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What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Since graduating, I've been living the public radio dream. I currently cover race, diversity and culture for St. Louis Public Radio as a reporting fellow. I report feature and spot news for my station and also contribute to NPR. Beyond my work with the network, I'm developing an independent podcast. I started in radio right after graduation as a producer and host at WKAR.
How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
My education in the RCAH has given me a wide breath of knowledge that I use daily in journalism (if Harry Potter ever comes up in the newsroom I've got it covered). At my current job, I explore and discusses economic disparities, race and power daily. In these discussion I draw my personal experience, but also from a lot of the reading and conversation I had as a student in RCAH. These conversations, were and are uncomfortable, but RCAH helped me find progress in discomfort, because change does not live in comfort. Beyond providing me with a wealth of knowledge to discuss the complex issues I interact with daily in my reporting, RCAH has also shaped the way I tell stories. My lens as a liberal arts student is different than many of my colleagues who come form a straight journalism background. In addition, a central part of the RCAH curriculum is civic engagement. For me journalism is just an extension of civic engagement and I continue to reference the principals I learned about engagement in RCAH daily.
What were your academic interests in RCAH?
Everything -- writing, history, culture, and language. RCAH was great because it offered me the opportunity to find new interest through my classes.
What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
My relationship with faculty. The teachers in RCAH are phenomenal. They bring a passion and energy to classes that is rare and they are always willing to talk with you. The support I received from RCAH staff helped me get through college.
Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
No, I did not. As a transfer student I found it hard to fit study abroad into my schedule.
What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
1) Don't waste this opportunity -- College is like Hogwarts. Not everyone gets to go. You've been offered what some would consider a truly "magical" opportunity, opening up an entirely new world of possibilities. Don't waste it. Take advantage of every your education.
2) Make friends from different backgrounds -- While MSU is what many would consider a diverse university, it's still, like most institutions of higher education, very white (about 70 percent in 2013). In RCAH you will spend a lot of time talking about racial and economic disparities, in classes were the majority of students are not from marginalized populations. It's something the college wants to and is working to change. But for now, don't let your only interactions with diverse communities happen through the service projects you conduct as a student. In other words, don't be the liberal arts student with one "black friend," or use your liberal arts degree in lieu of actually connecting with diverse communities daily.
3) Find a mentor, don't wait for one -- Mentorship is extremely valuable. One of the best pieces of advice I received during schools was to find a woman of color in my field to be a mentor. I did not wait for one to mysteriously contact me. It does not work that way.
4) Start life now -- Life doesn't start when you finish college, so don't wait to start doing what you want to do after you graduate--start now. If you want to write a book, write. If you want to start a radio show, do it. If you want to create a non-profit, start one.