SpotlightYouth Spotlight

When the Carpe Juvenis co-founders, Lauren and Catherine, were doing research for their book, they stumbled upon someone who immediately inspired them. Determined to get in touch, they sent out a cold email and were so happy to receive a warm reply. Claudia Krogmeier, just a freshman in college, has already experienced and accomplished a lot. When she was younger she moved with her family from Texas to Singapore, where she dove into working part time as a model and starting her own style blog (doing both while attending high school and applying for college). While living abroad, she also received permission to continue working toward her Congressional Award Medal and can proudly boast (although she’s probably too humble to actually boast) that she is a Bronze Medal recipient. We are excited to share Claudia’s exciting story, which is just getting started…

Name: Claudia Krogmeier
Education: Boston University
Location(s): Singapore, Houston, Boston
Follow: Website / Instagram

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Youth Youth”?

Claudia Krogmeier: I thinking seizing your youth is mostly about living up to your own potential and not standing in your own way.

CJ: You are originally from Texas in the United States but now live in Southeast Asia. What was that transition like and what were some challenges you faced during the process? How did you overcome those challenges?

CK: The transition from Texas to Singapore was of course difficult, especially when changing from an American high school to an American high school in Singapore (SAS). Culturally, Singapore is immensely different from America so it takes some time to better understand the locals, to adjust to the increased amount of work I had at SAS, and to strike a balance between everything that is important to me; service, time with friends, sports, traveling, and school work. Once I found a balance among all the things I wanted to spend time doing, I was able to really take in everything South East Asia had to offer.

CJ: You will be attending Boston University next year! What are you looking forward to, what are you nervous about, and do you have any idea what you want to study?

CK: I’m mostly looking forward to finally being able to learn at a more robust level with professors who are extremely knowledgeable in my chosen field of advertising. I’ve known since I was 7 that I want to be in advertising because of the dynamic and creative process. I’m also really excited to explore Boston, a new city that I’ve only visited once. I’m nervous about the immense change (like the cold weather- yikes!) and re-integrating into American culture, even if it has been only three years since I’ve lived in America.

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CJ: Let’s pretend you’re about to do the entire college search and application process over again. What advice would you give yourself?

CK: I would remind myself to remain calm! The entire task seemed so daunting at first, but now that I look back I should have stopped myself from being so nervous and worried! Everyone really does end up at a school that is right for them.

CJ: What’s the best advice you’ve received so far?

CK: My mother always reminds me that nothing will ever just come to you. If you want to do or be something, you have to be the one to do it. She always says, “What’s the worst that can happen? They say no?” So, with that in mind I’ve always gone after what I want, whether it is an internship at a marketing company or starting my fashion blog.

CJ: How do you measure success?

CK: Success is mainly internal. Of course positive feedback or outside support is nice, but the most important thing is to feel validated on the inside. I love to set clear goals for myself in all aspects of my life, and when I achieve them I feel I have a measured success, big or small.

CJ: You run the awesome style blog Claudia Krogmeier: A Style Blog. Where does your interest in style come from and what advice would you give any young person about figuring out his or her own style?

CK: Ever since I was young I’ve been very entwined in all things creative and aesthetic, so fashion was a natural progression for me. Style is really so different for every person and very personal, but the epitome of style is when someone feels confident about themselves with what they’re wearing. I’ve learned that figuring out your favorite self-aspects and accentuating them will make you feel unique and strong, no matter what your style is.

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CJ: How do you stay organized and juggle all of your responsibilities? Are there specific tools you use?

CK: Honestly, it’s really hard to stay organized. School is my first priority, then all other work and service endeavors follow. Staying organized really comes down to me prioritizing what is most important. Setting alarms on my phone before a club meeting at school or before a modeling casting also really helps!

CJ: What are your best tips for traveling?

CK: Take opportunities to explore, whether it is a great food truck a block away or a new museum across the globe, and do as much research as you can before you go! Ask friends and utilize Google to find all the best spots for wherever you’re travelling to. By knowing what to do and what to look out for, you can make the most of your trip.

CJ: You also do some part time modeling. What made you decide to pursue this interest? What was an unexpected aspect of that type of work?

CK: I first started modeling in Singapore because I arrived over the summer in 2012 and had nothing to do, so I thought modeling was the perfect way to stay busy and make a little money. I had been asked to sign with Elite Models in America, but after moving to Singapore I signed here. I quickly started getting booked for shows and jobs. It’s hard to manage it when I’m in school, but modeling is such an amazing way to meet creative designers, photographers, makeup artists, and other models from all over the world. Modeling has been such an incredible experience because I’ve been able to experience Singapore through such a different lens. I’ve met so many more different kinds of people and seen different parts of Singapore that I never expected.

CJ: How do you deal with difficult days and move past them? What have you learned about overcoming struggles?

CK: When I have a difficult day I really lean on the most consistent people in life, my friends and parents. I try to focus on what I can do to improve the situation or how I can move past it. Struggles are part of life and without them we wouldn’t grow into better, more dimensional people.

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CJ: You have earned your Congressional Award Bronze Medal – Congratulations! What are some of the activities you did to earn your hours?

CK: I’ve been a part of volleyball since the 7th grade, so a lot of my physical hours came from all my time playing volleyball. I earned a lot of hours for modeling and marketing/advertising internships under the personal development category as well. I’ve also been very involved in Caring For Cambodia, a Singapore based charity that builds and supports schools in Cambodia. Most of my service hours came from all the time I spent in Cambodia with the students and the club at my school that I helped run.

CJ: What did achieving your Bronze Medal mean to you?

CK: Achieving my Bronze Medal was mainly a huge validation for me. It was one of the few times I felt satisfied and rewarded for the things I have done.

CJ: If you could have lunch with anyone – dead or alive – who would it be, what would you eat, and what would you ask that person? 

CK: I’d like to have sushi with Kristen Wigg just so I could laugh for an hour and a half.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

CK: Avoid as much friend drama as possible (it is never worth it!) and allow yourself to be a little more carefree at times, and remember that there is so much more ahead.

 

Claudia Krogmeier Qa

Images: Ryan Al-Schamma

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Berkleigh Rathbone has been exposed to the idea of planting, growing, and harvesting plants from her own backyard all throughout her life. When it came time to choosing a project for her Girl Scouts Gold Award, Berkleigh chose to write a book called Karlein’s Pumpkin Patch to teach children about composting, photosynthesis, and other facets of gardening. In the book, a girl named Karlein plants, grows, and harvests pumpkins. The process of creating the book took about 10 months, during which Berkleigh wrote the story, edited, drew illustrations, and worked on the layout of the book.

Higher education is important to Berkleigh, and she is planning on majoring in Psychology at the University of Washington. Having been a part of the Girl Scouts since fourth grade, cookie sales are Berkleigh’s favorite part of Girl Scouts as it helped her hone her entrepreneurial skills. Read on to learn more about this ambitious young woman!

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization.

Name: Berkleigh Rathbone
Education: Planning to major in Psychology at the University of Washington

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Berkleigh Rathbone: I define “Seizing Your Youth” as making the most out of your life and actively preparing yourself as a teenager for the increasingly competitive world that you enter in adulthood. Simply said, seizing your youth means seizing the day, every day!

CJ: What will you study at the University of Washington, where you’re starting school in the fall? What led you to those academic passions and why are you choosing to study them in a formal setting?

BR: I am planning to study and get at least a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology since I have always been interested in the mind and how it functions. Higher education has always been important to both of my parents, so I promised them that I would go to college after I finished high school.

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CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

BR: I joined a Girl Scout troop as a “Junior” in fourth grade. In addition to troop meetings, I loved all of the activities (such as summer camps, weekend trips, troop activities, cookie sales, etc.) that were available to me through scouting. If I had to choose my single most favorite part of Girl Scouts it would be cookie sales – not only are the cookies delicious, but by doing sales I additionally strengthened my interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills.

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

BR: 1. Always be prepared, no matter what.
2. Volunteering is extremely rewarding.
3. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you wrote a published a book called Karlein’s Pumpkin Patch to teach children about composting, photosynthesis, and other facets of gardening. Your book includes a resource guide with a glossary, discussion questions, and information about donating to food banks so everyone can access fresh produce. You have shared your book with libraries, schools, and food banks throughout the country and via an online video you created. How cool! Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

BR: Choosing a topic for my Gold Award project was hands down the hardest part – I could have chosen to do almost anything! I decided to go with the theme of gardening since both of my parents love to plant and grow vegetables and flowers in our garden. All throughout my life I have been exposed to the idea of planting, growing, and harvesting plants from my own backyard, which is something that I will be forever grateful for. Furthermore, my mom happened to have a rough draft of a story she had written about a girl named Karlein who planted, grew, and harvested pumpkins that she had grown. So the idea to (re)write and illustrate a book for my Gold Award seemed like a no-brainer!

My initial project started out small. I would write, illustrate, and publish my book, put it into a few public locations (schools, libraries, etc.), and wait for readers to respond to discussion questions via an email I put in the back of the book. However, as the project progressed I realized that my project needed more oomph! in order to get necessary quantitative results for my before/after project impact analysis. That’s where the online video and remodified discussion questions, etc. come in.

All in all, this project was probably the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. From the time I stated until the time I finished, the total project time was about 9 to 10 months. Not only did editing the story take time, but so did creating and editing the illustrations, in addition to figuring out the layout of the book. I also put a lot of time into communicating with several different people, mostly by email, in order to sort out different logistics of where to send my book, who to send it to, and how many copies to send.

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CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

BR: In order to keep my project organized I put together a list of tasks that I had to do, and in turn organized that list on a timeline in order to get a rough idea of how long my project would take me to complete. As far as balancing my school schedule with my Gold Award project tasks goes, I decided to treat my Gold Award project itself as an extracurricular activity. I had few school obligations and at the time I was not working, which really allowed me to dive into working on my project. Once my Junior year of high school ended I took advantage of my time off from school to catch up on task deadlines and evaluate the progress of my project.

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

BR: I’m not quite sure. Yes, I do know a good amount of people, and yes, I have learned quite a bit by talking to these individuals. However, I think that my mentor takes on a more inanimate form: life experiences. By learning from both the mistakes of others (myself included) and also the lucky risk-taking strategies of self-made successful people, I feel as if my life experience of interacting with people and hearing their personal stories has helped to advise me on what steps to take at what times, in addition to how many steps to take at a time without overworking myself.

CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

BR: Good leaders are like backbones:

  1. Without good leaders, society, like our body without our spine, could not function.
  2. Good leaders, like our spines, are simultaneously flexible and strong.
  3. Just like how the spine connects the upper and lower parts of the body, good leaders find ways to connect people in a group/society in order to establish a sense of unity.

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CJ: How do you define success?

BR: I define success as meeting/exceeding a previously set goal. For me, success can come in the form of money, health, happiness, wisdom, love, or any other aspect of life that I have my eyes set on improving.

CJ: What is a book you read in high school that positively shaped you?

BR: Tiny Snail by Tammy Carter Bronson – the author actually came to my school when I was in second grade and talked about the process of writing and illustrating her own book!

CJ: What are your favorite books?

BR: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Absent by Katie Williams, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

BR: Break out of your comfort zone. Voice your opinion – if you feel afraid to do so in front of your friends, find new friends. Take advantage of extracurricular activities at school. Meet more people. Spend time cooking meals; enjoy the food that you’re eating. SPEAK UP. And, most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Berkleigh Rathbone Qs

Images by Berkleigh Rathbone

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

The Girl Scouts is an incredible organization that turns young women into leaders. Deelyn Cheng is one of these amazing young women who became involved in the Girl Scouts when her best friends encouraged her to join. She earned her Gold Award by preparing the City of Lakewood for emergency and disaster situations. She took a multi-faceted approach to her project, including educating residents, acquiring emergency kits for local schools, and even designing menus that can feed hundreds of residents for several days in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Pretty great, if you ask us.

Now, Deelyn studies International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington. She has spent time interning and living in Hong Kong, and she is passionate about learning about all things business. Deelyn shares with Carpe Juvenis what she thinks makes a good leader, the lessons she learned from being a part of the Girl Scouts, and that for her, success means “making a positive impact on the world and leaving a legacy.” With determined and caring young women such as Deelyn, the future definitely looks brighter.

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization. 

Name: Deelyn Cheng
Education: International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington, Class of 2018

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Deelyn Cheng: Be proactive and seize every opportunity that would develop and enhance one’s identity. It is important take opportunities that prompts you to try new things or to push you closer towards a goal.  There is this quote which I love by Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Time is valuable, so treat it preciously. Go out and find your passion, explore, and reach your full potential. Change the world for the better by turning your dreams and ideas into reality.

CJ: You’re studying International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington. What led you to those academic passions and why are you choosing to study them in a formal setting?

