How did you choose to study Journalism?
I wanted to be a journalist since day one, never wanted to do anything else. People, places and ideas fascinate me. I am curious about the world: how people think, why they think the way they do and meeting people where they are. Journalism has always been important and is even more important today.
I am always excited to see what other people are excited about. I want to tell stories: document people’s lives and tell stories that will illustrate what it is like living in this time.
What skills will you take away from Grady?
Before Grady, I did not know how to shoot on manual. I never had a story published or studied aboard. I learned all the fundamentals in class, but outside of class is when I put all my tools in my toolbox in practice. I shoot, edit and write all on my own, and it’s all because of Grady College.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor or instructor?
The difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary person is the extra. Be intentional in everything you do and are.
What is your favorite quote and why?
I would not be the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication if it was not for my parents. My mom always told us, my four siblings and I, “Siempre hagas lo mejor que puedas y dios se encarga de todo lo de mas,” which means, “Always do your best and God will take care of the rest.” She says, it is sad to know that you can do something, but you don’t. Similarly, my dad says, “Hazlo que queries ahacer, pero hazlo,” which means, “Do what you want to do, but do it.” He has told us to never wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today. I always think about the sacrifices my parents have made for my siblings and I to be brought up in the United States. To be able to speak English, attend the best college in the country and live a life I do not deserve, I can never thank them enough.
Who is your professional hero?
Hasan Minhaj—not a journalist, but super close to being one—is my hero. The amount of research he does for the jokes he presents is impressive. Minhaj is a comedian and has won two of our very own Peabody Awards. He is super authentic and funny. The ability he has to get people to listen is the kind of skill student journalist and professionals, I think, strive to receive. The voice he gives for Muslims and minorities is the same voice I want to give to Latinos and minorities. Check out Hasan Minhaj’s remarks at the 2017 White House Correspondent’s Dinnerif you want to see what I am talking about.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
India, without even giving it a second thought. I am in love with the people, culture and, yes, the food! In fact, I have thought about going vegetarian multiple times now. On top of that, most of my diet is now vegetarian or, at least, it’s more plant-based than it has been in the past. I have also participated in religious celebrations, like Holi (Festival of Colors) and Diwali (Festival of Lights). I have even created a video for Holi as a Grady class assignment for Professor Shumway’s advanced video journalism class. I love everything Bollywood: the music and movies. Cricket is not that bad either. I have been learning the language for the past year now, and I am most excited about being able to speak Hindi to native speakers one day.
Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
For other installments in the #GradyGrit series, visit the #GradyGrit page.