From the time I could form a sentence and read a story on my own, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And after reading an article about global warming in eighth grade, I realized that I wanted to educate and inspire people through the written word. I wanted to write about the environment in a way that moved people.
When I began my college search nearly six years ago, I knew I was looking for a school that would allow me to combine journalism with environmental studies. Ithaca College was my answer, my haven. At Ithaca I have developed an insatiable academic appetite. My combined field of study in the Schools of Communications and Humanities and Sciences is rigorous, but I can honestly say that I love what I do.
Through Ithaca College’s professors and alumni, and my own unfailing determination to make things happen for myself, I have had opportunities to cover the Supreme Court and attend an international climate conference in Mexico. These experiences brought me to a summer internship with independent magazine Mother Jones at its Washington, D.C., bureau.
Mother Jones does not have a formal summer internship program except for a six-month-long full-time postgraduate program that is offered only at their San Francisco home office. But I wanted a summer internship, and I wanted to work at Mother Jones's smaller D.C. office. So I reached out to Kate Sheppard ’06, an IC alumna and staff reporter at the D.C. office whom I had met previously. I told her about my plan, and she agreed to send my résumé—and a recommendation—to her superiors. After weeks of asking Kate for status updates, I was finally given the go-ahead on the internship.
I moved to D.C. two weeks after the end of the spring semester and started my internship as a summer online editorial intern, writing about science and the environment, among other issues. It was a dream come true. A small office, the D.C. bureau essentially gave me the opportunity to act as a reporter rather than do typical intern tasks. I got to pitch stories to the editors, work on research projects, and even review a documentary for the magazine.
Kate became my friend and mentor. So when she was notified that Focus the Nation’s ReCharge! retreat was looking for young people who were involved in reporting (or as they call it, storytelling) about clean energy, she thought of me. I had to end my internship at Mother Jones early so that I could participate in the retreat in Mt. Hood, Oregon, but the experience was well worth it.
I was chosen as a storyteller delegate for the retreat, and my work as an environmental activist was placed in a social context. I was delighted to meet other like-minded people in the world who were hoping to accomplish the same things as I was. It was one of those experiences that will always stay with me, that I’ll be able to look back on to remind myself that I’m not alone in promoting environmental awareness.
Months after working at Mother Jones and being a delegate at the Focus the Nation retreat, I am even more committed in my mission to work as an environmental journalist and to inspire people to take action toward reversing the effects of climate change and other environmental wrongdoings.
I credit my coursework at IC for my technical skill in journalism and my general knowledge and understanding of environmental issues. With the key courses I took in journalism and environmental studies, and my work on student media, I was well prepared for both of the experiences I had this summer.
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.