DC: The world is becoming more dependent on globalized trade and investment, and worldwide financial institutions are prominent. I want to contribute and become involved with the international network and I’m very interested in cross-cultural business. A business degree would also provide a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that is applicable to a wide range of careers. From critical and creative thinking to personal development, I am passionate about learning all things business!

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CJ: You are an Investment Assistant Intern at Rongtong Global Investment Limited in Hong Kong. That sounds very interesting. What do your duties entail as an intern?

DC: I assisted colleagues with a variety of tasks including organizing trade settlements in excel, managing an online banking system, reading paperwork, completing office tasks, and proofreading.

CJ: What have you learned from living in Hong Kong? What do you like to do there when you’re not interning?

DC: I learned to have patience, tolerance, and adaptability. The way of life in Hong Kong is extremely different to what I’m used to…a lot of people and very fast paced. However, I just went with the flow, immersed myself in the culture and it worked out just fine! The cuisine in Hong Kong is absolutely spectacular so I spent most of my time eating. If not that, I would be sightseeing.

CJ: Moving to another country for school or an internship can be intimidating and nerve-wracking for some. Did you feel this way? What advice do you have for those who are thinking about living abroad to work or study?

DC: I was a little nervous but was more excited! I would definitely advise them to take the opportunity. It is so valuable to see and experience different cultures, especially when you can stay in a place for longer periods of time. Have an open-mind and don’t be afraid to try new things. And take every event (positive or negative) as a learning experience!

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CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

DC: My best friends were in a troop and encouraged me to join. I loved the opportunities it gave me! I had the chance to lead, learn, experience new things, and meet new people that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I also greatly enjoyed camping-nothing better than sitting around a campfire singing songs with your best friends!

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

DC: Have patience, be confident, and help others!

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CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you set out to better prepare the City of Lakewood for emergency and disaster situations. You took a multi-faceted approach to your project, including educating residents, acquiring emergency kits for local schools, and even designing menus that can feed hundreds of residents for several days in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

DC: I believe people need to be prepared. They need to have the information and knowledge so they can be ready when an emergency happens. I feel that knowing about First Aid and how to help people is very important. My mom’s family is from Thailand, and when the tsunami hit, I thought it was interesting to watch the process of aid. Global issues interest me, and I wanted to share that locally.

Lots of meetings! I honestly enjoyed them though. I had the opportunity to interact and connect with people which I love to do. I focused on using my organization and time management skills to orderly conduct my project. This includes identifying who I would work with, steps I would take, and not having a delay to take action. Additionally, I communicated with my advisor, my troop, and others who helped me. I also prepared the teaching/presentation materials and activities I would use for the public and the students to educate them and raise awareness. I assigned tasks to my team, and was able to take action and lead a sustainable project.

CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

DC: I had to really focus and hone my time management skills. I’m a visual person so I kept a planner. I allotted specific amounts of time for different tasks. However, I would sometimes procrastinate or underestimate the time to complete a task, but this project was definitely a learning process!

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

DC: My mentors constantly change-they depend on the time and situation. I believe life puts you in a situation where you build relationships with the people around you and a mentor-mentee relationship will naturally form.

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CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

DC: A good leader wants to serve and tries their hardest to make the best out of a situation for themselves and others. They make dreams and ideas become reality. And leaders follow their heart, but always do the right thing even when it is hard.

CJ: How do you define success?

DC: Overall, I believe happiness equates to success. Success is when we reach the point of living the life we truly want/desire, and found and fulfilled our purpose in life. Lastly, making a positive impact on the world and leaving a legacy should be part of someone’s success story!

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

DC: Be more diligent in learning and retaining a language. I wish I had focused on learning Mandarin.

Deelyn Cheng

Images by Deelyn Cheng

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

We met Kaitlyn Chana because we all did the same program, The Congressional Award, and we reached out to talk to her more about what she did to earn her Gold Medal from Congress. Little did we know at the time how ambitious and accomplished Kaitlyn is. She currently works as a Multimedia Journalist at the NBC affiliate WLBZ in Bangor, Maine. Kaitlyn covers a range of stories, develops sources, delivers news to an online audience, and provides dynamic live coverage, among many other duties.

Kaitlyn has also run her own non-profit organization, so she knows very well how important time management and being organized is for success. Kaitlyn is generous with her time and advice, and it is clear how passionate she is about helping others. Read on to learn more about what it means to be a multimedia journalist, what it was like running a non-profit, and what advice she would give to her younger self.

*Fun fact about Kaitlyn – she is profiled in our book, Youth’s Highest Honor!

Name: Kaitlyn Chana
Education:
B.A. Radio-Television from the University of Central Florida
Follow:
@KaitlynChana / KaitlynChana.com

Kaitlyn Chana: For me, it means taking advantage of the opportunities around you. Be a go-getter; go after your dreams by putting yourself out there so you can learn and prosper. As a teen, stretch your resources, push your personal boundaries, and challenge yourself daily. No one can teach you about yourself, except you.

CJ: You studied Broadcast Journalism and Radio/Television at University of Central Florida. How did you determine what to study?

KC: Since 6th grade, I’ve wanted to be a storyteller. As a reporter, you need to build rapport and trust while informing the public and providing objective standpoints surrounding the community. I’ve always wanted to tell stories for a living. Journalism fuels my curiosity of wanting to know more, so in college I couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve always known that journalism is my calling. Everyone in life has a personal story of excitement, love, desperation, hurt or a driven message. I want to be the journalist who strives for purpose, bringing truth, and helping others to open their hearts.

CJ: You have held many internships in journalism at places such as TODAY Show in New York City and WKMG in Orlando, Florida. What were these experiences like?

KC: Internships are key. I gained so much insight by observing and making mistakes. Yes, mistakes will happen, and that’s normal. But it’s important you learn from these mistakes so it doesn’t become a repeat offence. Interning at the TODAY Show was remarkable. I was involved in the news gathering process, setting up interviews, researching and working with the talent. Local markets, like WKMG in Orlando, taught me how to write short and concise stories. TV is all about sound, video, and images. Creativity is important in the news industry.

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CJ: You earned the Congressional Award Gold Medal in 2010. How did you get involved with the Congressional Award and what was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

KC: I found this program intriguing because it allowed me to set and achieve goals that build character, foster community service, personal development and citizenship. This three-year commitment propelled me to become a motivated goal setter while being an interactive team player. I learned how to sculpt my schedule so I could juggle all my responsibilities. My greatest takeaway is balancing my activities and managing my time.

CJ: You are the Founder and President of Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness. What inspired you to start this international non-profit organization, and what does your role entail?

KC: My inspiration came from an extraordinary woman named Linda Bremner, who founded Love Letters Inc., when her son, Andy, battled cancer. Having participated in a Girl Scout activity for Love Letters, Inc. years earlier, I revisited it when I needed to complete a community service project in eighth grade. After contacting Linda through email and phone conversations we formed a very meaningful friendship. At the close of one of our phone conversations she told me, “It only takes one person to move a mountain and then others will follow.” While I didn’t know exactly what she meant at the time, I wrote her beautiful quote in my book to always remember. Shortly after that, I received word that Linda had passed away and at her request the national organization, Love Letters Inc., was closed. My hands gravitated to Linda’s quote and I instantly realized that it was my turn to be the one to move the mountain to help children with medical challenges. It then became my passion to carry on Linda’s legacy by encouraging others to create inspiring homemade cards for children with life-threatening illnesses.

So, in high school I became the Founder and President of Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness, Inc. which was a 501 (c) (3) non-profit national organization whose mission was to create positive and inspirational homemade cards for children with life-threatening illnesses. Each card was unique because it was created by hand using stamps, stickers, scrapbook paper, and art supplies. Inside each one an uplifting message such as “Sending You a Great Big Hug” or “You Shine like a Star” was written to give children faith, courage and the will to survive.

Once the cards were created, I’d examine each card and hand deliver some to individual children going through the difficult times of treatments and surgeries and others to hospitals and organizations such as Give Kids the World, the Ronald McDonald House, and Keiki Cards so they could distribute the sincere messages. The remaining cards were sent with love through the mail to help lift children’s spirits. Doctors can’t prescribe love; it’s typically left to a volunteer to fill this prescription by restoring the patient’s dreams. Through Love Letters cards we were able to touch the lives of 120,000 children with life-threatening illnesses. I had to close the organization because I couldn’t continue the success of our mission and my full-time reporting job. My passion is in telling stories and I want to inspire people with my pieces, so all my energy is devoted to reporting.

CJ: How did you go about starting a non-profit organization, and what do you wish you had known before launching?

KC: Starting a non-profit is truly like running a small enterprise business. It’s a lot of work, yet with the right tender, love and care the imaginable is possible. I took a non-profit course during my high school years so I could have a strong understanding of the legal documents associated with my organization. My responsibility not only centered around the actual volunteering, but also the finances, management, recruiting of volunteers, working on grants, marketing my mission, and being an active presence with the organization’s brand. It was a 24/7 job.

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CJ: In addition to running Love Letters, you are a multimedia journalist. What does it mean to be a multimedia journalist?

KC: A multimedia journalist or ‘one-man-band’ means you do the job of four people as one person. I have to enterprise my own story ideas, interview my subjects, write, edit, anchor that portion, write a web story, and have a strong social media presence. That’s all in a day’s work. It’s not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination because there are many deadlines. Deadlines can be your best friend or worst enemy. You always want to stay ahead of the clock. You need to be tech savvy; sometimes I edit my stories in remote places and feed the content back to the station. Also, I set up my own live shots and lights for when I’m going live in the field.

CJ: What advice do you have for youth who are interested in being journalists, or who are interested in starting their own non-profit organization?

KC: Never give up! Always follow your dreams and passion. Don’t let negative comments steer you into a direction you disagree with. There will be days when you feel like you’ve been run over by a semi-truck. That’s when you are going to be tested the most. So, pick yourself up, get back on track and keep going.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on school and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

KC: Currently, I work as a reporter for an NBC affiliate in Bangor, Maine. There is no general day! Every day is different depending on the story. Sometimes it’s an early morning live shoot covering breaking news or staying late to interview someone. The only thing that is constant is that we are live in our news shows from 5PM to 6:30PM. And I need to be ‘camera ready’ and look well-rested… news never stops and neither does my job. Every Monday is different. Once I go to bed, I get up the next day and get ready for another unpredictable day.

CJ: How do you stay organized and manage your time?

KC: Organization is key. If I wasn’t organized then I wouldn’t be effective or efficient, and I’d be left behind in my job. I’m very meticulous, to the point that everything in my office is color-coded and in similar binders and folders. My life revolves around calendars and sticky notes.

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CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

KC: At heart, I’m a perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect. But, how do we define perfection? I remind myself daily that being perfect all the time dampers the beauty of life. In reality, I want to be imperfectly perfect.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that has positively shaped you?

KC: In third grade, I read The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto, and it was almost as if the words on the page were speaking to me. The frigid temperatures, walloping snow, and miserable wind kept hounding lead dog, Balto, as he carried medicine to sick children miles away in Nome, Alaska. These incredible athletes were inspiring and moved me to want to be a musher in the Iditarod. For years, I studied the race, the remarkable dogs, and their mushers. As a reporter, I covered the Can-Am Crown 250 this year, which is a qualifier race for the Iditarod. I was beside myself as I got to see the sport in its entirety right before my eyes. A surreal experience; it started because of this book.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

KC: Each day I allot time for me; to work out, read a compelling story, spend time with family/friends, or do something life-affirming. Structure is fantastic, but you have to have a little ‘wiggle room’ to breath and let lose. On those sour days, it’s important for me to break down my walls and do something physical. I reflect on my actions best when working out on the Stairmaster.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

KC: Don’t rush yourself into growing up. Appreciate the ‘present’ and be in the ‘present.’ Learn to enjoy developing into the woman you’d like to see. It won’t happen overnight, so as you take detours and back roads reflect and appreciate all the avenues you’ve been given.

Kaitlyn Chana Qs

Images by Kaitlyn Chana

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

When we met Andrew O’Neill at the Congressional Award Gold Ceremony in 2014, we were impressed by what he had accomplished to earn his Gold Medal and were interested in learning more about him. Inspired by combining technology and outdoor leadership, Andrew attended Green Mountain College and majored in Adventure Education and Youth Development and Camp Management.

Andrew has put to good use the skills he’s learned in various endeavors, whether he’s building websites and creating a food program, working as a camp manager, editing videos, or learning a new language. Andrew’s curiosity is limitless, and he explores his interests and follows his heart. Read on to learn more about the different projects Andrew is involved in, his top three tips for learning a new language, and the advice he’d give his younger self.

