PBS: Take Two

by Katherine Noll
July 24, 2012

Christian RamosBe more. Northampton Community College (NCC) student Christian Ramos is aspiring to do so after an "aha" moment while watching the science series NOVA on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The revelation:  he wanted to pursue a career in science.  Money was an issue. He worked. He saved. Now he is an NCC biological science major.

Ramos is also one of five individuals featured in promotional "Be More" spots that will air on public television stations nationwide this summer. In February, a production crew hired by PBS filmed his spot at NCC. Ramos got the star treatment:  lights, cameras, hair and make-up. When the production crew packed up and left, the celebrity experience had only begun.

Ramos, along with the four other "Be More" stars, received an invitation to the PBS annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, this past May.  The event brings together general managers and employees from PBS stations nationwide, along with the talent from upcoming programming.

The brushes of fame began almost immediately, as upon arrival the driveway to his hotel was blocked by the Corvette of a famous NBA player. At the annual meeting, Ramos rubbed elbows with the likes of Fred Willard, Olivia Wilde, Meg Ryan and Elmo. While fun, it certainly was not the most meaningful part of the trip for Ramos.

At the reception for the premier of the "Be More" spots, Ramos received a lot of feedback. "So many people were walking up to me and the others, saying, 'you all are an inspiration. You remind us of why we do what we do,' " Ramos shares. "Some were even wiping tears away. The CEO of PBS called me an inspiration. Ethereal doesn't even begin to describe it."

Ramos was not only inspiring, he was inspired. "Hearing the other "Be More" stories motivated me to keep doing what I am doing. This is my destiny. I'm fascinated with evolutionary genetics, trying to understand the basis of life, the point long, long, ago when atoms and molecules formed into DNA. I'm a little ambitious," he says with a laugh.

It's a destiny he hopes will culminate with a PhD and a research fellowship at a university or working as a professor. If his future includes teaching, he has a role model in mind.

"Sharon Lee Bond is awesome," he says of the NCC associate professor of biology. "After classes ended, she still keeps in touch, letting me know about scholarship opportunities and to see how I am doing. She wants me to succeed. Her teaching style is one I hope to emulate one day. She truly cares about what she is teaching as well as for her students."

He also acknowledges the support of his parents. "My mom primed me pretty well growing up. She's a big sci fi fan. We would watch things like Star Trek and National Geographic. My parents are an integral reason for where I am today."

Financial aid this fall will enable Ramos to take a full class load. He plans on taking classes year round until he reaches his goals, and is excited for what the future holds. "It's been a long time since I have not had to worry about the next day," he says as he smiles.

Watch Ramos' PBS spot here.

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