Morgan Parent

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

I developed the idea of writing a story about the Red Door by combining my interest in writing with my familiarity with the location. Surprisingly, there is not much coverage on the Red Door in Salt Lake City publications. Even when speaking with friends, few of them have ever heard of the place. This often means I get the honor of taking them for the first time, but more people need to know about the great drinks and the bar deserves more business!

I found my sources by going directly to the source. The owner was on board with the idea of having me write the story and kindly answered all of my questions. The manager has been working there just a year short of how long the bar has been open and was also glad to talk about her experience. My third source is a regular of the bar who would be able to provide a customer’s view of the location.

The main obstacle to writing this story was figuring out when the owner and manager would be working so I’d be able to talk to them. The other bartenders are lovely, but I had my heart set on those two specifically.

I wanted to write a story about the Red Door from the beginning to now, touching on aspects of the location, clientele, and drinks. After getting my quotes, I like to copy and paste them into a separate document in the approximate place where they’ll make sense in the story, then start writing real sentences from there.

Unfortunately, not everything made the final cut. There was not a natural place to include that the monkey in the corner was designed and built by Mark Hofling, who has worked designing movie sets and happened to be a friend of a friend of the owner. Before the Red Door took over the space it occupies, a copy and print shop called Quick and Reilly’s stood in its place. Also left out were a couple mentions of Utah’s unique liquor laws and the working atmosphere between employees. Surprise — they get along really well, just like a true work family should.

All in all, I like spending time at the Red Door for a drink or two. The drinks are amazing and the owner is one of the most interesting people I know. Finding a way to potentially send a few more customers through the door with a school assignment was the best blend of different parts of my life I could come up with.

ABOUT ME:
Parent_1610_BioPhoto

Messy hair and late nights – these signature traits are near constants in this young professional’s life.

A stroke of luck and dash of hard work provided Morgan the opportunity to get a taste for working in the music industry on a local and national scale. Her experience includes positions at Kilby Court, K-UTE Radio, and Universal Music Group.

When she isn’t listening to music or at a concert, she can be found writing, drawing, or taking photographs – doing something creative!

Morgan has had works published in her high school’s literary magazine, K-UTE Radio’s blog, and Pinstriped Zine. Ideally, this list will continue to grow as the years pass by.

Morgan completed her Bachelor of Science in Communication at the University of Utah in 2019. From there, she plans on relocating to the Pacific Northwest to pursue a career in marketing that will hopefully bring her back to the music industry.

Quincy Wansel

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

My Enterprise story idea actually came as a surprise. I was not aware of the situation, and neither was anyone else — including my sources. I first went up to Miller Cafe in Lassonde Studios to interview former Chef Mark Jacson about how the menus are chosen there and he revealed the issue to me. Because I am a Black woman and advocate for Black issues, this topic sounded like a no-brainer to me. I also spoke with Chef Francine Kahindo.

Next, I thought to talk to the staff in the Dining Services. I ended up only briefly talking to Jamie Denker, the director of marketing and guest experience. I tried to talk to Mark Morrison, the director of Resident Dining, but he declined an interview and referred me back to Denker. I attempted to reach out to Andrew Fuchs, director of Union Food Operations, but he never got back to me.

From there, I decided to talk to the Black organizations on campus. I went to the Black Cultural Center and spoke with Meligha Garfield and Jatara Smith who then referred me to Cha McNeil, a social justice advocate at the Office of Equity and Diversity. They also advised that I seek out an advocate to help me with talking to the Dining Services on campus, preferably Tawanda Owens. I was able to meet with Owens, who worked with me on my story. 

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I encountered so many issues. First, people failed to get back to me while I was on deadline. Second, Denker did not give me any useful information for my article. Last, the information that I acquired from Jacson that birthed my story was not entirely true. With the help of my sources and an extension from my professor, I was able to obtain the true information and change the outline of my story for the better. 

My focus was handed to me when Jacson told me about the issue. I knew right then and there that I had to write a story about why Soul food was not being served anymore at Miller Cafe. Bits and pieces of my story were missing until I talked to Cha McNeil who flipped the script. She gave me all the information I needed to write a story, which ended up being more about what Soul food is and cultural awareness for the chefs instead of a potential aggressor renouncing Black History Month and Soul food and getting away with it. 

