I started as a stringer for the University of Florida's official un-official campus paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, in 2001 before I was even a journalism major. During the next three semesters I covered a variety of important topics from diseased gopher tortoises (arguably the stupidest creatures on the earth- they can starve to death if they get a runny nose because they can't smell their food) to UF's non-existent on-campus parking to its world-famous forensics lab.

In the summer of 2002 I also interned at Oxendine Publishing with Student Leader and Florida Leader magazines and worked in the public relations department of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Most of the magazine work focused on student government and leadership issues at the high school and college level. At IFAS, I interviewed scientists who experiment on the best ways to grow blueberries in a warm climate and scientists who think up novel ways to kill roaches.

Shifting gears

School and Work Links:

The University of Florida

College of Journalism and Communications

Department of Statistics

The Independent Florida Alligator

Oxendine Publishing

My Resume

My journalism work took a different turn in the spring of 2003 when I took a job doing basic data collection and entry for a few studies going on in the Department of Mass Communications. When I came aboard, the group was working on a project that analyzed bias in web stories published by major Florida newspapers before the 2002 gubernatorial race. That summer I was able to take a more active role in developing two new studies: one on the online coverage of the Iraq War and one on the way late-night comedians portrayed the war. Results from the latter study will be published as a textbook chapter.

Although I enjoyed some of the work I was doing for my journalism classes, I wasn't sure it was the right career path for me. I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do instead, but I was interested in studying math and science again. The journalism major requires students to complete an outside concentration or minor in some field so I decided to fulfill this requirement with a minor in statistics. It is mathematical, has numerous applications to science, and appeals to my nit-picky nature. After a few classes I knew I had made the right decision. But in order to get a job in the field (and, yes, there are jobs for people with degrees in statistics), I knew I needed to go to graduate school.

Future Plans

I'm finishing up my last semester as a journalism student, waiting to hear back about NASA and NPR internships, and excited about my new academic life as a statistics graduate student and TA here at UF this fall.