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Pieces to the Puzzle

student

It's hard for me to picture my life, my identity, without considering UAS. The university has served as the cornerstones of my education and as the building blocks for a future that I have been working hard to construct for many years.

Being inspired as a freshman in high school by a travel writer turned social studies teacher, UAS helped further nurture my journalism aspirations from my very first semester on campus. Starting as a staff writer for the campus newspaper, the Whalesong, over time I found myself occupying the positions of editor and production manager. Not only did I learn valuable journalism skills in the classroom and on the campus beat, but there were numerous other opportunities that blossomed out of my involvement. I was able to attend a national journalism conference in New York City, cover a bald eagle festival in Haines, Alaska, and attend a student leadership conference in Portland, Ore., just to name a few.

Even when not on the Whalesong staff I was still able to utilize our student newspaper as a forum to express my opinions and publish stories for my peers. After arriving back at UAS from a semester abroad studying Renaissance art and literature in Siena, Italy, I was able fulfill a dream of being an international travel writer by sharing my experiences in our publication.

UAS also provides an excellent atmosphere for networking and getting to know faculty members, administration, and leaders of the community. Through connections I was able to make from my experience at the Whalesong I landed a job at the city newspaper, the Juneau Empire, which in turn I was able to use for internship credits toward my bachelors degree. The journalism experience I gained from the Whalesong was invaluable while working on articles that ranged from fishing or boxing, to stories about scuba diving and surfing in Alaska. I was also able to expand my experience as an aspiring international travel writer by publishing narratives in the Empire about my travels in several different foreign countries. By building on experience and working my way up the journalism hierarchy, the hard work and dedication toward my goals have begun to pay off. One article I had published last year was awarded an Associated Press writing award.

The opportunities UAS has provided for me over the years are not limited to my interests in journalism, but rather are very broad and diverse. I have been involved in the Student Leadership Program, spent a semester as a teacher's assistant, helped with the creation of the UAS Student Alumni, went to Glacier Bay on an anthropology research expedition, went to Ketchikan for a humanities conference on Beat poetry, and the list goes on and on.

UAS has provided me with limitless opportunities to be involved in the classroom and beyond. If I could tell prospective students one thing about UAS, I would advise them to take advantage of the opportunities presented because before you know it you'll be putting the final pieces of the puzzle together for your degree.