School officials chuckled when they saw my scrawny hand pop up to ask the first question at the community meeting. I was 12 years old in a room of adults and determined to get to the bottom of the mold outbreak at my charter school.
They let me speak, probably expecting me to thank them for relocating our school to a children’s science museum. Instead, I pressed them on how many times the school had been tested for mold, how long the infestation had been growing, and if we could take any measures to prevent potential medical issues. As part of my job as sixth grade class historian, I wanted to attend the meeting to inform parents in my weekly newsletter.
Now, seven years later, I’m a student majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Southern California (where I’m also a news editor for the campus paper). Before that, I had spent my whole life in a small town in Pennsylvania.
I’ve seen firsthand the importance of local higher education reporting that holds institutions accountable and gauges the reactions of community members who are directly impacted. I also know that, as local newsrooms continue to face cuts, beats like higher education fall by the wayside.
I’m excited to be joining Sara and Scott in January to help build our network of reporters, plan new ways to engage audiences, and learn more about the evolving world of nonprofit news. In the meantime, I’ll be finishing up classes this semester and buying some gear to prepare for my first real winter since I moved to Los Angeles.