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Sum of All Forces Equals Journalism: Meet Stephen Zubrycky

by Rose BrennanA&E Editor

Few faces on campus are as synonymous with The Quadrangle than Stephen Zubrycky, a civil engineering major and urban studies minor from Long Island, N.Y.

Zubrycky is currently in his final semester at Manhattan College, and will be graduating in May.  In his time at MC, he has dedicated his time to several on and off-campus organizations, with The Quadrangle being only one of them.

Zubrycky was first introduced to MC and The Quadrangle by what can only be described as a stroke of luck.

“My sister Abigail was a nursing student at Fairfield University, where she met her best friend Caitie Sonnemann. Caitie’s younger brother, Sean, was an MC civil engineer, former Quad editor-in-chief, and on the [Quadrangle] scholarship,” he said.  “When I heard about it, I figured I would give news a shot for my senior year of high school, and I joined the school newspaper.”

After his application process, Zubrycky was one of five incoming students from the class of 2019 who received the scholarship.  He ultimately enrolled at MC, and in his own words, “The rest is history.”

Like many who join The Quadrangle, Zubrycky’s first few weeks with the paper were somewhat trying and intimidating.

“My high school paper did not take this business as seriously so I was really intimidated for my first few meetings,” he said.  “I remember for my first article, that there was a big difference between what I submitted to Michelle [DePinho], our news editor at the time, and what was in the paper. But it’s an iterative learning process and I eventually got the hang of it.”

Eventually, Zubrycky grew to love his work with the paper, and went on to draft successful columns, such as “Manhattan Caucus” for the news section and “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” for features.  “Manhattan Caucus” won the Quaddie Award for Best Column for the 2016-2017 academic year.

“‘Manhattan Caucus’ was one of the most interesting and strangest journeys I have ever been on, and I call it a journey because it was just that, a five week marathon of interviews with random people with twists and turns that would not quit,” Zubrycky said. “Our former faculty advisor Tom Callahan used to say that journalism is the first draft of history, and I hope that students down the line will be able to look back at those articles and understand how bizarre and frankly stomach-turning our politics have been this decade.”

“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” however, was not nearly as stressful for Zubrycky to write.  In fact, he recalled some great times with friends while writing the column.

“As a boy, I had always really romanticized living in New York City and I used the column as a way to take in my new environs and find the beauty in them. I would always bring a couple of my friends along for the ride, and really loved writing those.”

During Zubrycky’s time with The Quadrangle, he has held the positions of Staff Writer, Web Editor, Managing Editor and now Senior Writer.  Most notably, however, he served as The Quadrangle’s Editor-in-Chief for the year 2017.  However, Zubrycky maintains that the success of the paper during that year was not a solo effort.

“It’s always interesting and rewarding to have opportunities to lead the people around you,” Zubrycky said. “There is so much love and so much work poured into each and every issue of this paper, and seeing this process from its center was an eye-opening and uplifting experience. I also cherished the role because it allowed me to grow close with so many people on The Quad’s staff who I may not have grown close to otherwise.”

He continued.

“Being the Editor means that you’re ultimately responsible for the preservation, defense and operation of this paper. But the ingredients needed for success were all there well before I started, and they’re still here today; it’s really thanks to everyone on our amazing staff and strong tradition that my year as Editor-in-Chief, and every year that I’ve been with The Quad for that matter, was successful.”

As a four-year member of The Quadrangle, Zubrycky has written countless articles on limitless subjects.  However, there was one article he wrote as Editor-in-Chief during Fall 2017 that particularly struck a chord with him.

“My favorite article that I’ve ever written was “Gujarati Girls,” which was a profile on two Hindu roommates, Roma Parikh and Shivani Patel,” he said. “It was an idea that I came up with, and I reached out to them on a whim and had a whole two-hour conversation with them about faith and friendship. It was a fun, heart-warming piece that was very fun to write and even more fun to read. More important, I learned a lot from that story. And those are the best pieces really, the ones where you leave them a fuller writer and person.”

But The Quadrangle is just one of many activities Zubrycky enjoys.  He is an avid explorer of New York City and a lover of good food, and the two often go hand in hand.

“In case you haven’t seen my reviews, I’m a Level Six local guide on Google Maps, so I love to photograph and think critically about the food I eat,” he said. “If you need any recommendations, let me know. Full disclosure: I am a proud member of the vocal and enlightened minority that prefers Goodfella’s to Broadway Joe’s, but that’s a whole story in and of itself.”

Zubrycky is also a self-professed politics junkie, and it was from this interest which Manhattan Caucus was born.  Zubrycky takes it upon himself to be The Quadrangle’s go-to-guy for all things politics.

“I am very very into politics, and I enjoy reading, thinking, discussing and complaining about what is happening in the world and our country,” he said. “During the lead-up to election season, I always carry around voter registration forms with me in my backpack in case I end up meeting or talking to someone who is not registered to vote.”

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Upon his graduation, Zubrycky will begin working in civil engineering at STV Inc. in New York City.  Before then, however, he will return to Camp Reynal with Jaspers Take Texas for the fourth consecutive year.

“I’m very excited because this year a few of us plan to drive down and make stops along the way,” he said.

Looking further ahead, Zubrycky hopes to combine his academic interests and outside interests.

“I want to continue to pursue my interest in infrastructure and development. I’m considering pursuing a masters of urban planning or masters of public policy, with the goal of entering a public service or policy role in the future,” he said.

But even though Zubrycky’s next chapter is one which is outside the field of journalism, The Quadrangle has certainly been an unforgettable  learning experience for him.

“One thing that I’ve learned with The Quad is that truth is important and powerful,” Zubrycky said.  “I’ve written several stories with the paper where I’ve had to dig deep and crack into that hard shell that sometimes shrouds the truth. People will try and twist and turn you any way they can to control the truth and drive the story where they want. It makes for difficult editorial judgments on our end. These are decisions I had never been involved with or aware of until I joined The Quad, and being a part of the process has made me not only a better editor, but a more critical reader and stronger citizen.”

About The Quadrangle (1291 Articles)
The Quadrangle, founded in 1924, is the student-run newspaper of Manhattan College.
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