I want to fight for justice through journalism.
Last winter in Haiti, I stood in the middle of an abandoned, burned plot. It had once housed dozens of people displaced from the 2010 earthquake, but now it was a wasteland- destroyed after a neighbor insisting his right to the land set fire to the motley set of homes.
It was a story that would never be told. And, as a senior journalism and international development major at the University of Maryland, it’s the kind of story I hope one day to tell.
My lifelong love for writing slowly grew into a passion for journalism as I served as editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, helping it move into the digital age with a new documentary department and expanded online presence.
Attending the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism on a full scholarship, I freelanced for four on-campus publications my first semester before covering a city council for a local newspaper in the spring.
It was at the student newspaper, The Diamondback, where I really found my journalistic footing: As a senior staff writer, I pitched and wrote about three stories a week on everything from investigating the liquor board’s crackdown on local bars to reporting minute-by-minute on a bomb threat.
My internships with Reuters, USA TODAY and McClatchy Newspapers have taken me from Capitol Hill to the White House and President Obama’s motorcade. I’ve reported on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, General Motor’s key accidents and Obama’s declaration of Iraq air strikes.
But it’s my experiences abroad, talking with people who often don’t have a voice, where I’ve really found my passion.
Since an initial service-learning experience in Guatemala in 2011, I’ve traveled to four developing countries– and the blatant inequalities and untold stories of injustice inspired me to create a second major in international development. My interests in the human also led me to intern for a social entrepreneurship organization in rural Nicaragua and later for Amnesty International, where I proposed and created Premiere Pro videos fighting for Iraqis unjustly imprisoned.
I aspire to work as an international investigative, long-form journalist in developing nations, hopefully using my knowledge of French from a semester studying in Paris. Critical tales of human rights such as the one I witnessed in Haiti should not go untold- and I hope to be there to tell them.