The writing process of this story was difficult, seeing as though I ran into multiple obstacles during the stage of gathering information. I learned that it can sometimes feel like the world is trying to stop you from writing whatever story you are on. Things will come up, people will cancel on you, mislead you, and ignore your calls for help. Regardless of what happens, though, I learned that you must power through — or the show must go on, as people say. You have to find a way to complete your story, even if that means going off the original path to make it flow and make sense. 

There is no more information that did not make it in my story — that I know about. I wish I would have been able to contact Chef Jacson again after all of the information was presented to me. I would have liked to see what he thought of the whole thing, and to have him involved in the 2020 Black History Month celebration at the U. I wish I would have been able to meet and talk with the students who filed the original complaint on the chicken and waffles fiasco. I think it would have been very interesting to see the faces of the students and hear what they felt when they saw the food. 

It did and did not surprise me that Black students were the ones who complained about the food. With the timing of the blatant racism on campus, I was thinking that a racist student had complained instead. But, I was relieved to hear that it was Black students who posed the question of cultural awareness. There was no ill intent behind the truth of the story, and that was more satisfying to me than my original idea being completely true. 

I am proud of my story, even though it did not turn out how I expected it to at all. But, I am very excited to see the impact that my story makes for the U, and hopefully shine a light on other issues hiding in the dark.

ABOUT ME:

I am a full-time student currently at the University of Utah, and in spring 2020 will continue my academic career at Rutgers University-Camden until graduation. I am a poet, mentor, and future journalist. I aspire to use my platform to spread awareness for various issues regarding race, gender, and class, inspire people of all ages, and mentor the younger generations. Some of my hobbies include working with young poets, writing various forms of poetry, movie plots, and lyrics, cooking and creating new recipes, reading magazines and books, and analyzing films. 

LGBTQ+U: The community at the University of Utah

Story and photos by ANDREW LURAS

Salt Lake City is known as being one of the most Mormon cities in America. And to counter the common knowledge of that, it’s also known as one of the “gayest” cities, which many people find hard to believe.

With it being known as this type of city, many different students from out of state are probably wondering how the University of Utah may reflect those values.

The conversation of the LGBTQ+ has always been around, but it’s become such a widespread debate through politicians, news, and just everyday conversation. This community is constantly fighting for its well-deserved rights in this country, as well as the freedom to walk around safely without the lingering fear of running into the many hateful people who reside within America. 

LGBTQ+ students are seeking out which colleges and universities to attend based on many differing factors such as how accepting toward them will their future campus be. With the U, at new student orientation, the staff will kindly ask you to state your name, without it even having to be your birth name, and your pronouns, such as he/him, she/her, they/them, etc.

The LGBT Resource Center is located on the fourth floor in room 409 inside the U’s A. Ray Olpin Union building. The center was founded in 2002 by Stayner Landward and Kay Harward, both retired and moved on. This was during a time when the Mormon church was “anti-gay” with many of its teachings and practices showing some distaste toward gay marriage, according to Whit Hollis, the director of the Student Union. It started out as just an LGBT student organization with weekly meetings garnering a range of 80 to 250 students. 

Hollis attended a few of these meetings. “There was a clear need for services for that group of students, faculty, and staff of course due to the sheer size of the student organization,” Hollis said. When creating the resource center, Landward and Harward found support from the student body and administration at the U but it wasn’t always like that. 

Proposition 8, also known as Prop 8, came about during 2008. It was a ballot proposition against same-sex marriage. During this time the LGBTQ+ found themselves being targeted for hate-speech and microaggressions. “They would tell us, ‘Why do you need more rights, you already have equal rights,’ which was bullshit,” Hollis said. 

“Things have definitely been better recently. There’s still these microaggressions going around but the U has improved since the resource center first started,” Hollis said. He commented on the many different locations the resource center has occupied as it’s grown. “There was a point where I had to convert a storage closet to be the center’s main room which was ironic for the gay director to put all the gays in the closet,” Hollis said as he laughed at the idea. 

