Ben Gross is a product of Naperville. A resident since 1985, Gross completed his primary and secondary education through District 204. He graduated from Waubonsie Valley High School in the spring of 2004 as an Indian Prairie Scholar.
Gross graduated with his Bachelor's of Science at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in the spring of 2008. He majored in political science and earned minors in mathematics and physics. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with University and Departmental Honors, and was honored with the 2007-2008 Lincoln Laureate Award from NIU. In the summer of 2010, Gross graduated from Northern Illinois with a Masters of Arts in political science.
For the past five years Gross has worked as a sports editor and reporter at the Northern Star in DeKalb, Illinois. Gross also interned for the Chicago Tribune's editorial board in 2009. He has also worked as a freelance reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and Freeport Journal-Standard.
While at the Northern Star, Gross covered the Northern Illinois University football team for four seasons. This included the Huskies' participation in the 2008 Independence Bowl and the 2006 San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Gross also interviewed athletes such as running back Garrett Wolfe (third round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in the 2007 NFL Draft), defensive end Larry English (No. 16 overall draft pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2009 NFL Draft), former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and others. Beyond football, Gross was a beat writer covering NIU men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball for the Northern Star.
In addition to his experience in sports, Gross covered a number of events at NIU. This includes the tragedy of the February 14, 2008 shootings. He also produced in-depth investigative reports concerning the financial expenditures of the Independence and Poinsettia Bowl and examined the salaries of the NIU coaching staff.
Who is Ben Gross?
I love to engage in conversation with people. It's a pleasure to listen to their thoughts and ideas and then to begin a dialogue so we can learn from each other. I think this is one of the reasons I love reporting, as enjoy listening to others and then asking questions - sometimes the tough questions - to see what they know.
I'm also an avid music lover. I enjoy anything from classical to the Ramones. There's only two genres I do not enjoy; country and western. Beyond listen to music and going to concerts I also perform. I currently play drums in a cover band and can play the viola, guitar and, to an extent now, the piano.
I enjoy the outdoors and especially like backpacking. It's nice to get rid of the cell phone and embrace nature for a week. Maybe I caught the camping and outdoors bug, as I am an Eagle Scout. But I also think my experience in a high school course at Waubonsie Valley entitled, "Adventure Studies," had something to do about my passion for rock climbing, white water rafting and more.
I strongly believe in service. It not only gives back to the community, it helps to build the community. I was member of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a co-ed service fraternity, at Northern Illinois University. I served two one-year terms as president, leadership vice-president and two one-year terms as the MDA Duck Race fundraising chair with APO. While I had a blast leading over 120+ college students, I really found my passion in organizing the yearly MDA Duck Race. Our committee would spend an entire year soliciting for donations for prizes, as our chapter sold rubber ducks. These ducks were raced down the Kishwaukee River, with the winning ducks earning the prizes. In addition, we provided a free family fun fair with events such as a dunk tank, moon jump, face painting and more for the community.
Finally, I have a fascination with astronomy and space. While everything seems so big to us in the moment if you stop to think about the entire universe it all seems so small. This only provides more questions than answers, which I hope I can find those answers through the process of listening and engaging with others.