Name: Andrew O’Neill
Education:
Double Major in Adventure Education and Youth Development and Camp Management (YDCM) at Green Mountain College
Follow:
WebsiteTwitterPinterest

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Andrew O’Neill: Young adults have a tendency to be afraid to dream big. Seizing your youth means taking chances toward your current dreams at any age.

CJ: You double majored in Adventure Education and Youth Development and Camp Management (YDCM) at Green Mountain College. How did you decide what to study?

AO: I took a two week-long canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness, and I thought it would be cool to follow a career path similar to the guides on that trip. At the time, I knew I was highly interested in the realm of technology and computers as a potential career, but I did not like the thought of being stuck inside all the time at a computer. I was inspired by the life that the guides on the canoe trip enjoyed that I looked into schools that specialized in outdoor leadership.

CJ: What cause or issue do you care greatly about and why?

AO: I have strong feelings towards the practice of factory farming. As a lifelong vegetarian, I have continued to learn and become more passionate about the abuse of farm animals at these farms and the negative health and environmental issues that this practice is causing on the planet. The way we are treating the animals that we are eating, which we should not be at all in my opinion, has a direct influence on how we are treating each other as humans. I believe that the brutality of factory farm operations correlates to why there are so many horrible acts of war currently happening in our society. I am extremely passionate about this subject and have created a website, ameatfreemonth.org, which aims to provide anyone with a free healthy 30 day vegan eating program to help steer them away from the addictions of eating animal products.

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CJ: You earned the Congressional Award Gold Medal in 2014. How did you get involved with the Congressional Award and what was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

AO: My mother, who has been a long-time Girl Scout troop leader and an all around incredible person, found out about this program through a student she worked with at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. Within less than a year, I had signed up and was already working toward the Bronze Certificate. Earning this medal has made me realize that I will always be interested in learning new skills and to never stop challenging myself. Participating in all four program areas has helped me to become a well-rounded person excited to guide future youth through the program.

CJ: That’s awesome! We completely agree and support the learning of new skills. You have been a camp counselor and camp manager at Hawthorne Valley Farm Camp – what did you learn from those experiences?

AO: As a camp counselor, I learned about the psychological and social challenges that can arise while working with youth. Often, I was around campers all day and even when exhausted, had to be careful with my words and actions so that I could set a good example for the campers to look up to. The following year, as a camp manager, I was pushed into new challenging roles that helped me to understand the different aspects of running a camp. The camp director was new the year I managed, so I was placed in a more challenging role being a support to the director. In this higher role, I wrote and submitted our entire camp safety manual, created a new scheduling system for the camp that I used to create the actual camp schedules each week. Additionally, I started and maintained a camp newsletter, served as a primary contact for parents during camp, and compiled a camp recipe book that has been in high demand for many years. Essentially, I now feel I have gained the skills necessary to open a camp of my own.

CJ: You are passionate about video editing and have produced promotional videos for a 3D printing shop in Vermont. What sparked this passion and how did you learn video editing skills?

AO: My passion for video editing goes back to when I was a kid. It all started when I was able to buy my first video camera and connect it to my father’s laptop. Around my senior year in high school, my parents gave me a Cannon HD camcorder, and my uncle bought me a laptop for college. This enabled me to begin working on small projects that explored new ways to edit videos. Ever since this experience, I have taken on more challenging projects that have pushed me to expand my editing skills. All of my video editing skills have been self-taught and all from the small and large projects I have completed over the years.

CJ: You taught yourself how to speak Spanish. What are your top three tips for learning a new language? Is there another language you plan on learning?

AO:

  1. Immerse yourself in a country where they only speak the language you are trying to learn.
  2. Read news articles or listen to songs of interest in the language.
  3. Most importantly, be consistent!

I do plan on learning Japanese and already have a computer program called Human Japanese that I plan on using.

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CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

AO: I am working on improving my health by transitioning to a totally raw mostly fruit diet and practicing regular yoga. Additionally, I am reading books about the fruitarian diet, and journaling everyday to help myself reflect on my day-to-day life.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

AO: My trick is simple, I rely heavily on my ability to be optimistic and always be able to find the positive in any situation. Almost always I am able to pause and just do a simple reflection and feel better. Additionally, I will find myself eating something special that I don’t always eat, but that is still in line with my diet.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

AO: There is no time like now to do whatever your heart desires. Answers and opportunities can often be found simply by networking. Every person is a human so don’t be afraid to interact, reach out, and make new connections.

Andrew Oneill Qs

Image: Andrew O’Neill

HealthSpotlightYouth Spotlight

We’ll admit that like almost everyone else with a smart phone, we are completely dependent on and obsessed with Instagram. That includes scrolling through the ‘Explore’ option for endless inspiration. One Instagrammer we always find ourselves gravitating toward is Steph Yu of @happyandhealthy96. Not only does Steph share gorgeous photos of the yummy meals she creates, but she encourages all people to find their own happiness and health in their own way.

On top of that, Steph has written an e-book and runs the website A Happy and Healthy Life where she shares recipes, thoughts, health tips, and even more stunning photographs. Oh, and did we mention that she’s only 19?

If you find yourself scrolling rapidly through this week’s Youth Spotlight to see all the beautiful images, don’t forget that there are words of wisdom snuck in between! But if you look first and read after, we won’t hold it against you.

Name: Stephanie Yu
Education: Studying business at the University of British Columbia
Follow: @happyandhealthy96 | A Happy and Healthy Life

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Steph Yu: To me, seizing my youth is defined by not waiting to live my life, but rather living for the now and not for my future. So often you hear “Oh I’ll do that one day, when I’m older.” But I believe that age isn’t a limitation but rather an opportunity. It’s an arbitrary definition that society tends to use as a barometer for maturity, success, and expectations, but I just like to do my own thing, and live according to my rules and my authentic passions.

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CJ: What school do you attend and what did you decide to study?

SY: I go to University of British Columbia, and I’m studying business at the Sauder School of Business.

CJ: What sort of living space do you live in and how do you maintain a vegan lifestyle there?

SY: I live in a single dorm room on campus. It’s actually extremely simple staying vegan and healthy. I have a minifridge and blender in my room that I use daily! I make smoothies, banana ice cream, bring fruit monomeals for lunch, etc. And for dinner I always go to the cafeteria and get a LARGE salad, with rice, or some more fruit!

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CJ: You’ve written an e-book called “Living A Healthy and Happy Life.” What was the process of writing that book like for you?

SY: The process of writing my e-book was both inspiring and difficult. I had to face all my fears, vulnerabilities, and mistakes, and open myself up to possible criticism. But when I started writing it, I promised that I would be genuine and authentically tell my story. I share a lot more than I expected I would, but I’m glad I did, I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who can relate and that makes everything worthwhile!

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

SY: Follow your bliss.

CJ: To our readers out there wondering how they can take one tiny step towards becoming happier and healthier right now, what one piece of advice would you offer to them?

SY: I would say start with breakfast! That’s really the easiest meal to eat healthy. Have a large fruit smoothie or a fruit meal! Also WATER: drink enough water so that you’re peeing clear. And SLEEP! It’s so important to get enough sleep!

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CJ: You’ve experienced your own incredible health transformation. What were some of the difficulties you faced while beginning that process and how did you keep yourself motivated?

SY: It was really difficult for me to deal with social situations when I fist started. I would get a lot of questions that I wasn’t able to answer, and I really felt attacked. I realize now that most people were just curious, so I’d say don’t take things personally and do your research! Become informed about plant-based nutrition, and cover all the basic questions (where do you get your protein, calcium, iron etc).

CJ: As a self-starter you have to keep yourself on track with goals and deadlines. What tools and organizing methods do you use to keep everything running smoothly?

SY: I have a mac, and I use “Stickies” obsessively! I have daily to-do lists, and weekly agendas.

CJ: You have a huge Instagram following! What kinds of things do you do to engage with your community and how has that virtual growth impacted your real life?

SY: I love reaching out to local companies that support the message I do, and introducing them to my followers. I’ve also hosted fruit lucks, and gone to some vegan potlucks! It’s been incredible to find a community here in Vancouver of plant munching people! As for online, I love following and supporting other health foodies, and I’m constantly inspired by others on Instagram!

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CJ: What has been the most unexpected part of college so far?

SY: University has been just incredible. The inspiring atmosphere, incredible friends, and total freedom has made this year my favorite year yet.

CJ: You’re also great about making fitness a priority. How do you keep yourself energized throughout the day and especially throughout a workout?

SY: I workout in the mornings before breakfast. I love waking up, drinking a liter of water, and then getting my sweat sesh on! One of my favorite things to listen to during a workout is the Rich Roll podcast.

CJ: What is your go-to recipe for when you just don’t know what you feel like eating?

SY: DATE COCONUT ROLLS!

CJ: What advice would you give to your 14-year-old self?

SY: Your imperfections guide and shape your narrative, love them, embrace them, and accept them.

Steph Yu Qs

Images Courtesy of: Steph Yu

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Nick Rubin is one seriously impressive 17-year-old. We met up with Nick for coffee in Seattle and discussed the many amazing projects he’s working on, including the app Greenhouse (which he built himself), a youth-run organization connector called YouthCorp, and his college applications.

As a high school student, Nick has loads of homework and the typical stress that comes with being near the end of your high school career. But Nick is approaching his time in high school differently by making the most of his time outside of class. He partakes in extracurriculars, spends time pursuing hobbies such as graphic design and photography, and makes time for himself by going on hikes and bike rides.

Nick undoubtedly seizes his youth. Read on to learn about how Nick learned to code, the inspiration behind his projects, and the top tips he would give someone who is just about to enter high school.

Name: Nicholas Rubin
Education: Lakeside School
Follow:
nicholasrub.in / @nickrubin / Greenhouse / Instagram

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Nicholas Rubin: I define “Seizing Your Youth” as taking advantage of the many opportunities that being young offers. For example, free time. We tend to have more free time than adults, which gives us time to focus on our passions and interests. Many people say that kids can’t make change, but I think that the opposite is true. I think it’s easier for kids to make a change – not only are we able to focus on what we’re interested in, but there’s something about youth that’s special.

CJ: You are the creator of Greenhouse, a free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. What inspired you to create Greenhouse?

NR: Ever since giving a presentation in a 7th grade social studies class, I’ve been really interested in the issue of money-in-politics. It’s not usually something kids care about, but even though I’m 17 and can’t vote for another year, I wanted to change that. I thought that the information about sources of funding of members of Congress wasn’t being made accessible to people, to the average citizen. It’s being buried away. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is the agency that’s in charge of making this information accessible to the public, but they aren’t doing a good job. It’s tucked away, and since most people don’t know where or how to find it, I wanted to put it where it’s more useful – on the web pages where people read about the actions of members of Congress every day.

CJ: How did you go about actually building Greenhouse?

NR: When I first came up with the idea, I didn’t really know how to code. I taught myself using a series of online resources, and this year I’m taking a formal computer science class in school. There are so many great instructional websites these days – Kahn Academy, Codecademy, and my favorite, Treehouse – which are all geared toward youth, so it’s easy to understand for a beginner.

I spent about 10 months and 400 hours working on Greenhouse. For the data itself, I’m collecting it from an organization called the Center for Responsive Politics, which takes the FEC data and makes it available to developers.

CJ: What cause or issue do you care greatly about and why?

NR: I’ve been working on one other important project since this summer. In August, I went to the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, and met 200 other kids from all over the world who all shared a passion for change and global affairs. Four of us recognized this, and we started something called YouthCorp. It’s an organization that connects youth-run nonprofits, projects, initiatives, and companies and combines their resources to fight a common issue.

We’re still figuring out the details, but in the first two months we’ve had around 20 youth-run organizations join us from all over the world. It’s great, and is something that I’ll definitely continue working on.

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CJ: You are also a photographer. What sparked your interest in photography and what camera do you use?

NR: I don’t really remember exactly when I started photography, but it’s been a long time. Back in middle school I went to a camp in the San Juans that had film photography as an activity. I learned how to use a manual camera, develop film, and more. Ever since then, I’ve loved it. I got my first point-and-shoot in 6th grade, eventually graduating to a film camera, and then a DSLR. Now I’m in my third year of photography at school, where I do both film and digital photography. My favorite type would probably be travel photography and portraits. They’re both fun to take.

CJ: You have done quite a bit of design work. Where do you draw inspiration and what tools do you use for your design work?

NR: I’ve been interested in design since a 7th grade art class, when we did some linoleum printing. I wasn’t much of an art student, but I really enjoyed carving out and printing shapes. I like simple, minimalist design, and use Photography and Illustrator to do most of my work.

CJ: You were a Top-10 finalist at MHacks IV for Quink, a free browser extension for Chrome and Safari that lets you read the news faster without leaving the page you’re on. What was that experience like and what advice do you have for pitching and making it all the way to the Top 10?

