"I chose to get involved in storytelling because I wanted to enlighten others the same way I was and continue to be."
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
PBS Mentor Station: WETA
Six-word Memoir: An introvert with a loud mind.
Why did you choose to get involved in storytelling?
I chose to get involved in storytelling because I loved reading books — nonfiction and fiction of various genres. The struggles and triumphs of the characters I read about compelled me because they were based my true experiences and the other people’s experiences. I first got into creative writing and blogging in middle school because I wanted to tell my own stories and hopefully become an author one day. A lot of my personal writings stem from aspects of my own life and I eventually got interested in others’ lives and how they navigate the world. I also chose to get involved in storytelling because I wanted to enlighten others the same way I was and continue to be.
What story are you most proud of?
I am most proud of an investigative piece I co-authored for my local newspaper, the Alexandria Gazette Packet. I used GIS data and public records to see patterns of civic participation in my city. I’m proud of it because I learned so much about who can and cannot be civically engaged and why. I learned about the barriers various demographic groups face in getting involved in local affairs such as donating to campaigns and running for office. It was really cool to use data and a wide range of interviews to back up a lot of what I knew was true. I’m proud that I was able to take a look at my city closely and unearth an issue that affects so many people there. Most of all, local journalism is important because of these investigative projects that help readers understand their city better.
How can youth media change the world?
Youth media can help emphasize students’ and young people’s experiences in quarantine. A lot of people overlook the effect COVID-19 has on youth and the long-term impact it has on our futures. By elevating our voices through social media posts and videos, we contribute to history and make sure we don’t get erased.
Who is your role model?
I don’t really have anyone I look up to so much I want to emulate. I admire and respect many people, such as my mother and journalist Nellie Bly, but I personally try to strive to improve myself. As the oldest of four children, I constantly strive to become a person others will view as a role model. I think the best form of personal development isn’t about imitating someone else but becoming the best version of yourself.