Chris Bonanno ’08, ’13 M.S., recently took on the role of senior editor and reporter at Space Coast Daily. There, he covers breaking news and local events throughout Brevard County, writing stories and producing live and recorded video content. He also gives play-by-play and color commentary at local sporting events, hosts a daily weather report and occasionally broadcasts weather live.
“I gave many live weather broadcasts, in particular, as Hurricane Dorian threatened our area recently,” Chris says.
Chris was born and raised on Long Island in New York and remained there until he was 8 years old, at which point he moved to Brevard County, where he’s been ever since. He began his professional journalism career at Florida Today, where he spent several years working his way up from a freelance reporter to part-time sports assistant to a full-time breaking news reporter.
In 2016, Chris decided to take a break from journalism to pursue his passion for teaching. He spent two years teaching English and social studies at Cocoa High School along with a stint at Johnson Middle School in Melbourne teaching English. Chris has also given back to his own place of study, working as an adjunct professor at Florida Tech.
“I taught University Experience at Florida Tech, and I enjoyed it a ton!” Chris says. “It was great being able to teach at the school after spending so many years there as a student.”
Chris completed his undergraduate degree in environmental science with meteorology option, a field that incorporates several scientific subjects but through which Chris focused on meteorology.
“The bulk of what I studied related to meteorology, but I also learned a lot about the environment in a marine field projects course, which included trips to the Indian River Lagoon and a multiple-night stay in the Atlantic aboard the research vessel Delphinus.”
Chris says it took utilizing the Academic Support Center, regularly visiting his professors for help in office hours and sheer hard work to earn his walk across the stage to collect his degree at commencement.
“Earning my bachelor’s degree was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and the sense of accomplishment I felt that day was something I’ll never forget. I consider that day to be the greatest of my life so far.”
Chris had such a great time as part of the campus community that he wanted to continue his experience at Florida Tech. Deciding to enroll in the technical and professional communication master’s degree program stemmed from his then desire to explore a career in public relations. However, he always had an interest in journalism and joined The Crimson, Florida Tech’s student-run newspaper.
“Perhaps the best part of my time while getting my master’s was being the editor-in-chief of The Crimson, which helped guide me into my journalism career. … I also owe a lot of my career success to Dr. Ted Petersen and Rodd Newcombe, who served as advisors while I was editor-in-chief.”
Going forward, Chris aspires to be the best journalist he can be. However, he won’t rule out the possibility of returning to Florida Tech for his doctorate degree, and he could see himself teaching again in the future.
“My bachelor’s degree from Florida Tech helped me prepare to be able to talk accurately about the weather, and my experience as a graduate student helped make me a far better storyteller.”
Chris is a humble character, and his sincere hope is that the work he does helps to inform people about what’s going on in their community. He has always liked helping people—hence, his teaching career and volunteer work.
“There is no greater satisfaction I get than when someone tells me what I did helped them.”
In his spare time, Chris takes part in multiple sporting activities, including playing basketball and running 5Ks. He is a volunteer coach for the Cocoa High School baseball program, where he enjoys helping players with life skills and academics while improving their baseball abilities.
“I am a die-hard fan of the New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers, and though I, of course, root on all Florida Tech sports, I’m also a big fan of the Miami Hurricanes”
Chris advises future Florida Tech graduates to work hard first and foremost, pursue real-world internship opportunities and, beyond that, have fun while in college.
“You’ll remember the good times you had at Florida Tech for the rest of your lives, and you’ll make friends who’ll be with you for life, too.”