“Right now it seems to be quite successful, but we all can strive to do better, no matter where we are,” Hollis said. “The U isn’t as safe as it needs to be and that we must always strive to make the U a safe campus for all students, faculty, and staff who attend or work here.”

As of February 2019, the resource center’s director is Clare Lemke, the former assistant director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success at Iowa State University. “I was looking for my next step and Utah wasn’t on my radar,” she said. “I’ve been looking for different opportunities in the West and this job came up.” Lemke had been moving in order to try to find something closer to her partner’s career. When this job opportunity appeared, she became surprised by the vibrancy of diversity in the U’s campus with the many queer and transgender people she has been able to meet on campus. 

Originally, she thought she was studying to become a professor but over time she found that working in a resource center felt more “collaborative” than being a traditional educator. Currently at the resource center there are three full time staff members and two student staff members. “All of our staff here bring a wealth of different backgrounds and personalities. It’s refreshing to see for the students who visit the center,” Lemke said. 

When it comes to the changes the U has gone through in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance, Lemke feels as if the U “isn’t just a place you go to and leave at 5 p.m. anymore.”

Lemke finds that the U is very different from her previous institution. “I don’t think I’ve been anywhere with so much of its influence being made by the different cultures within the U.” She added, “We’re constantly striving to make the U a safe space for queer and trans students, we just want to make sure we don’t let these negative experiences an LGBTQ+ student might have affect the rest of their life here.”

One student in particular, who asked to be identified as “G,” said she had some pretty odd experiences at the U as an LGBTQ+ member. “I’m a business major and a lot of the students in those buildings in particular are pretty discriminatory towards my sexuality.”

G also said her Mormon peers have invited her to church. “They would be overly friendly at first,” she said, but she felt like they were only inviting her to change her sexual orientation.

G doesn’t know how accepting the rest of campus is, but that experience left her with much anxiety. She found it harder to reach out to many of her peers or professors about this issue but she found solace in the many other friends outside of school who were LGBTQ+ accepting. G used to go to Westminster College and she felt the transition from there to the U was “an odd experience.” G said there is room for improvement at the U and we should be looking for ways to help students have an overall great campus life.

“I’ve been to the resource center a few times,” G said. “Clare [Lemke] and the staff at the center are very helpful, though I had trouble finding it at first. If you are a part of the LGBTQ+ you should definitely check out the resource center, they’re a really great group of people, especially if you had an experience on campus like mine.”  Even with G’s experience at the U, she has decided to stay and not let it affect her pursuit of a business degree. This is just one in the many cases of what it’s like to be a student at the U who is a part of the LGBTQ+. 

As much as Salt Lake City has this good image on being an open and welcoming city to the LGBTQ+, students, faculty, and staff at the U are always working on improving upon the areas they may be lacking in. Whit Hollis believes we need to focus more on the safety of our LGBTQ+ members. And Lemke knows we must prioritize these students because the negative experiences they might have on campus may affect their education here. As Hollis, Lemke, and G have agreed on, the U should always be striving to do better in order to figure out the best way to serve its students so they can have an educational, safe, and happy experience here on campus. 

 

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Randall Whitmore

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

I developed my story idea because I was in a moderately severe electric scooter accident in the past. The injuries I sustained were due to the newly modified electric brakes which improperly engaged, causing the scooter to suddenly stop. The front wheel of the scooter locked up and sent me flying face first over the handlebars. A couple months later my roommate, Elan Maj, also fell on a scooter and that’s when I became very skeptical of the electric scooters and their safety.

I started to notice the lack of maintenance to the electric scooters as many of them around the city and campus have flat tires or missing components. I have also seen a number of students fall off the scooters on campus grounds and I figured this may be a larger issue. 

Locating my sources was fairly easy. I reached out on Instagram and received a lot of input from friends and family who have either crashed an electric scooter or knew someone who has. After talking to both nurses and injured riders, I decided to reach out to the University of Utah Department of Public Safety to see if this was a large issue on campus.

I went to the Public Safety office and spoke with the woman at the front desk to put me in touch with Officer Ryan Speers. The employees at Public Safety were extremely helpful and gave me a lot of great information. This was probably my best resource in regards to information pertaining to scooter accidents on campus because it included actual figures and evidence.