NR: It was an amazing experience. A 36-hour programming competition with almost no sleep may sound miserable, but it was actually tons of fun. Hard, but a great experience. The community tends to be more about learning, rather than competition, so it creates a great environment. Some hackathons have cash prizes, but many of these events are turning away from that and discouraging people from only going with the prizes in mind. Most people go for the experience, and that’s really what makes these events special.

My advice for kids interested in these events is that you don’t have to be an amazing coder, or even know how to code at all. Many attend as designers or simply attend workshops and learn as they go on.

CJ: How do you stay organized, and what are your time management tips?

NR: Truthfully, I’m not the best with organization and time management, but there’s an app called Things that has basically saved my life. It’s a to-do list, where you simply check things off when you’re done. I could probably work to be a bit more organized, and use things like calendars, but something simple like Things is enough for me. I don’t like being too structured.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on school, work, and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

NR: On a typical Monday, I wake up at 7AM, drive my sisters to school, and go to my classes. After school, I continue to dedicate a quite a bit of time to Greenhouse, even though the attention surrounding it has died down a bit. I’ll spend an hour or two every day working on updates or responding to emails. Other than that, and my homework, I like to play tennis and go on hikes and bike rides.

CJ: What three tips would you give someone entering high school?

NR:
1. Try to make free time for yourself. School may be tough with homework, but it’s possible to have free time if you manage it properly. That’s what makes youth special, having time to do what you want. Making that time is important.

2. Don’t worry too much. That’s something I struggled with for the past few years. I’ve toned it down now, but don’t spend a lot of time stressing about school and your social life.

3. Do what you’re interested in, both in school and out. Pick classes and extracurriculars that interest you. For example, computer science is an elective course that I’m taking. Use your school’s resources to further your interests.

CJ: The college application process is ahead. What are you doing now to prepare for that?

NR: The process is just starting for me – I was actually assigned my college counselor yesterday. I’m probably planning on going on a school tour during spring break. I haven’t given the process much thought, but one thing that I’ve heard from people is to definitely start early. I may procrastinate with school assignments, but with something as big as college essays and applications, I’m going to be sure to start as early as possible.

CJ: What is one of your favorite books?

NR: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that positively shaped you?

NR: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

NR: Communication and reaching out to people. There are definitely a lot of people who could be useful to me and the projects that I’m working on, and reaching out to some of them would be really beneficial. When I need help, I tend to refrain from asking others, but I definitely want to change this.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

NR: Whenever I’m having a bad day, I try and find something to get my mind off of it. I like to play with my dog, or go on a hike or bike ride. Leaving things behind and not letting them get to me is important. Being in nature and spending time away from society really helps, and it puts me in a good state of mind.

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

NR: My parents and grandparents always told me before tests, “Good skills” instead of “Good luck.”

CJ: What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

NR: Don’t worry as much! I worried about everything, and it would take up a lot of my time. I would spend more time worrying about an experience than actually enjoying it. This definitely could have changed earlier on.

Nick Rubin Qs

Image: Carpe Juvenis

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

We are always so inspired by students who take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship while still taking classes and juggling a handful of other responsibilities. One of these inspiring students is Michelle Schechter, a current senior at Northwestern University who started the company For Real Dough. FRD takes a spin on a classic – chocolate chip cookies – and offers its customers an assortment of delicious edible cookie dough (that’s totally safe to eat!). In between classes and friends Michelle answers emails, dreams up new flavors, develops branding and packaging, and so much more. We are in awe of what she has accomplished so far, and can’t wait to see where she takes FRD next. Pass the cookie dough, please!

Name: Michelle Schechter
Age: 22
Education: Northwestern University
Follow: For Real Dough | Facebook | Instagram

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Michelle Schechter: I believe taking advantage of any point in my life is about being present. As we get older, we’re surrounded by more and more external (and largely technological) stimuli while becoming increasingly invested and obsessed with the next step, the next job, the next assignment, the next party, the next environment. I think by concentrating on being fully wherever I am and grateful for whatever that is, I have the best chance of stopping time from moving by so fast.

CJ: Why did you decide to attend Northwestern University for your undergraduate experience?

MS: At age 8, I fell madly in love with my next-door neighbor. He had his heart set on Northwestern and I decided right then and there that I did, too.

CJ: What are you studying? Do your passions for arts and cooking intersect at all?

MS: I’m pursuing a theater major, business minor, and music theatre certificate. I think I’ve realized my passions intersect more than I ever anticipated. Baking is creative and so is branding. They’re both very hands-on and experiential. And every business pitch or presentation is kind of like a mini performance.

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CJ: What originally drew you to cooking and experimenting in the kitchen?

MS: When I was about 6 or 7, I would present my own “Food Network Show” to anyone home who would listen. I would usually teach the viewers (my mom and dad) how to make cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. It was my absolute favorite game of make-believe. Maybe one day it won’t be make-believe.

CJ: As the CEO of For Real Dough, what do your day-to-day responsibilities entail?

MS: I oversee everything from production to branding. I’m in the kitchens once a week mixing up cookie dough. I’m also busy taking meetings, working on the website and brand design, conceptualizing flavors, and lots more. I have the help of some amazing friends and teammates who greatly contribute to the design and growth of the company.

CJ: Can you please tell us more about how FRD came to life?

MS: Yeah! I had the recipe for a few years and always loved cookie dough. But last Spring, I was enrolled in an Entrepreneurship class at Northwestern where I was able to explore the product in a more tangible way. At the end of the class, my team won a pitch competition and outside interest in the idea started growing. I decided to meet with the President of Northwestern on a whim to see if I could sell For Real Dough at the Northwestern Convenience Stores (“C-Stores”) and, after sharing samples and memories of cookie dough with everyone in the office, he agreed.

Jennifer Gamboa

CJ: How do you juggle finishing your senior year of college with friends, family, and business?

MS: It’s tough. And very busy. But I really try to spend my time and exert my energy towards things that bring me happiness and positivity. So at the end of the day, excitement and passion can overcome stress. It also helps to be surrounded by supportive and loving friends and family.

CJ: In your experience, what has been the most surprising part about entrepreneurship so far?

MS: The generosity of others. I never could have imagined that so many people would support and help turn a dream of mine into a reality. It’s been an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience.

CJ: As a self-starter, how do you keep yourself on-track with goals and deadlines?

MS: I try to determine what success means for me and keep that goal in mind with every decision I make. From there, it’s passion for the project itself. It feels good to harness productivity and love and put it towards something that I know will make me feel artistically and intellectually fulfilled.

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CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

MS: Wake up, have a little dance party, work hard towards my dreams, hug the people I love, take a nap, eat a snack, sleep.

CJ: What has been the best piece of personal advice you’ve been given?

MS: Your will to live must be stronger than your fear of death. (JK Rowling taught me that)

CJ: What has been the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?

MS: You must believe that what you have to say and give to the world is important.

CJ: What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?

MS: Nothing is permanent. Laugh more. Believe in yourself; don’t wait for someone else to.

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Image (top to bottom): Jennifer Gamboa, Rafi Letzler, Justin Barbin

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Julia Schlaepfer has been singing, dancing, and acting since she was a young girl. She started ballet at an early age, but it wasn’t until fourth grade when she performed in The Nutcracker that she realized she wanted to be a performer. Julia was involved with theater and ballet in high school, and when it came time to go to college, she moved across the country to New York City to study at the Atlantic Acting School through Tisch at New York University.

Julia is thoughtful, passionate about her craft, and so much fun to talk to about anything related to acting, singing, and theater. Working tirelessly to pursue her dreams, when Julia is not in class, she is in a workshop or rehearsal. Whether she is on-stage or on-screen, Julia is moving, emotional, and deeply immersed in her roles. Take a moment to get to know this rising star. When looking back at her 15-year-old self, Julia says it best when she notes, “Breathe. Remember that everything doesn’t just happen all at once, it’s a process.” We couldn’t agree more.

Name: Julia Schlaepfer
Age: 19
Education: Student at Atlantic Acting School, Tisch School of the Arts (New York University)
Follow: Backstage

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Julia Schlaepfer: To me that means wholeheartedly going after all of your dreams and not being afraid to fail. One of my old acting teachers used to tell us to dare to suck. That’s so applicable because it’s all about falling on your face and getting back up and trying again. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have now.

CJ: What are you studying at Tisch? Why did you choose to go to school in New York City?

JS: I’m studying acting at the Atlantic Acting School through Tisch at NYU. I auditioned for 11 schools because the programs are so small and competitive. I always knew I wanted to end up in New York just because it’s such a hub for art and the industry I want to go into. I really liked how you are also involved with academics at Tisch because it’s important to educate yourself on what’s going on in the world around you. I loved my audition, too. They wanted to know who I was as a person. I love the program – it’s three days a week acting and two days a week academics, which I feel is a good balance.

I have two academic classes and an elective that I take on my academic days, and then the other three days I’m at studio all day which is off-campus with the Atlantic Acting School. You get placed into different schools based on specific techniques and what your audition looked like. I’m at the Atlantic Acting School, where we study practical aesthetics, David Mamet’s technique.

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CJ: You’re from Seattle. What advice do you have for people moving across the country for college?

JS: Don’t lose contact with your family. I’m very close with my family. When you’re across the country, it’s nice to know that you have people supporting you back home.

Put yourself out there because everyone is going through the same thing as you. Most of them are in a new place and don’t know anyone. Let yourself have fun and meet new people. Spread yourself out and try everything because you never know what you’re going to find.

Enjoy yourself and have fun. You’re in a new place that you applied to. You chose the school. The academics and the work can get hard sometimes, but let yourself take breaks and have fun.

CJ: What sparked your love of performing?

JS: I was placed into ballet when I was young because I was born with my feet very turned in. I would trip over my feet as a baby, so the doctors told my parents to put me in ballet. I started ballet really young and I wasn’t interested in other sports. My parents were so supportive and would watch all of my performances. It was something that was always there and I never doubted it.

The moment I knew I wanted to be a performer was in the fourth grade when I did The Nutcracker. I was addicted and couldn’t stop.

CJ: You were involved in the Pacific Northwest Ballet and you did Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. What were those experiences like?

JS: It was incredible. From a young age we were thrown onto the stage with professional ballerinas. We got to interact with the older dancers and they were so welcoming. These artists that I grew up wanting to be were right in front of me interacting with me. It was so inspiring at such a young age. It fueled my love for what I do even more.

One of my favorite things about ballet is that it’s not only art but also athleticism. You have to be an athlete. I loved doing that hard physical work.

CJ: In addition to ballet, you were also in theater productions. How do you mentally and physically prepare for those roles?

JS: It’s changed since I’ve gotten to the Atlantic Acting School. Before, I would do a few vocal warmups and jumping jacks, get my body warmed up. If you don’t have a little bit of fear and a lot of nerves, there’s something wrong. My movement teacher at Atlantic taught us that it’s been scientifically researched that the moment before an actor steps onstage, the same thing happens in their body that happens in their body during a car crash. You have to act and perform at the same time, and that fear will never go away. You’ll always have that moment beforehand. Breathing is really important and reminding yourself that you prepared and did the work.

Now at Atlantic, we have an entire routine that we work on with speech articulators and vocal warmups. We also do a movement warmup to help us get inside our body. Thinking about what makes us feel alive is helpful and inspiring before we go onstage. I also like to listen to music.

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CJ: How do you stay motivated during each performance?

JS: It’s all about reminding yourself why you chose to be an actor in the first place. I chose to commit myself to this kind of life for a reason, and reminding myself how much I love what to do is helpful.

CJ: What is it like working, living, and studying with your peers who have become close friends but who are also in that same professional space?

JS: We all support each other so much. On the first day of class, our performance technique teacher told us to eat our humble pie. You’re only as good as your classmates and ensemble members. The people who I work with are great about that. They are there for you when you’ve had a bad day or a rough scene. They’re also supportive when you get good feedback or get a role.

CJ: You’ve done theater, ballet, singing – you’ve also done film work. How do your film experiences differ from your theater roles?

JS: Theater is so immediate. You have two hours to tell a story and it makes you feel alive. I love film because the acting is a lot more subtle and it feels more real a lot of the time. Obviously it’s not as theatrical. With film I feel like I’m telling a more intimate story, which I love. Sometimes it’s hard because in the middle of an intense scene you might be stopped and have to do another take. You always have to be on your toes but that’s what makes working on films is exciting.

CJ: How much time do you actually spend auditioning?

JS: It was hard last year because I was still getting the hang of things at school. This year now that I have a better feel for my schedule, it’s a little bit easier to audition. This fall I auditioned for, and will be in, a television pilot called Easel R. There also an online database through New York University where student directors can contact me. Then you have to decide whether you’ll have enough time to do that project and balance school at the same time. School and training is very important to me, so there’s not too much time for that. If I can, I’ll take advantage of as many opportunities as I can while trying to stay sane.

