By Candice Murdock, Staff Writer
Jim Tuxbury, senior, is a returning student who is currently obtaining a degree in electrical engineering with a math minor. However, Tuxbury, who is graduating this year on December 17, is more than just a regular student. He is a student who is transitioning from a career in media to a career in electrical engineering.
Long before his journey into the engineering world, Tuxbury had a burning passion for media. His passion for media was apparent as a small child through his loyalty to radio, news, and the world at large, while he says his peers’ interests in media were more directed towards music. His curiosity about the world plus his interest in media turned in to his desire to make a career out of media.
Tuxbury talked about the origin of his passion for media. He explained, “While all my friends were listening to music on their radio, I was listening to KMOX radio because I was so curious about what was going on in the world around me; as I got older that curiosity just got deeper, so that eventually turned into a career.”
His childhood passion inspired him to further study media at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he began his college career in 1983. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Speech Communication with an English minor in 1988 at UMSL. While attending the UMSL, he cultivated his interest in media by working at The Current as an assistant news editor. He also met one of his long-term mentors in his sophomore year of college. His mentor named Michael Murray, who is currently a media studies professor at UMSL, became his advisor.
After receiving his degree in speech communications, he went to Iowa and began cultivating his skills at a local television market, learning the craft of working a television camera. While learning the craft of camera work and also building his resume, he landed a job at the local St. Louis news station KSDK. Even though Tuxbury is a trained photojournalist, he realizes that honing the craft is still as important as it was when he began. He said, “After all the training, I’m still learning. Every day is different and no two situations are the same. As a trained photojournalist you better be ready to handle any situation that comes your way.”
Around 10 years ago, Tuxbury began to evaluate his future goals and decided to take an astronomy class at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. After taking succeeding in the astronomy class, he realized that could take on the next challenge in his life. He explained, “I took an astronomy class at Meramec to see if I could keep it all together, and I kept moving along; I’m not sure how it became engineering, but I took a math class next and one thing led to another and I’m graduating in December.”
This time around, Tuxbury became involved in the joint engineering program, which includes taking classes at UMSL and Washington University. Although the major he studies is different from his previous degree, there is one element that has been consistent throughout his journey: his mentor, Professor Michael Murray. While Murray serves as a mentor to Tuxbury, their relationship has evolved to friendship. Murray explained, “Tux and I talk periodically about prospects and assignments. But these discussions tend to be more like ‘friend to friend,’ versus mentor to mentee. That’s because—as you might expect—at this stage in winding-down his broadcast career, he has things pretty well figured out and he often serves as a mentor to our students.”
While working toward a degree in electrical engineering, Tuxbury has also managed to balance his photojournalism career, which includes traveling internationally. He has traveled with Stan Musial, a famous Cardinal baseball player, who received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama. He has covered the selection of Pope Francis and has also created a documentary that focuses on the construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
As December 17 approaches, Jim Tuxbury is looking forward to his career in electrical engineering and has scored a fulltime job with Sam Edward Lincoln, Inc., an organization that does power protection. Tuxbury says his main objective in his career is to, “contribute to a team that’s working real hard to make electrical power safe.” With his upcoming transition, he describes a mixture of fear, but also excitement. Tuxbury said, “It’s something brand new, and it is going to afford me the opportunity to continue learning.”
Jim Tuxbury’s journey has been long, but he describes the experience as, “One of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done and I’ve learned about myself along the way…It’s not easy, but a journey worth taking.”