University of Minnesota

Journalism Student Profile

Name: Emily Mongan
Graduation Year:
Hometown: Milwaulkee, WI
Major: Journalism - Professional Journalism

Samantha Alisankus

How and why did you choose your major?

I've always known that I really enjoyed writing, and the closer I got to applying to college the more I knew I wanted to make a career out of it. I decided on journalism because it sounded exciting, and I would be able to go to make a living doing something I loved. I entered the U in 2011 as a pre-journalism major, and the rest is history!

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

To me, journalism is all about storytelling. A journalist's job is to figure out what stories need telling, gathering information about them, and then telling them in a way that makes sense and is engaging to the public.
My favorite class that I've taken since being admitted to the SJMC is probably one I'm in right now, magazine writing. My main career goal is to one day write and edit for a magazine, so getting to apply the news writing skills I've learned in previous classes and learn about something I hope to do for the rest of my professional life is really exciting!
The main challenge I've faced so far, and I think a lot of journalism majors face as well, is getting out of my comfort zone when I report. Interviewing people is a necessary part of the professional journalism track, and it takes a while to get used to. I'm still getting the hang of it, but I'm learning that confidence and politeness can get you very far when interviewing or asking for information.

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

In my three years at the U I've been really fortunate to have a ton of great opportunities to work in and connect with the local journalism industry. I wrote for the Minnesota Daily during my freshman and sophomore years, and I'm so thankful for that experience because it taught me a lot through experience. This past summer I had an internship with Minnesota Parent Magazine, and last semester I wrote for the Pioneer Press through SJMC's practicum courses (it's one part internship, one part class, 100% awesome). I'm also a part of the Society of Professional Journalists, and have attended some of their networking events - one even helped me connect with Minnesota Premier Publications, the company I would later intern for! This summer I'll be traveling to London to study abroad and complete an internship.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

One piece of advice I would give to a student interested in journalism is to get involved! You'll learn a lot in your classes, but nothing beats the experience of being in the field. Whether it be through an internship, the Daily, or a club, getting involved will not only help your resume, but you'll meet some really great people as well!

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