Alumni in the Field

Cherise Letson
STU Degree: BA'14
Major: Journalism and Communications
Job Title: Staff Writer at Huddle Today
Location: Saint John, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
I report and write news and feature stories covering New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada's businesses and startups. As a startup itself, working for Huddle has been an incredible learning experience so far. New media rules!

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
Get involved in the student press—I can’t emphasize this enough. What you learn in the classroom is important, but you learn the most by actually doing journalism. Even if it makes you incredibly busy, take advantage of every opportunity to get outside experience (paid or unpaid) because now is the time to do it. It makes you a better reporter and writer, and also gives you access to valuable contacts and mentors who may help you down the road. The more experience you have under your belt, the better.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
One of the biggest things that stand out to me is the professors. The Journalism and Communications programs are small and tight-knit with professors who really get to know you. Their encouragement and guidance helped me immensely. Not to mention, the quality of my writing increased tenfold.

In terms of the liberal arts as a whole, it totally changed the way I viewed the world and has given me a vast range of knowledge and understanding on a variety of topics. If I compare who I was going into first year to who I am today, the difference is unreal!

Karissa Donkin
STU Degree: BA '12
Major: Journalism
Job Title: Reporter for the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
Location: Fredericton, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
I'm a provincial reporter for The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, the provincial daily newspaper, and I'm based out of the Legislative Assembly. I cover New Brunswick provincial politics, but I also write about the issues that affect the policies, including poverty and issues with our criminal justice system. The job involves writing for print and the web, pitching stories every day as well as shooting your own photos.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
The best advice I can give is to read as much as possible and to do as much work as you can. Volunteer for the campus newspaper, at a community television station or at the campus radio station. Turn your class assignments into pitches for local news outlets and take advantage of summer internships. When I was a student, I worked for the campus paper, The Aquinian, volunteered for Rogers TV and did two summer internships with The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, which gave me a taste of a real-world newsroom. I can't overstate the importance of consuming media. Not only does it make you a better—and more informed—writer or broadcaster, it also helps you when you're coming up with story ideas and pitches.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
I grew up dreaming about being a reporter and telling important stories. STU gave me the fundamental skills to get there. I'm grateful to the professors there for taking the time to sit down with me and give me advice. In particular, Mark Tunney spent time with me one-on-one every week to improve my writing. A liberal arts education is also helpful because journalists are often forced to be generalists. Things I learned in my political science, criminology or economics classes still float back into my brain when I'm writing stories.