Double Degrees Make for Well-Rounded Career

BillmanJeffrey Billman, ’01, ’10, earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in political science from UCF. Billman says his political science degree has given him a deeper sense of the political and policy spheres, making him an immensely better writer, especially regarding politics. Billman’s bachelor’s degree in journalism provided the fundamentals for his career in writing, crafting an effective combination of political and writing skill sets.

Billman’s work experience ranges from working as senior writer and news editor at Orlando Weekly, news editor at Philadelphia City Paper, senior editor and writer at large at Philadelphia Magazine, to freelance work with Rollins College, Florida Hospital, New York Times, and more.

Billman recently moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to work as the Raleigh news editor for INDY Week. He lives there with his wife and two dogs.

Billman says UCF opened up many opportunities for him. His political science and journalism education from UCF has brought him to where he is today in his career.

Billman shared more on his time at UCF, his current position, and offered advice to current students and alumni.

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

I was working as a journalist in Orlando, and I was able to work while I was in the master’s program. 

What is your best UCF memory?

That’s tough. I don’t know that one stands out above the others. So many to choose from. 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

There is a certain satisfaction in giving voice to the voiceless and challenging the status quo. And when you get a big story just right, there’s nothing quite like that feeling. 

What is your most memorable experience on the job?

Back in 2007 or so, the cops got mad over something I wrote and tried to charge my publication with racketeering. That was … fun. 

What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?

Enjoy yourself. Especially if you’re not going to spend the rest of your life in academia, grad school is perhaps the last time you’ll be pushed and challenged in quite this way, and quite likely your last big book learning experience. It’s hard, but it’s also wonderful. 

Billman answered some fun questions in our ‘get to know you’ portion of the spotlight.

What or who inspires you?

My wife. She is the world’s greatest human. But also writers and advocates and people who are trying to change the world or at least their corner of it. 

What is the hardest thing you have ever done?

Leaving Florida and everything we knew for Philadelphia, which was a strange and foreign place to us. 

What is your favorite holiday (and why)?

Christmas, I suppose. My mother, like her mother before her, has always made a big deal out of Christmas. Lots of great memories. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’m not sure I ever wanted to be anything. I mean, I wanted to be an athlete, but DNA was not my friend in that regard. 

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