CJ: What are the greatest lessons you’ve learned from being a working actress?

JS: One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is to stay true to yourself. Moving to New York City to pursue an acting career at 18-years-old is terrifying. It’s a rough business, and it can be easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. It’s really important to bring it back and stay grounded. There will always be people telling you what you should and shouldn’t look like, and those opinions are all going to conflict. As long as you have a clear vision of your goal and who you want to be as a person and how you want to conduct yourself, that’s what’s really important to being grounded and staying yourself.

CJ: How has taking classes changed the way you act or view acting?

JS: It’s changed it a lot. David Mamet created this technique called practical aesthetics and it’s a four-step script analysis process. You go through all these steps and at the end you have a clear action of what your character is playing in a scene. Before I’d just read a script and start acting, but now it’s a clear and simplified version of your character encompassed in whatever scene you’re playing. It helps bring characters to life and really humanizes them. It’s been fun to explore a method of what you do when you’re onstage.

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CJ: How has what you’ve learned in your acting classes helped you in your everyday life?

JS: It’s helped a lot in terms of just being a really curious and empathetic human being. My teachers say that the number one rule of being a good actor is being a nice person. Every day when we’re analyzing scenes and trying to bring someone’s story to life, you feel so much for this character. You’re always taking this person’s side because at the end of the day you have to portray them in an honest way. It makes you curious about other people and open to listening to others.

I’ve also learned to be more present with the people around me and connect with people on a real level.

CJ: What advice do you have for other youth or peers who are interested in acting?

JS: Be a nice person. That’s so important because people won’t want to work with you if you’re not a good, genuine, and caring person. When you walk into an audition room, people are going to remember you if you’re kind and open to trying to new things.

Also, work hard. Hard work pays off. It’s so applicable to acting because it’s really tough, and there will always be 100 other people auditioning for one role. If you sit down and prepare and learn the material, no one can ever take away the amount of work that you do. If you work your butt off, that’s going to show.

CJ: Every day must look different, but what does a typical Monday look like for you?

JS: I wake up and have to be at the studio by 8am. Classes start at 8:30am. I will have an assortment of script analysis class, Shakespeare class, movement and voice class, speech work, or film class. We get done with studio at 6pm. I then have rehearsal for a few more hours after that. When I get home I do academic work for the next day.

CJ: What specific things do you do to improve in your craft?

JS: I stay in practice. I’ve gotten so many amazing tools from Atlantic and my training about how to be your best emotional, physical, and mental self. I do my warmups every day. Keep applying yourself and practicing.

CJ: What do you like to do in your free time?

JS: I like to go to plays as much as possible. We get a lot of free or discounted tickets through Atlantic, so we take advantage of that. I also like to get away from the theater sometimes. I like to go to Washington Square Park with friends, watch movies, go for walks along the river, and spend time with friends. I like to feed my soul with as many different things as possible.

CJ: What play has had the greatest impact on you, and why?

JS: I would say the play Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph. It was the first play I fell in love with. It’s incredible. It’s the story of two children who first meet in elementary school, and the play skips around throughout their life. Their story is tragically beautiful and important because of how exposed and vulnerable the characters are. So many people hide those ugly parts of their lives but Joseph just throws it all out on the table. It feels so real to me.

Also any play by Anton Chekhov. There are no words to describe the amount of heart he has poured into each and every one of his characters. His plays have truly changed my life.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old-self?

JS: Breathe. Remember that everything doesn’t just happen all at once, it’s a process. You’ll get to where you want to be eventually. Also, remember that happiness comes first. Working hard is important, but at the end of the day you have to be happy.

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Image: Andrew Schlaepfer, Josh Marten

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Every year a handful of students are accepted to the George Washington University’s Seven-Year B.A./M.D. Program. What that means is that seniors in high school who know that they want to attend medical school after earning their undergraduate degrees apply to this highly selective program and earn both degrees in a shortened period of time. We know, it’s pretty crazy-impressive. We had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Payette, a member of this program, recent GWU undergrad alum, and current first year GWU Medical School student. He gave us the low-down on what it takes to get academic work done while balancing work responsibilities and personal time. While it’s no easy feat, Chris somehow manages it all and does it with a genuine smile on his face. From sharing his successful-study-secrets to details about his semester abroad in South Africa, Chris is without a doubt seizing his youth and making the most of every opportunity.

Name: Chris Payette
Age: 21
Education: B.S. from the George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences | The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Follow: LinkedIn

Carpe Juvenis: How would you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Chris Payette: Doing whatever you need to do right now that will set you up to be doing what you want to be doing later, whether it’s in the immediate now or in the future. So for me I think it’s much more for the future. Obviously right now I don’t necessarily want to be spending all of my time in the library studying, but – and I know this might sound slightly morbid – it’s a means to an end.

And also to make time for yourself and your friends and family. When you’re trying to make things the best for you, sometimes you don’t necessarily think about the whole picture, and other people’s happiness. But I think that it’s important to make time for the people you care about.

CJ: You knew from a young age that you wanted to study medicine, but what would you say to someone who doesn’t know what his or her passion is yet?

CP: Do everything. I do everything and it’s interesting because even though I’m in medical school I feel like there are so many other things I could do and be totally happy with. And it’s nice to know that even though I have a set path, there are so many other things I would be super happy to do. I’ve worked at restaurants for a while now, and I know that if anything ever happened with the medical stuff I would be happy waiting tables. I think that not having a diverse experience limits you. By trying a little bit of everything you can find what you like, and if you don’t know yet then you should keep trying everything.

CJ: What tools do you use to keep yourself organized and on track?

CP: Notability. iCalendar. Honestly so many. I try to reevaluate where I’m at and where I need to be at the end of every day, just so I can know where I am for the week, where I am for the month, where I am for my next exam, where I am for the next social event I want to go to. For example if I have a lot of friends in town and I know that I’ll want to set aside Saturday and Sunday to just see people, I’ll do extra schoolwork during the week based on how my overall schedule looks.

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CJ: How do you prepare for medical school exams?

CP: First I go through all of my lecture notes individually. I compile all of the “learning objectives” from each lecture and sort them into files based on what I think would be best to study together. Then I go through each learning objective and I add in everything pertinent from the lecture into one lengthy document. I include images as well. I go back to that document about two weeks before an exam and transcribe that onto one hand-written page. That page is what I use up until the exam to study – I really condense the information.

I use so many tools for this process – my suite of Microsoft tools, my Apple tools, my favorite Sharpie fine point pens and white printer paper. I just started using this system in med school and it’s been going really well. It’s good because it makes me first synthesize the data, and then condense it and get the most important pieces from it. That study sheet is when I really have to master the material, because one sheet can take one to two hours to make. A lot of it is just planning.

CJ: You went into college knowing that you would also be going to medical school – did you ever have moments of panic/anxiety about that decision? How did you overcome that?

CP: I get really excited about things. So there will be times when I get excited about one thing and think “I want to pursue that! That should be my job!” And knowing that it wouldn’t be, since I was already accepted into medical school, was weird sometimes. I went into high school in a magnet science program, so basically by eighth grade I was already committing to medicine. Which is good because I’ve always known that this would be my path, but it’s also challenging to think that in undergrad had I not already been accepted to medical school, might my path have totally changed?

I think for me personally it’s good that I have that structure, and I think that at the same time it gave me the freedom to have those moments of exploring other things because I knew that once I was in medical school I would have required responsibilities. So for example my research in undergrad was totally unrelated to medicine, my jobs were unrelated to medicine, volunteering was not clinical at all. I didn’t do one clinical thing at all in undergrad. So I had that time and ability to purposefully explore while I had the opportunity.

CJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

CP: Wow, I don’t know. That’s tough. One big thing that has always stuck with me is that my dad always tells me that regardless of being on the medical track, I can still do whatever I want. I think that a lot of people are pushed in one way by their parents, but my parents’ professions are not medically related at all. So it’s nice knowing that if at any time I don’t want to do what I’m doing anymore, hearing that out loud from my parents has helped me feel a little bit freer. Just knowing that I can pursue whatever I want in my career has been very comforting.

CJ: What advice would you give to a freshman starting the same 7-year program you are part of?

CP: Do everything that you want to do. You’re already accepted to medical school, you have your future laid out, so right now is your time to travel and see your friends and family. It’s your time to make art, go outside, be able to do stupid things and ask for guidance. That’s another thing – not that there’s no guidance when you graduate, but when you’re in undergrad there are built-in systems of support to hold your hand and help you get through college. So seek help, get mentors. There are no office hours when you graduate. The only office you’ll get to go to once you graduate is your boss’.

CJ: How did you get involved with Street Sense as in intern?

CP: I took a lot of service learning course at GWU because one of the things that’s expected of you going into the medical field is to always have volunteer experience. I like doing service learning because it’s was a really easy way to integrate that into my life and schedule. During my last year of undergrad I took an urban sociology class and that’s how I got connected with Street Sense. From there we created a role where I was in charge of social media. So I worked not only with the people who sell the newspaper, but also with the administrative back end. I really liked it so I stayed a little bit longer after the semester ended and worked with them in a larger capacity. It was an amazing experience – you get to meet a lot of really interesting people when you’re working with the homeless community.

CJ: What is your favorite book?

CP: Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk.

CJ: Despite being in a shortened 3 year undergraduate program, you still made the time to study abroad in South Africa – what compelled you to make the choice and how has it influenced you?

CP: I went to South Africa the summer after I did a GWU orientation program. The summer had been a lot of DC and a lot of GWU. It just felt like too much. I needed to spend the semester away, so I applied to go abroad. And I decided very last minute – my parents mailed me my passport the week before applications were due. I really just needed a semester away to experience somewhere different and travel without doing it during the summer. I followed my instinct to go somewhere. I would go back in a heartbeat – I’m already trying. Certain programs at my school require you to travel and work abroad, so I definitely think ill go back at some point.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

CP: It depends. My schedule varies day to day because of classes. Some days I’ll go to class at 8AM and end around 6PM, even 8PM. Other days I have independent study so I’ll wake up, make a cup of coffee, sit in my living rom and study. I’ll usually stay after class in the library most days just to do a little extra. I also work at Cove because I can get work done, and at a restaurant some nights. I try to have most of what I’m doing planned out a few weeks in advanced.

CJ: What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?

CP: Start exercising now, because when you’re 21 your metabolism will stop. And also do whatever you want. But seriously, exercise. I took a health class freshman year and one of our assignments was to make a behavior change. Mine was to start running, and I’ve been running ever since.

Chris Payette Qs

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

If the first interaction you have with Roxanne Goldberg is reading through her C.V., be prepared for extreme intimidation. It reads fluidly and cohesively, with her incredible experiences fully show-cased and ready to inspire jaw-dropping moments of awe and admiration. While her career-oriented endeavors have been extensive in length and type, they have been equally passion-driven and purposeful in their makeup. Roxanne’s ongoing pursuits of intellectual and professional improvement are revealed in the hard work and commitment she delivers to every responsibility she takes on.

But when you sit down with Roxanne in person, nearly all traces of seriousness and intimidation fade – engaging, warm, and curious, Roxanne directs her efforts at trying to find out about what matters to the people around her. (Half an hour could pass before you realize you’ve spent more time talking about yourself and attempting to answer any number of thought-provoking questions Roxanne has sent your way.) Incredibly thoughtful and eager to discover, it’s no wonder that Roxanne has managed to cultivate such a strong network of personal and professional ties.

We hope you enjoy this wonderful Spotlight of Roxanne as much as we enjoyed having the opportunity to put it together. She is, quite simply, inspiring.

Name: Roxanne Goldberg
Age: 21
Education: B.A. in Art History from The George Washington University (Graduating Dec. 2014) | Art and Its Markets at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London | Human Relations and Effective Communications at the Dale Carnegie Institute in Washington, DC
Work: Curator at Gallery 102 at The George Washington University | Contributing Writer for Hi-Fructose Magazine | Curatorial Intern at The Walters Art Museum
Follow: Website | LinkedIn

Carpe Juvenis: How would you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Roxanne Goldberg: To seize your youth is to be honest with yourself and to do want you want to do when it feels right for you in your head, your heart and your stomach.

To seize your youth is to forget the immense pressures put on young people by their parents, by their teachers, and by their overachieving peers, and to take time for self reflection, to understand what is best for not just your academic or professional goals, but for what is equally and often more important, your personal health and inner desires.

CJ: What drew you to art to begin with? What keeps you hooked?

RG: Growing up, I was always surrounded by art. My mother was an interior designer and some of my earliest memories are picking out pieces of granite in stone yards. Whenever my family traveled, we visited museums and my parents always bought art from local artisans. I hadn’t thought about art as playing a central role in my life (in fact, I came to GW to study political science), but I now realize early exposure to art has largely shaped who I am and how I perceive the world today.

