- Maeberry Vintage collaborates with local artists through Instagram
- Two Salt Lake City artists comtemplate expansion
- anne b designs creates employment for Utah refugees and immigrants
MY BLOG: My last undergraduate semester has been a rollercoaster of self-discovery. As an International Studies major, I wanted to challenge myself by taking classes outside of my field of study. Voices of Utah was one of those classes.
Lacking any previous journalism or reporting experience, I admit I was intimidated at first. But, I had a passion for photography and story telling that I wanted to explore and skills I wanted to improve.
I quickly discovered my love for service journalism and feature writing. Above all, I want to educate my readers. I want them to know they are powerful, and I want to help them find resources they can use to harness that power.
I initially wanted to cover a beat more related to my field of interest, global health, so I was uneasy about delving into the world of small business. I was surprised at how many connections I was able to make between the two.
Sarah Burroughs was one of the first individuals I found in my search for story ideas. I found her on Instagram, where I was already following her through my own photography account. Before this class, I didn’t even realize the immensity of the small-business community in Utah, and how connected I already was with that community.
After visiting her website to do some initial background research, I discovered a unique aspect of her designer bag-making business: Her only seamstress employees were refugees. Already involved with the refugee community myself, I was excited at the possibility of making a connection with my small-business beat.
I wanted to write a piece that might help other small-business owners interested in employing refugees. Perhaps learning from Burroughs’s situation and being exposed to the resources available would inspire other entrepreneurs to take this step. As I learned more about Burroughs and her experiences, it was difficult for me to stay objective in my writing. I wanted this to be a positive piece, but I learned that employing refugees has its fair share of tribulations.
Additionally, I learned how difficult it is to interview some non-native English speakers. Even though Maroufa (Burroughs’s employee) and I were able to have a conversation, it was hard for me to pick out any usable quotes for the story. Clearly, in order to be objective, this piece needed to include the diverse stories and points of view of all parties involved, not only the native English speakers. I greatly underestimated how difficult this would be.
I know I still have so much to learn. The obstacles and ethical dilemmas I faced in this class are only a taste of what I’ll experience in my lifelong journey. I hope that I will continue to push myself outside my comfort zone, strive for excellence, seize opportunities and take risks. I don’t know what the rest of my life has in store for me, but I know the storytelling skills I gained from these experiences will stay with me wherever I go.
ABOUT ME: I am a 20-year-old graduate of the University of Utah, class of 2015, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies, emphasis in Global Health, and a Spanish minor. Delving into the pre-med track as a college freshman, I quickly discovered medicine wasn’t for me. Rather, preventative care and public health captured my imagination and I’ve been hooked ever since. I seek to understand the world around me. Through that understanding, I want to share what I see and experience with others. Communication is key in just about everything I do.
Being a good listener is extremely important in public health, whether you’re trying to discover the root cause of a disease or simply trying to hear someone’s story. But being a good communicator is equally important, as it’s our job to share these stories and scientific findings in order to affect policy and improve our communities. I love being able to connect my passions with one another. With my photography business, Skye High Photography (soon to be rebranded as megan skye photography), I have consistently worked on improving my storytelling skills. This has included sharing the peculiarities of the lives in my community, and those I visit, with others around the world. I’m constantly thirsty for education. I love to learn about diverse topics, including visual art, and challenge myself to burst through my comfort zone.
I have enjoyed serving the global community through several campus organizations and nonprofits during my undergraduate career. A small part of this has included traveling to Peru twice with Youthlinc, supervising Real Life, an after-school program for teenage refugees and immigrants, and serving in the Nkoile community of Kenya for three weeks.