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The road to your dream career with auto journalist Tim Stevens

Filed in Archive, BCHS by on April 5, 2019

Test driving million dollar supercars in exotic locations might sound like a dream job to most, but as Tim Stevens can attest, it’s not always the glamorous life it appears to be.

Stevens, who is editor-in-chief for CNET’s automotive arm, Roadshow, visited the BCHS Lab School this week as part of their quarterly Press Club event. CNET is a world leader in technology news and product reviews.

Four times a year, the Lab School program invites industry leaders to come and speak to BCHS students on a variety of topics and to share their journeys, both career and personal. It’s an experience Lab School students look forward to.

Sophomore Courtney Stevens (no relation to Tim) said she finds it amazing that “we have people like him [Tim Stevens] who live in our neighborhoods. Press Club gives us an opportunity to discover these hidden professionals who we might not otherwise know about.”

In addition to Stevens, Lab School welcomed meteorologist Jason Gough and veterinarian Tara Estra, both local residents who spoke to students earlier this year about their career paths.

It was 2016 when Tim Stevens helped launch CNET’s Roadshow, which helps consumers research the best new cars and stay up to date on industry news.

Stevens told the students he took a circuitous path to become a journalist that began when he would write video game reviews in the early 2000s from his college dorm room.

He graduated from Hartwick College and became a software engineer but he continued to pursue his passion for blogging part-time.

He said his passion for driving games, in particular, signaled the way to his future endeavors, though he never abandoned a love he had for automobiles. Soon his blogging skills attracted the attention of a technology review company, EnGadget. Stevens said he was tasked with reviewing the latest tablets and other fun toys, often sitting in front of Steve Jobs to see the latest releases from Apple. Later his career path would find him back behind the wheel when he was hired by CNET to help create their automotive format, now known as Roadshow.

“I think it’s really cool how Mr. Stevens followed his passion and never gave up on making his ‘side gig’ his career,” sophomore Trinity Walters said.

Lizzy Kloss, also a Lab School sophomore, added, “I really enjoyed the videos Mr. Stevens showed us of his automotive reviews and how he pointed out that they need to be both informative and entertaining.”

Lab School teacher Andrew Rickert said several classes in the Lab School already require students to script and shoot their own video projects.

“Surely today’s talk from Mr. Stevens will better inform their decisions,” said Rickert.

Rickert said Tim Stevens also discussed his early struggles with public speaking.

Stevens said growing up, he rarely talked in front of others and spoke of undergoing years of therapy for a speech impediment known as blocking.

Lab School students reveled in his candid discussion of what it takes to overcome social anxiety and since they are required to present research findings five times during their Lab School tenure, appreciated his insight, Rickert said.

Special thanks to Lab School parents Roger and Nancy Jestel for his help setting up the event.

Roadshow on CNET: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/

Chicago Auto Show video with Tim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rji7PmawnyI