Art history is such a fascinating field of study because there is always something new to learn. A former boss of mine once said art history is what all the cool nerds end up studying. In many ways, I think he was right. A good art historian is an expert not only on methods and materials, but also on the social sciences, economics and political history, among other topics like languages, religion and philosophy. And yet, it’s a very social field. There is always an active discourse and it is impossible to be bored.

CJ: Could you please tell me more about your work as a curator? Do you have a favorite exhibition you’ve put together?

RG: While I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to produce exhibitions at GW and one while studying abroad in Berlin, I think the term curator gets thrown around a bit too easily. Everyone is a curator, you curate your closet, you curate your blog, but in fact, the word curator means “overseer, manager, guardian,” and what real curators do is care for, cultivate and preserve collections for posterity. Yes, I call myself a curator because if I called myself a producer or organizer that would be confusing. My greatest respect is for the true curators, those who have the expertise and devotion that so few people have in the world, necessary to perform their jobs as civil servants, caring for and nurturing the material culture of our societies and the ones that came before us.

For that reason, I’d rather speak to an upcoming loan exhibition I am assisting with at The Walters Art Museum. The exhibition looks at the later Islamic empires—Safavid Iran, Mughal India and Ottoman Turkey—through a biographical lens. We are used to thinking about Western art history in terms of blue-chip names like Rubens or Picasso, but Islamic art tends to occupy a strange place between fine art and utilitarian object, where the artists and their patrons are too often forgotten, and the stage becomes set for the viewer to create a paradigm of the ‘other.’ This exhibition humanizes the Islamic world and tells the stories of some fairly unique and interesting characters. Working on this exhibition has been the single most rewarding experience of my undergraduate years. I’ve learned quite a lot about the process of exhibition making at a major institution and have been heavily involved in the research, which has been wildly enriching. For example, my first project was researching the exchange between the Ottoman Empire and European powers in the 18th century, and then selecting objects in the Walters’ collections that exemplify the types of diplomatic gifts King Louis XV would have given to Sultan Mahmud I. It might not sound that thrilling to your readers, but to me it was the most fascinating experience, and actually motivated me to apply for a Fulbright grant to Turkey.

CJ: Out of every course you’ve taken at any institution, which has been your favorite and why?

RG: This is such a difficult question. I have a horrible habit of becoming entirely obsessed with whatever I am studying at the moment, which makes nearly every course my favorite. For that reason, I’m going to alter your question a bit. If I had to re-take a course, and re-take it again and again indefinitely, it would be a sound art course I participated in at New York University Berlin. The professor was a very talented and extraordinarily smart sound artist named Andy Graydon. The course was very theory-based and thinking through and attempting to practice such concepts as reductive listening raptured me. We also learned how to use AbletonLive, which is a software program many DJs use, so that was very cool. But what had the greatest effect on me, was spending a lot of time just listening—taking sound walks and listening to the environment; listening to interstitial spaces like whispers and feet shuffling in museums or wind passing under bridges; and listening to sound art (the abundance of which made Berlin such an inspiring city in which to study this subject). The power of observation is profound, and the impact this course continues to have on my daily life has been remarkable. It sounds corny, but I’ve literally learned to stop and smell (and listen to) the roses.

I also should note some courses and professors I feel indebted to: Modern and Post-Modern Art and Art Theory, which sealed my fate as an art history major; Black Mountain College and Beyond, which introduced me to John Cage; Professor Phil Jacks, with whom I’ve taken four courses at GW and who has become an important mentor; and Professor Mika Natif who exposed me to the wonders of Islamic art and encouraged me to pursue my current curatorial internship at The Walters Art Museum.

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CJ: As a student, what pushes you to diversify your schedule with more than just academics?

RG: I believe life is one long educational journey, so in many ways, my formal academic studies are just one small part of my identity as a student.

CJ: You recently curated LEGAL: Branco, Gen Duarte Nick Alive, Tikka, and Vermelho. What was that experience like?

RG: The process began in October 2013 when an artist I exhibited as part of Caged In, Corcoran professor Jeff Huntington, introduced me to his friend Roberta Pardo, who would become my co-curator for LEGAL. It was a very long and very exciting process and I learned quite a lot. I am excited to say it is still continuing, and the show is now traveling to Porter Contemporary in New York.

I am now working on an entirely different exhibition, Sensorium: The Art of Perception, which has been a very rewarding and creative exercise. I am collaborating with an artist friend I met at NYU Berlin, Talia Kirsh, who is an exceptional personality and a stunning photographer, videographer and sound artist. We are both interested in topics of wellness and Eastern philosophy, and the exhibition we are producing investigates both of these issues by creating an environment in which visitors are encouraged to learn about and explore these themes through sound installations, a smell sculpture, video works, and socially engaged works, in addition to more traditional media like painting and drawing. In addition to Talia, Sijae Byun, winner of the 2013 Phillips Collection Emerging Artist Prize, and Ryan McDonnell, GWU MFA candidate are included in the exhibition.

On Thursday, December 4 and Friday, December 5, we will be hosting Sensorium: The Symposium, which includes a conference featuring scholars from such diverse fields as art history, philosophy, English, Turkish, and medicine, from GW, Georgetown University and American University, as well as such activities as breathe work and sacred movement workshops. (We might also have a Cuban Shaman performing a healing ceremony, but this is not yet confirmed.)

CJ: What future advice would you give to yourself about working with international artists?

RG: Always be curious and remember a smile is recognized in all languages and cultures.

CJ: Why did you decide to travel and work abroad in Berlin?

RG: Berlin is arguably the most important center for contemporary art. The only other contender would be New York. However, because there is no or very little art market in Berlin, the city is much more susceptible to experimental and exploratory art practices. No one expects to sell his or her artwork, and therefore people aren’t afraid to take risks. There is a wonderfully contagious air of collaboration and it is an overall very supportive environment. I hadn’t thought about it before going, but the intellectual and cultural history of the country makes the German people, and Berliners in particular, very interested and supportive of the arts and humanities. I found it so exciting that I could be sitting next to a construction worker in a bar and he could speak intelligently about Deleuze and debate the merits of a recent exhibition.

CJ: Do you have a favorite museum?

RG: There are so many. In Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art has what I think is one of the most ambitious and critically interesting programs for contemporary art, and the Pergamonmuseum fuels my love for Islamic art. All the museums in Vienna, particularly the Belvedere, Albertina and Kunsthistorisches Museum are absolutely stunning, and I have wonderful memories of visiting the Rubens House in Antwerp. In DC, nothing compares to the intimacy of the Phillips Collection. It also largely depends on what exhibitions are showing at the moment. For example, one of my most memorable museum experiences has been in the Pierre Huyghe exhibition at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, which although is a wonderful institution with a great collection, was eclipsed by the Huyghe show itself, which could have been anywhere.

CJ: How do you stay organized? What tools do you use?

RG: I owe my organizational skills to being a product of the Montessori school system. I make lists for everything and then make lists for my lists. I often don’t follow these checklists and time schedules, but seeing what needs to get done, hand-written on paper, keeps these to-do items at the front of my mind. And they get done. This includes scheduling time for things like preparing and eating three proper meals a day, exercising, and doing things that are important to my personal life, like seeing live music and hosting dinner parties.

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

RG: Nothing is impossible, only some things are temporarily inconvenient.

CJ: Do you think the career advice to “Follow your passion” is effective?

RG: I think I’m much too young to be giving career advice, but this is something that today, I believe in full-heartedly. Ask me again in ten years.

Roxanne Goldberg Qs

CJ: Your work with Caged In: DC Painters Explore the Aesthetic Influences of John Cage was a labor of love. Not only did you source artists to provide original artwork, but you also created a 34-page catalog and ran a panel discussion with scholars and composers. What did you learn from this project? How has it influenced your future work?

RG: I recently went to the opening for a solo exhibition of an artist I exhibited at Caged In, Jeff Huntington—the same artist who introduced me to Roberta Pardo, co-curator of LEGAL. One of the works, a layered collage piece, was titled “Xenia/John,” a direct reference to John Cage and his early lover Xenia Andreyevna Kashevaroff, whose portrait was the subject of Jeff’s painting for Caged In. When I spoke with Jeff about the work, he said my assignment—to paint a work of specific dimensions while listening exclusively to a given set of John Cage’s music—was a catalyst to a new process and a new body of work, and that he still to this day sometimes listens to John Cage while working.

One of the most inspiring parts of the exhibition has been the aftermath. And thus, one of the greatest lessons of Caged In has been to always remain open and receptive and to allow past influences affect me in surprising, unexpected, and sometimes uncomfortable ways. On a more practical level, it has also taught me the importance and value of following-up and staying in touch with people from my past.

It is impossible to talk about Caged In without talking about the man himself, John Cage. Arguably the single most influential person in both visual art and music of the 20th century, John Cage continues to incite profound responses, more than twenty years after his death. This is the hypothesis I sought to test, and the results speak for themselves. Getting back to your question, yes, the exhibition was a labor of love. I spent the entire summer of 2013 reading John Cage’s books and listening to his music. I was abroad at the time, so the selection of artists was a bit more hands-off than I typically prefer, but miraculously, things melded together quite naturally and each of the artists I reached out to was very receptive to the idea of the project, which required each artist to not only produce an original artwork, but also to create an original piece of writing to be juxtaposed reproductions of their artworks in the catalog. The responses were overwhelming and quite surprising. Another lesson I learned is to encourage myself and others to think outside the box. I asked for painting and got photographs, charcoal drawings and glitter.

Caged In was the first occasion I organized and moderated a panel discussion. I actually really love public speaking—I always have—so I was excited to have this opportunity, but I was incredibly intimidated at the prospect of posing questions and creating an intellectual discourse with three people I admire so deeply for their brilliance and expertise. The rewards were enormous however, as I learned so much from that one-hour, and have since relished in opportunities to bring interesting individuals together for the sake of conversation and intellectual challenge (hence Sensorium: The Symposium on Dec. 4 and 5). I also learned to never be afraid to say, “I don’t know,” be genuinely curious about everything, and that a bit of professionalism goes a long way.

CJ: Who – from the past or present – inspires you?

RG: This is another difficult question. I’m continually inspired, not just by people, but also by objects, spaces, sensory experiences. If you hadn’t already asked the question about Caged In, I would say John Cage without hesitation. But I won’t bore you with more praises of Cage.

I am incredibly inspired by my intern supervisor at The Walters Art Museum, associate curator of Islamic and South Asian Art Dr. Amy Landau. Amy is one of the most brilliant and poised people I have ever met and her level of commitment to and care for her curatorial projects and scholarly pursuits is unparalleled. I feel so fortunate to have had such a thoughtful individual not only as a boss, but also as a mentor and a teacher. I am really quite devastated that as my time at GW is coming to an end, so too is my internship.

IMG_8236CJ: Would you agree with the thought that the “Art World” can be characterized as inaccessible? How would you respond to that type of critique?

RG: Sure, the “art world” can be inaccessible. But so can music or food, technology or finance, or any other field or subject for that matter.

CJ: What is your dream job?

RG: My major goal is to earn a Ph.D. in art history. I want to advance knowledge as an academic, and I aspire to be a curator at a major museum institution, where I will aim to create compelling exhibitions that contribute innovative approaches to the field, while also educating and enriching individual viewers and the larger community.

CJ: Who is your favorite artist?

RG: In terms of contemporary artists, I can never say I have a favorite because I am always learning about and being exposed to new individuals. At this moment however, I am very interested in Camille Henrot, a French artist whose exhibition Snake Grass (Schinkel Pavillion, Berlin) continues to haunt me; Susan Phillipz, Janet Cardiff, Angela Bulloch, and Fatima Al Qadiri are dizzyingly brilliant women working in sound; Anri Sala, Pipolotti Rist, Fang Lu, and Shirin Neshat all primarily work in video and are quite remarkable. Currently, I am deeply immersed in writing my honors thesis, which focuses on the artist collective Slavs and Tatars, and through my research, I’ve come to be highly interested in the socially engaged practices of Pedro Reyes, Francis Alÿs, Tino Seghal, and Pierre Huyghe. Other contemporary artists of current intrigue include: Alicja Kwade, Danh Vo, Double Fly Art Center, Olafur Eliasson, Afruz Amighi, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rachid Koraïchi, Faig Ahmed, and Hassan Hajjaj.

Going a bit further back in history, Franz Kline captured my heart long ago; I have a penchant for Dark Romanticism, particularly the works of Henry Füssli, Goya, Gauguin and Caspar David Friedrich; and though they often cannot be attributed to single artists, Islamic manuscripts are among the most captivating objects ever created.

