Melissa Gomez – University of Florida
I spent this past summer in Las Vegas, interning with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its sister publication, El Tiempo, for 10 weeks through a partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I had the chance to profile interesting folks of Las Vegas, attend court cases and I even got a Spanish byline.
When I wasn’t in the newsroom, I found myself looking to the paper’s reporters for advice. I met an incredible investigative reporter, who prompted me to join the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization. I also discovered my interest in court reporting. I visited national parks, and even found my own stories just by going out and talking to people.
Tamica Jean-Charles – Florida International University
Unlike other college freshmen, my college experience began three weeks after my high school graduation. It was extremely nerve-wracking at first. I am the first child of my family to go away to college, so it was a completely different experience for me. I was concerned that the shorter summer semester might overwhelm me. Normally, I work at a steady pace in my classes, so I wasn’t sure that I could increase my pace to handle three classes in such a short time frame. Fortunately, the classes that I chose fit my normal pace: Music Appreciation, Public Speaking and First Year Student Orientation. Each course provided me with knowledge I found useful. I especially liked my public speaking class because my professor was incredibly friendly and thrived on each student’s success. He effortlessly engaged the class and eased us into speaking in front of a large group.
Since it was summer, the campus was not as active as it usually is during the fall or spring semester. But my friends and I were able to find some activities to attend, and they were memorable. One of the major school clubs hosted a summer concert event called Summerfest. It was my first time to go to a concert and I could not have chosen a better first concert to attend.
As I begin the fall semester, I am grateful that I was able to begin college early. That experience helped me to find my classes with ease and to know the best study spots. I feel that I have established myself here at my university. Surprisingly, college is everything you imagine from the movies, and I could not be happier, because Florida International University feels like my home now, and I can’t imagine pursuing my degree anywhere else.
Eleanor “Ellie” Rushing – Rollins College
On May 27, 2016, I stepped onto my first international flight and began my four-week adventure in Rwanda. Residing in the village of Musha, I journeyed out of my comfort zone daily to make as large of an impact as I could within my short stay. This impact was not only reflected on the children and teachers I devoted my heart and soul to teaching to, but also to myself.
In 2008, Rwandan government officials changed the national language to English, meaning the students would now be tested in a language completely foreign to them. Of Rwanda’s mere 31,000 primary public school teachers, only about 4,500 had been trained in English. So when we arrived to Duha Complex School located in a rural village, the level of English these teachers knew was little to none. Yet here they are expected to teach 60 students in their deteriorating classroom, with little to no school supplies, malaria flare-ups, and hope that one student will miraculously pass the national exam.
In our short time at Duha, my team members and I each aimed to tackle different problems. For example, some worked with teachers on study techniques (i.e., flash cards, highlighters, colored pencils) to help with the national exam, while others aimed to work with teachers on reforming their lesson plans to ensure a more successful delivery to their students. I, however, worked with higher up officials to generate a news program for Duha. The newsletter was to have a variety of stories, interviews, cartoons and writings produced by both primary and secondary students. The students would be able to decide if they wanted their story to be written in English or Kinyarwanda, giving them the opportunity to work on the fluidity of both their native and foreign language writing skills. By the end of my three weeks, we had put together June’s first issue, and the children whose writings were featured beamed with joy. This project allows students to work on their self-confidence and writing skills, while also introducing them to the art of journalism, providing endless potential. Below is a sample poem submitted to me by one of the secondary students:
The Mango Tree
By Jean Daumasean
In our village, stands a mango tree
With huge branches spreading sideways
That mango tree
That mango tree bears good fruit
Admired by all and eaten by all
That mango tree
That mango tree never stops bearing
Season after season, admired by all
That mango tree
The children of the village come and sit under the mango tree
They play under
That mango tree
Our parents like that mango tree
They come and advise us under
That mango tree
The topic of education in a rural environment is something nobody can understand unless they actually experience it. No one can come close to comprehending the struggles the children and teachers endure as they attempt to learn before being tested on a language completely foreign to them without any of the necessary resources. However, the perseverance, work ethic, and desire to make Rwanda better is what pushes these children and teachers forward, using knowledge as a symbol of hope for their future.
Vilsoir “Villy” Satine – Florida Gulf Coast University
I will be doing so much more this semester than in my previous ones, primarily because the scholarship assistance has enabled me to not need to work full time in addition to being a full-time student. Thank you for inspiring me and thank you for being part of my journey to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 2017.
1. I applied for and was awarded an internship at ESPN3, on the FGCU campus.
2. I am a member of Trio Student Support Service.
3. I am a member of D.R.O.P. (Dominican Republic Outreach Program), which is a program where we will travel to the Dominican Republic to help educate and empower. The club’s mission is “to promote the idea of global citizenship, stress the importance of community engagement and so much more….”
4. Lastly, I am a member of Peer Coach Program. The purpose of this group is to mentor students like me who are first generation college students.
Lauren Schoepfer – University of Central Florida
This summer has been busy. As a senior in UCF’s emerging media program, I started my new position as marketing lead at UCF Recreation and Wellness Center, overseeing a team of nine to help promote the programs, facilities, and services that we offer. This includes creating graphics for each program, photographing events, and tabling to speak with new or prospective students and their families about what we do. The particular position I hold also includes scheduling, organizing our team’s event coverage, running meetings, and more.
Secondly, I interned with Impress Ink Custom Apparel, a print shop that specializes in screen printing. I learned how to generate and process sales with clients, create custom designs for t-shirts, and create proofs for production. I am currently helping plan a series of live t-shirt printing events that are geared toward raising funds and community support for the Pulse nightclub shooting that happened this past June in Orlando.
In my spare time, I did two freelance logo projects, photo retouching for a client, and I’m currently working on a few other projects for my program.
Classes started August 22, and I know it’s going to be a busy, stressful, but incredibly rewarding semester. I’ll be taking Intermediate Photography, Advanced Graphic Design I, and Type & Design. As I approach my last year in undergraduate school, and I’m very excited to see where it leads!
Jaynie Tice – Florida Gulf Coast University
This summer has been stellar.
It all started with my job at eBella magazine. I have always wanted to write for a women’s magazine—and eBella is more than I’d hoped for: it’s a magazine that inspires and empowers women. I came on board just in time for our first teen issue: Teens on Track. I interviewed six amazing teens and even two girls in elementary school—all of whom blew me away. But one teen’s face will stick with me forever, because her face made one of my dreams come true.
I walked into my office at 9 a.m. sharp, heels clicking on the white hardwood floor beneath me, to find a stack of papers on my desk. A closer inspection of this stack revealed a magazine cover. It was eBella’s July 2016 issue with Sarah Kisner on the front page, beaming. I beamed right back. My story had made the cover of the issue. After a good month of bragging—modestly, of course—I was on to a new adventure with eBella.
The next issue that I worked on this summer was the Triumph and Survival issue for August and September. For this issue I was able to interview Thea Rosenbaum—who has witnessed the rise and fall of the Berlin wall, worked for President Jimmy Carter, and much more.
I can’t fully explain the amazing experiences that I have had at eBella this summer. I have refined my writing skills, spoken with truly empowering women, become part of an amazing family at eBella and really grown as a person and a journalist.
Going full circle, I am ending my summer with another amazing opportunity. I recently became a content creator for Odyssey Online—a social content platform where you can write and share ideas and perspectives.