By Sophia Harris
Why did you choose to come to Framingham State?
Framingham State was the only school I applied to in Massachusetts. And I figured, my dad went to Framingham State and I grew up listening to his stories about WDJM and it seemed to be a story in my head - kind of a tall tale. He told me all these quirky little funny stories about being on WDJM and living in the dorms, having roommates, and going to parties. And I figured, if he could find his people at Framingham State and make something out of it, then so could I, and that's why I ended up coming here. And I'm really glad I did.
Why did you decide to study political science and journalism?
I originally didn't want to study journalism. I never planned to study journalism. I ended up meeting Desmond McCarthy and I met the people at The Gatepost. I love writing a lot. I was the literary and art magazine editor in high school, and writing has always been a big passion of mine. I remember writing a play when I was in third grade and I still have a print copy of it. So when I met Desmond and I met people on The Gatepost, I got passionate about The Gatepost and I figured, maybe writing could be a little bit more centered in my life and centered in my career. Political science and journalism ended up being a very good mix because you learn a lot about public meetings and the different political structures in journalism. In political science, you also learn a lot about journalism - you learn about New York Times v. Sullivan and the actual malice standard. They're very connected in that way. I decided to study political science because I'm incredibly passionate about education policy and mental health policy. I always really wanted to get involved with the systemic issues involving education policy, particularly where our education lacks in teaching mental health literacy, or mental health.
What internships have you undertaken during your time at Framingham State?
The first internship that I did as a junior was the civic engagement internship. I worked with Professor David Smailes and Dean Susan Dargan for that, and I helped do research for the Civic Engagement Center and learned a little bit about what other state universities do in their Civic Engagement Centers. I helped them realize that Framingham State should do a civic engagement minor because that is what other universities are doing at their civic engagement centers. I also worked with the Mental Health Collaborative, which is a nonprofit that works with different businesses and schools to help them teach about mental health and how to conduct mental health training - it’s called mental health literacy training. I reached out to different legislators because they offer this training but they also wanted me to say this is something you should be promoting - maybe this is something that you should be mandating in your state. So I reached out not just to Massachusetts legislators, but also to legislators across the country. I also did social media for MHC. I came here because I'm really interested in mental health policy and in getting people to learn how to treat people with mental illnesses. I also did an internship at the State House last spring. I did communications work. I wrote press releases. I did some social media. My big project was to work on H.1146 - an act providing access to full-spectrum addiction treatment services. I wrote testimony and I did bill research. I provided research briefings. I was working in Adam Scanlon's office - he's an alumnus of FSU. He’s such a down-to-earth guy, who I could tell really cares so much about his district. That internship really helped me see how impactful work at the state level and legislation at the state level can be and how incredibly hard state legislators and their staffers work every single day. And it made me realize that representatives care so incredibly much about their constituents, and it just made me realize that I can make an impact at that same level and that I do want to work in that field.
Any final thoughts?
I want to thank my friends at The Gatepost who have supported me so much throughout my career here. I didn't originally intend on joining the newspaper, and I say that all the time. But it has turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences I have had the privilege of having. I've had the privilege to mentor people and see those people grow into such independent and talented people. It's very rewarding and it's very amazing to see the work that we put out every week. I can't believe that I had the honor to be so many people's Editor-in-Chief. I just have so many people that I can call my friends forever because of Framingham State. I also want to thank my incredible advisor David Smailes - thank you so much for allowing me to come into your office whenever I wanted and mentoring me to be the great thinker that I am today. And of course - thank you to Giuliano Espino - he actually just finished his Ph.D. yesterday and I can't wait to see the great work that he does in the years to come.