CJ: Have you ever made art yourself?

RG: I make great two-dimensional boxes.

CJ: If you were to make art yourself, which medium would you use? (Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, installation, etc.)

RG: It would depend on the project! Probably something very intricate and detail oriented, like Jianzhi, which is the ancient art of Chinese paper cutting.

CJ: You’ve mentioned that you intend to earn a Ph.D. in art history. When would this happen and how would it benefit you? What would deter you from earning it?

RG: At this time, my focus is on honing my language skills before I commit to a Ph.D. program. Ideally, I would like to complete the Ph.D. before I am 30. If there were one word to describe me, it would be student. I love learning and there is nothing I can think of which could be more rewarding than fully dedicating myself to an academic study and contributing nuanced thought to a field about which I am highly zealous. I understand there are few things as arduous as writing a dissertation, however I crave that intellectual challenge and do not believe there is anything that would deter me.

CJ: What advice would you give to your 17-year-old self?

RG: Be confident, but be open and receptive to new influences and the possibility of change. Your beliefs and values are important, but they are not fixed. College is not a means to a job; it is a medium through which to gain a particular world perspective, one of an infinite number of lenses through which to see the world. This tinted perspective may challenge your previously held convictions, but this is good, this is a sign of growth.

Images: Courtesy of Roxanne Goldberg and Donna Ra’anan-Lerner

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

She’s the Director of Marketing for Minyawns, a fashion blogger, a visual stylist intern at Nordstrom, and a Carpe Juvenis contributor. Is there anything this girl can’t do?! Whitney Cain has impressed us since Day 1. She is currently student at the University of Washington while also being heavily involved in outside activities and businesses. She’s fun to be around, smart, and has loads of energy. Her love of fashion and photography is apparent in her blog, and she dresses to impress (no wonder Nordstrom snatched her up!). At just 20 years old, Whitney definitely knows how to seize her youth, and we can all learn a thing or two from her. Continue reading to learn more about this awesome go-getter…

Name: Whitney Cain
Age: 20
Education: B.A. in Marketing from the University of Washington, Minoring in Earth and Space Sciences (just for kicks)
Follow: Whits About Her

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I define seizing my youth as taking advantage of all opportunities presented and in the process, learning more about myself through the exploration of personal interests. In your youth, I think it is imperative to try everything and just go places because there will be no other time in our lives when we will be handed the freedom of youth and gifted the lack of responsibility.

You are majoring in Marketing at the University of Washington. What does this major involve and how did you determine what to study?

This major involves studying all the different forms of business (such as accounting, finance, management) while focusing primarily on the study of marketing. It is extremely difficult to be admitted into the Foster School of Business and I consider my admittance one of the proudest moments of my life. In addition to majoring in Business Marketing, I am also pursuing a minor in Earth and Space Sciences, just for kicks. I have also been interested in science and specifically geomorphology, so I thought what better chance to explore that interest while also getting to go on various field trips across our beautiful state. In one of my classes we actually drove out to Leavenworth, Washington and drove up this hill overlooking the city. It had one of the most beautiful views and is now one of my favorite spots to go if I ever find myself out East.

You have had multiple marketing and social media internships. What experiences have been your favorite, and what were the biggest takeaways from those experiences?

I have! It is really difficult at our young age to really know what we are interested in most or what we actually excel at. With this in mind, I thought I’d try a smattering of different internships to better figure out what I am actually intrigued by and what actually interests me. That’s the whole point of internships! My favorite has probably been my last internship with a social media marketing firm.

As ironic as this may sound, I personally dislike all forms of social media but for whatever reason, am really good at doing the social media for companies. To make it even more confusing, I like it. Not a clue why! This just goes to show that although I would’ve initially thought I wouldn’t be suited for social media marketing, it looks like I am. So try things people! For crying out loud I worked in the regulatory department of a chemical distributor for six months. I have ample reporting abilities and a ridiculous amount of acronyms to show for it!

You were the Vice President of Alumni Relations and Sponsorship at UW’s American Marketing Association. What have you learned from your experience with AMA?

The AMA has been one of the best organizations I have ever been part of. I feel like I say this a lot, and about a lot of things, but if you were to ask me if I thought joining a club was a good idea a couple of years ago, I would’ve said no. But then again, I didn’t really know what I was doing or what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. I joined the AMA this year thinking that it would be a great opportunity to network and meet a lot of professionals who could hopefully hook me up with a sweet job. I got that, and a whole lot more.

Being part of this club has opened an unbelievable amount of doors for me and really polished my professional persona. Not to mention holding a VP title as a student says a lot about your work ethic and get’s the conversation going. Being a VP has brought me internships, professional contacts, close friends, and even hooked me up with a start-up that wanted to hire me on as their director of marketing. Boom. Being a member of a club or organization in college gives you credibility that you can’t get anywhere else. If I were to recommend anything to anyone wanting to go into business, I’d tell them to join a club and to have fun with it. Big things can happen.

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You recently started a fashion blog called Whits About Her. Where does your love of fashion come from?

It’s funny but I don’t really know! I’ve always just been fascinated with fashion and everything to do with beauty and as a youngster I was constantly getting into my Mom’s makeup stash that I actually ruined half of it experimenting but that’s another story.. I started asking for magazines and fashion books for Christmas and started building up an encyclopedia of designers and fashion houses. From there I’ve just kept learning and reading and blog following! I was told repeatedly that I should start a fashion blog and I kinda thought, hey why not! I am a photographer on the side so I’ve acquired an eye for the kind of thing. It’s a great little hobby and a great excuse to go shopping (not that I’m condoning excessive spending, but, kinda).

You are the Director of Marketing for Minyawns. What is Minyawns and what responsibilities do you have as the Director of Marketing?

Well hey! This is that start-up I was talking about! Minyawns is an easy to use on-demand website for students to find work or help fast. It was created by a friend of mine, and UW engineering grad, Billy Sheng in August 2013. What originally started as an e-mail list has now blossomed into a full-blown business with over 215 companies and 500 Minyawns! As Director of Marketing, my responsibilities are building out both the business side and Minyawns directory (aka students). I’ve already revamped all social media outlets and manage all online communications!

The next step is to build out the PR end and create a marketing plan that can be replicated on other campuses as we expand. Being part of a start up has been a serious crash course in extreme time management and responsibility for me. I set my own hours, determine my own course of action, and set all goals for myself. It’s been a great experience and I’m still learning. It’s really cool to be tied to something that is gaining some serious traction, with some thanks to the work I’m putting in. I’m actually flying out to Fresno, where Minyawns is headquartered to set more long term goals! I’m going on a work trip… How weird does that sound for a 20 year old? At least I look 23 (I’m told).

This summer you are going to be a Visual Stylist for Nordstrom. How did you go about securing the internship, and what will it involve?

The world may never know! From my assessment, it was most likely a number of things and I will rate them in order of my perceived impact. Most importantly, I have done some visual merchandising work when I was at The Land of Nod so I was able to talk to the fact that I had been given and trusted with that sort of responsibility. A close runner up is the fact that I run a fashion blog, Whit’s About Her. If you’re a slave to your craft, you are willing to go the extra mile. I went that mile, and 34 feet.

Thirdly, a close work acquaintance, and personal mentor (whether she knows it or not), works at Nordstrom corporate and she sent over this incredible recommendation letter to the hiring manager. It really does pay to know people. You can totally quote me on that. As a creative human, I also tricked out my resume in Photoshop and dressed impeccably. Dress for your dream job. You can quote me on that too.  My internship will involve styling and designing all of the visual merchandising for the downtown Seattle Nordstrom. Its gunna be pretty sweet, I’m not gunna lie.

What are three traits that make a rockstar intern?

Resilience, energy, eccentricity. I’ll speak to that last one. I’m more of an introvert, but have found that when I pair my energy with a dash of my peculiar personality, I am memorable, mentionable, and typically liked (I mean this is the professional world, of course). If you’re willing to put yourself out there and be assertive as an intern, it shows management that you want and are excited to do more.

How do you balance being a college student with all of your jobs and activities? What are your time management tips?

Writing things down. I always have a lot going on in this head of mine so it is really easy to forget things. I’ve started journaling, list making and planning like a crazy person in order to keep track of everything. I am a purveyor of sticky notes and notebooks!

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What does a day in your life look like? How do you plan out your days?

I literally live the busiest life. I do a lot and I like to have a lot of fun. A typical day looks like class, emails, class, social planning for Minyawns, class, meetings, meetings, studying, go out. It’s mildly chaotic but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

When you are not interning, working, or going to school, how else do you like to enjoy your time?

I’m a runner. I enjoy nothing more than getting out and exploring the many trails and scenic routes Seattle has to offer. I’ve also recently gotten into hot yoga! I used to think yoga was for shmucks but I’m totally shmucking it now.

What would be your go-to summer internship outfit for when it’s burning up outside but air conditioned inside the office?

I am currently obsessed with (and stocking up on) track pants. Although the typical 9-5 uniform is constraining, tight, and highly uncomfortable, I beg to differ. Screw that. If I cant do activities in it, I’m not gunna wear it!  I recently just got a pair of silk track pants that feel incredible and also look incredible, the ideal combo. Pair them with flashy flats or heels if you’re feeling ambitious and a simple t-shirt. Easy, classy, and modern. Boom.

What motivates you?

It is often said those who have overcome adverse situations at a younger age are unbelievably motivated and successful in their latter years. I can totally attest to that. The recession was incredibly detrimental to my family and  as a result, we found ourselves homeless. Overcoming the financial obstacles has taught me many things but most importantly, the importance of higher education. My parents, neither of which attended college, vehemently urged me to pursue college as a way to secure a comfortable future for myself.

I knew that getting into college with a substantial scholarship would require substantial motivation and effort. Hard work really does pays off and I got into UW with 75% of my tuition covered. I am always looking for ways to improve myself as a person and have found that surrounding myself with remarkable individuals is one of the best ways to do so. One of my closest friends is one of the smartest people I know: pursuing a double major, being heavily recruited by the big four, and a former national spelling bee champ. She is also extremely sarcastic, caring, and straight up gorgeous. She’s remarkable and motivates me to every day.

For me motivation is entirely intrinsic and I am motivated every day to do whatever I can to improve the lives of others for this reason.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Care less about what others think. It’s taking me till just recently to realize that at the end of the day, the thoughts of others should not take precedence over my own. I wish I would’ve let my freak flag fly from day one! I’ve come to realize that when you start to think of your self as more of an individual, your eyes are opened to the world! I used be really skilled at origami but never told a soul for fear it would be considered dorky. What the heck Whit?! Who cares! Take a page from my book and fold away my friends, fold away.

Read Whitney’s work here.

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

When we think of the word ‘determination,’ one person’s face automatically pops into our minds: Kassa Martei Korley. A current student at Duke University, Kassa is also a National Master and FIDE Master in chess. What exactly blows our minds? Kassa became National Master at just 15-years-old. With intense focus, daily practice, and serious determination, Kassa committed himself to learning, understanding, and mastering chess – without the help of a coach. What’s more impressive is that he did this while also committing himself to being well-rounded by balancing chess with school, basketball, friends, family, and studying abroad in Denmark. Despite being incredibly busy working to fulfill his dreams, Kassa is thoughtful, kind, and generous, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you to our definition of ‘determined:’ Kassa Martei Korley.

Name: Kassa Martei Korley
Age: 20
Education: Duke University, Danish Institute for Study Abroad

How do you define seizing your youth?

I think it’s important to have certain passions and to pursue them. As crazy as that sounds, I think what happens – especially in the United States – is that we have a cycle of education starting when we are pretty young and sometimes it is tough to fully pursue what you want to do because you’re worried about the next step and the next stage. Stressing about getting into a good high school and then getting into a good college – it’s like “When do you stop and have time for yourself?” So I think seizing your youth would be about putting in the time to pursue things you really enjoy.

How did you figure out what your passions were?

When I was five years old, that was a big year for me because chess and basketball came together. I was introduced to both of those games when I was that age. I guess I could say that when I was young my dad would always push me to do what I wanted to do and not be afraid. I can distinctly remember on some weekends going with him and playing both chess and basketball with some older kids at the park. I was scared and tentative about doing anything but he forced me to go out there and play with kids who were older than me. Once I got over the initial hesitance, I found my passions.

You are also a talented athlete. Do the two converge and how so?

I could say that they’re pretty different and they converge only in a tiny way. I’m not going to say that basketball and chess were made for each other, and that being really good at chess helps me on the basketball court, because it doesn’t. I really enjoy both of them and I think that when you’re playing basketball, a lot of it is about being athletic. But I was always a point guard or shooting guard, and when you’re playing that position you have to think about what the defense is going to do and think a little bit ahead about how you will react to whatever you see in front of you.

