said.
 
And so studying he did. Benz earned his BA in English British Literature with a focus in journalism from Edinboro University and his master’s in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he happened to meet his wife, Lara. 
 
While at The Albuquerque Tribune of about 40,000 circulation in 1994, Benz earned perhaps his greatest moment in his journalism career as editor on Eileen Welsome’s Pulitzer Prize winning piece, The Plutonium Experiment. 
 
In 2008, Benz wanted to be an entrepreneur with a local ad business startup. An unfortunate failure, Benz figured taking out a house mortgage probably was not the best idea. And so he moved to Washington, D.C.
 
In Washington is where Benz met up for coffee with Bob Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and how he ended up here. 
 
And although Benz called himself “obsessive” when immersing in the culture of wherever he may be living at the time, his favorite aspect of Athens thus far is the students, and said “students here tend to be a caliber higher than other journalism students I’ve encountered.” What a guy.
 
So after teaching Scripps kids for a year, what’s next for Benz? Our guess is as good as his: “I may stay to complete my PhD, I may travel the world. But not knowing is terrifying and exhilarating,” Benz said.
 
And he still enjoys his heavy metal and Grateful Dead sans long hair, if you were wondering.
Emily is a junior and HCOU's campus correspondent and editor in chief! Check her out on Twitter, @edafffffron (five f's).
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