Has basketball helped you at all with chess or vice versa?

I think working with basketball and seeing different patterns helps with the chess side. And on the flip side, when you’re playing chess and you’re playing really long games – they can last from 3-6 hours long – you do need to have that physical stamina at the board so that you’re not making silly mistakes in the last hour and a half of the game because you’ve been thinking and working at the board for that long.

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How do you deal with failure?

A lot of times – at least for me – I hate to lose so there’s a brief period where you question what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Sometimes I question why I’ve been playing this long. It’s a crazy thing to say because a body of work has nothing to do with just one game, but sometimes you go to that extreme. And then you pull yourself back and think, “What did I learn from this?”

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from competing?

My grandma would take me to most of my chess tournaments, and especially at the national tournaments she always had an emphasis on “win, lose, or draw, you always learn something.” It’s something I really took to heart because whenever you lose, or it’s not perfect, it’s all about analyzing what you did right or what you did wrong, and thinking about how you can become better.

Where do you see yourself after you graduate?

I’m excited to graduate because then I’ll have the chance to make the push towards becoming Grandmaster (GM). I feel like I need to set time aside for myself to pursue that dream and make it a reality. I have to do it. Some people find out much later in life what they’re trying to do – what their purpose is – but my purpose is to be a GM.

What does succeeding in chess mean to you?

I feel like I have a responsibility to “make it” so that I can come back to my community – I’m from Harlem – and show kids that they can do this and to show it’s possible. Because most people would say that my journey wouldn’t have even been possible, and I think achieving GM could build a lot of momentum for kids, especially African American kids, who perhaps didn’t think they had that opportunity. But they can look at my story and see a path to follow and say “Maybe I can become a GM.” It’s not even about me anymore, to be honest.

What was it like to become a National Master at the tender age of 15?

It’s interesting because it was a big achievement but it’s not like there aren’t some other national masters floating around the states – there are a decent amount. But for me it was the perspective of being the youngest black master ever. And more than anything it shed light on how underrepresented African Americans were in the game of chess. And since then it’s gotten a lot better. But to get back to your question, dealing with the success – I think because nothing ever came easy for me, there are certain circumstances for me that make my story unique. I’ve never had a coach, ever. I don’t think anyone else has gotten to my strength without having a coach.

That must have meant putting in even more time than you otherwise would have with a coach?

That’s right. I had a healthy obsession with chess where I really, really wanted to get better. So it was about “How do I get better?” It was a lot of playing in public parks, honing my skills. I couldn’t then and I still can’t travel to play chess the way I would like to. I started more locally, played and followed all the top games of the strongest players in the world. So I knew all of their games and styles really well and from there it was about looking at their games and seeing patterns and things I liked and then implementing them in my own game.

Although you’ve never had a coach yourself, you sometimes act as a coach for younger players. What would you say to younger people who want to pursue something in the same way you’ve pursued chess?

Chess is where I got my self-confidence, as crazy as that sounds. If you put in the time and do the work that nobody else is doing, then you’re going to become good at it even if you’re not initially good at it. It’s funny because I haven’t found other endeavors where I could truly say I’ve worked as hard at or have been as successful at. But that’s exactly it – if you are really interested in something and work hard at it, you can take it as far as you want to go.

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What advice would you give your 15-year old self?

I probably would have told myself that the journey is going to be more important than the destination. Because I’m still not anywhere near where I want to be with chess. It’s frustrating that I’m not a GM yet. When I was 13 I said “I’ll be a GM when I’m 15” and then when I was 15 I said “I’ll be a GM when I’m 20” and now I’m saying I’ll be a GM before I’m 25. And I’m confident that I will be able to become a GM, but still, nothing is guaranteed and sometimes things don’t work out the way you expect them to, and that’s an important perspective. So the journey will take a little bit of time, but you’ll get there.

What do you wish you had known before starting college?

I think I would have told myself to explore more and to try more things than I have. And I don’t mean to sound pessimistic at all, but I look back on the first two years and think that I probably haven’t done as much with my university’s resources afforded to me there. Anything I haven’t been able to do before college I should have tried to do while in college, simply because you’re in a space with a lot of resources and can explore that space.

What made you decide to study abroad?

I knew I was going to study abroad actually because I was intent on keeping my Danish citizenship, and I needed to stay here for a period of time to do that. So it meant I knew I was going to study specifically in Copenhagen.

What has been the main drawback and main takeaway from your experience in Denmark?

I’ve really enjoyed the time here, it has flown and I think it’s been the most fun I’ve had so far during my college career. You’re meeting a lot of different people from different universities, but you also get a little bit of international flavor. Also you step back and people seem like they are happier and more relaxed. I guess I’ve gotten a fresh perspective on life and I appreciate that. And I guess drawback… I think I would have liked to meet more Danish people by now, people I could call up and hangout with. I would definitely recommend studying abroad if you can afford to do it and if you have the chance to, you absolutely should. You lose perspective when you’re in college and a lot of things pass you by when you’re in that atmosphere, but you lose that global perspective that can be really valuable to you.

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

It’s one thing to watch TV and enjoy it. It’s another to watch TV, enjoy it, AND write awesome articles about the shows. Samantha Rullo does just that. She spins television shows and celebrity topics into articles that are spot-on and too much fun to read. Yes, her job requires her to watch television shows and write about them. So, how does one become an entertainment journalist and acquire cool internships like this? Read on to find out!

Name: Samantha Rullo
Education: B.A. in Journalism and Cinema Studies from New York University
Follow: Bustle | Twitter

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Samantha Rullo: I would define it as both taking advantage of youth in the sense of having fun and trying new things that you probably couldn’t experience later in life, but also taking steps to set yourself up so you can seize the rest of your life and have the foundation you need to be happy and successful.

CJ: What did you major in at New York University and how did you determine what to study?

SR: I’m double majoring in journalism and cinema studies. My freshman year I went to USC where I was a PR (Public Relations) major, and then I had some experience at a PR internship and I also had experience writing for USC’s online newspaper, and I really liked writing, so when I decided to transfer, NYU didn’t offer PR but they had journalism, I figured I would do journalism and I fell in love with it. I picked cinema because I want to do entertainment writing and I figured it was the best compliment.

CJ: Where have you interned and how did you go about securing those internships?

SR: I have had four internships. My first one was for a PR company based out of New York that I found through a USC alum who was my supervisor there. She had sent a posting to the USC journalism school’s career advisers and I was always looking for anything that was in New York and I applied and got it. I attained a lot of press research experience and skills that I still use.

By the time I applied for my next internships, I knew I wanted to do journalism and I started looking for a magazine internship because I like magazines and digital writing. I also really like weddings, so I interned at The Knot, which I believe that I found either through NYU or ed2010.com. That internship was half writing and half fashion so I did research and put together lists and did stuff for the website, as well as some fashion closet stuff which involved a lot of wedding dresses.

Once I knew I wanted to do entertainment, I applied to TV Without Pity, which is an NBC brand that does reviews, interviews and other news about TV and movies. I think I found that on ed2010.com, too. There I wrote a lot and did some social media. I also did some of their daily features and slideshows. I learned a lot and it was a really great experience.

For this summer, I found Bustle.com, which at the time didn’t even have a name, it was just listed as ‘journalism internship.’  I applied and said I wanted to do entertainment writing, and I sent them samples of my writing and an edit test. I had an interview with my now-supervisor, and I was able to start there in June and I stayed on in the fall because it’s been an amazing experience.

CJ: You are an Associate Entertainment Editor at Bustle.com. What is your writing process and how do you come up with story ideas?

SR: Since I’m in entertainment, a lot of it is pegged to entertainment news. For coming up with ideas, I go through Twitter, Tumblr, and I follow all of the media I read so I can see all of the headlines. If someone got engaged, I’ll do my own take on it, or if something in general is being talked about a lot, I will come up with my own story based on it. For example, when Breaking Bad was a trending topic, I came up with my own spin that no one else has covered. I wrote a piece called “How to Watch Both ‘Breaking Bad’ and the Emmys,” so I try to tie my stories with topics that are being talked about a lot.

Or, I come up with a story in my mind and hope something happens with a celebrity so I can write about it. My writing process has a pretty quick turnaround. I do at least three articles per shift, up to five sometimes. I find all of my media first, so if I’m including images, GIFS, or video, I’ll find those first and make sure those are pulled because that’s going to shape what I’m writing about. If I want to say something but I can’t find the GIF, I can’t write about it. I pull any media and sources confirming what I’m saying, and then I start with a lead and pull my unique angle together and then fill it in and edit and make sure it all works.

CJ: Where does your interest in entertainment journalism come from?

SR: I’ve wanted to work in the entertainment field for a while. I really like television and film, but I don’t necessarily want to make TV or film, and I realized journalism and writing was a good way to combine the two. I started doing TV reviews for my school’s newspaper and I got good feedback so I took it from there. When I got into my second major I got really into it, and it was a great way to combine my interests.

CJ: What advice do you have for youth who want to be entertainment writers? What can they do now to get a head start in journalism?

SR: Try to write as much as you can to start. It’s really important to have writing samples because if you don’t have samples for some internships, you can’t even apply. Published samples are really good, so get your writing out there – through your school newspaper or through your own blog or website, for example. For journalism, I would never let an opportunity pass because of school. I’ve had situations where I worried I couldn’t do as many internship hours while taking classes and homework, but I still ended up doing it and you figure it out along the way and your experiences with your internship are usually just as worthwhile as whatever class you were also taking, and you just might have to stay home some Saturdays to make up homework. At the end of the day, having internship experience on your resume is best.

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CJ: How did you balance interning and being a college student?

SR: Like I said, stay home sometimes. It’s tough sometimes. I try not to take too many hard classes at once. I try to have a mix of classes I really enjoy and classes that require a lot of reading and papers. I take a class that is more hands-on so I’ll have more free time. I had to stop doing a club at school because I couldn’t attend the meetings. Just prioritizing is important.

CJ: What three traits have helped you succeed as an intern?

SR: I try to be really friendly always. I try to have a friendly relationship with co-workers and my supervisor, so that they get to know me and get to know what I’m most interested in. Just being driven and offering to do something that other people don’t want to do and taking advantage of every possible opportunity. I try to be honest about things. If I need help with something, I’d rather ask for help and have the project turn out well than not ask and have it turn out bad.

CJ: Where did you study abroad? What was your big takeaway from studying abroad and do you think it was worth it?

SR: I didn’t have time for studying abroad since I transferred. I would have liked to if I had the chance. I would have liked to go to Italy, but hopefully I can go on my own, eventually.

CJ: What was the college transfer process like for you?

SR: It was like applying to college again so it was annoying. But I’m from the East Coast, so I just had to get readjusted and figure out NYU.

CJ: What activities were you involved in throughout high school? Were there any experiences that were most memorable or life changing?

SR: I wasn’t super involved in high school. If I had known I wanted to go into journalism I might have done more activities related to journalism. We didn’t really have a big school newspaper. My senior year we had to do a service project, so my friends and I helped kids with special needs and it was really memorable because it was rewarding and I’d never had the chance to be as involved with charity work before. I hope I do again because it was very rewarding.

In college I have been very involved with Washington Square News. I went to a meeting my first week at NYU, started as a writer and now I’m a senior editor. I wouldn’t have gotten internships if I didn’t have the writing samples that came from working on the newspaper.

CJ: What was your experience like going to college in New York City?

SR: Expensive. But I like it, and I wouldn’t have had any of the experiences I’ve had if I weren’t in New York. I’m so lucky, because if you’re in the middle of nowhere, what can you do? There are a lot of opportunities here. It’s also really fun just to be around everything and I have a chance to go to events and report on them and interview cool people, just stuff I could never do anywhere else.

CJ: What do you wish you had known before attending college?

SR: I wish I had known less because I feel like I went in with super crazy expectations. People will give you their own opinions and advice, and I would be thinking, “Oh, am I supposed to do this because that’s what they did?” I eventually became open to it and just made my own experiences, but freshman year I struggled with what I’m supposed to be doing and how I was supposed to handle things, so I wish I didn’t have any preconceptions and that I just went into college not knowing what to expect.

CJ: Who is your role model?

SR: I’ve worked with a lot of women who have been great role models and I’ve always had someone I could talk to and whose career path I’ve really admired. They still love what they do and I hope I’m like that when I’m older. I also really like Tina Fey and Giuliana Rancic, especially the journalism side and she uses it to be a breast cancer advocate. I’m reading Lean In right now, so currently Sheryl Sandberg is a big role model.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

SR: I do wish I had known I was going to get into journalism. I do it more now, but I would tell myself to not be afraid to try new things, such as a broadcasting class. At 15,  I was too afraid of what people thought to step out of my comfort zone, so I would say to not be afraid and try new things.

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