Initially I thought the story would consist of sources and information providing only negative feedback around electric scooters. With that said, Public Safety provided a lot of positive feedback around the scooters. This really helped my enterprise story by giving me opposing viewpoints which helped me to remain more objective. 

I encountered a couple obstacles while trying to locate my sources. It was very difficult to get in touch with Speers due to his busy schedule. I also learned a very valuable lesson regarding note taking after receiving great information from another source within Public Safety. Since I did not think I was conducting an interview, I did not collect her information nor did I record any of the information that she provided. This would have been an issue if I was unable to conduct an interview with Speers. 

The hardest part of the writing process for this piece was deciding how to organize the sections and interviews in my story. I wanted the story to be structured properly in order to keep a linear direction so it was easier to follow. Remaining objective and keeping my experiences and viewpoints out of the story was also difficult.

I was most surprised with the amount of advocates for electric scooters both on and off campus. I was shocked there have not been any reported scooter accidents on campus since they were activated in 2018. The interview took a very interesting turn due to the fact that most of my questions were positioned as if the scooters were an issue on campus. I had to think quickly to come up with new questions to take advantage of the interview with the Speers.

ABOUT ME:

Busy is my standard!

I moved to Salt Lake City in 2017 with a car full of clothes and a couple hundred dollars. I was unemployed for five months as snowboarding was my only priority. The fun halted when $97 was all that remained in my bank account. I was poor and I did not have a job nor did I have any connections outside of my fellow ski bums. My back was against the wall and I was forced to make drastic changes in order to survive.

I began working odd jobs until I found a sales position at a local tech startup company, PillPack Pharmacy. After months of excelling in a sales position, I progressed to become the corporate sales trainer. As the first sales trainer, I created and optimized the sales training program to help the company grow to 300 times larger in just over a year. 

After taking three years off of school, I realized how much I needed to finish my college degree. PillPack Pharmacy eventually sold to Amazon and I decided it was the perfect time to finish my collegiate career. I began attending classes at the University of Utah in the fall of 2018 and will be graduating in the fall of 2020.

I am a third-generation business owner and I truly enjoy the art of arbitrage. I have been buying and selling antiques, clothes, and cars for most of my adult life in order to pay for the unbearable cost of tuition.

Being an entrepreneur and a college student is extremely tough because school often keeps me from embarking on my dreams as a creator and business owner. All of my extracurricular profits help to pay for school and my living expenses; however, I find it hard to strive when the confines of the educational system keep me tethered financially.

As a 25-year-old senior I see the value in education but not at the cost of financial freedom. My eldest sister graduated from college in the fall of 2008 with nearly $60,000 in student loans. I witnessed her as she embarked on her professional journey during the midst of the recession. Debt became such a burden and I promised myself I would not make the same mistake. My plan is to finish school without accruing debt along the way.

As a communication student and journalist, I want to help other students to be their own part-time boss in order to create their own financial freedom. With my experiences, I truly feel like I can help students by making sound financial decisions and embracing the part-time hustle. I also want to help students to understand money as they enter the adult stages of their lives. I am fascinated by the global and local economy and I would love to report to students how they can leverage their money to make multiple sources of income. I would also like to share the importance of credit, loans, savings, and other financial nuances. I want to fix the way students look at money by providing entertaining and educational messages that are useful for a broad audience.

Isa Alcaraz

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

This story developed from a hobby that I recently picked up: skiing.

I met somebody in 2018 who is very passionate about skiing, and he told me I should give it a try, so I did. I instantly loved it. This story idea developed as I was making goals and thinking about this upcoming ski season. I thought it would be interesting to focus on a ski resort, and learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of it and culture that has come out of it. My story had two main focuses: Brighton Ski Resort’s preparation for the ski season, and ski culture in Utah. I tried to connect these two ideas because I didn’t want the whole story to be focused on just one part of it. The skeleton of this story is Brighton’s preparations, and the heart is the ski culture.

When it comes to writing, I like to write as much as I can to begin with. I like to trust my gut at first, and write in the style that I keep hearing the story being told in my head. Usually that ends up being a big pile of words and random sentences, but that’s when the revising comes in.

Through this project I’ve come to make peace with revising. It’s now something I can get lost in and find myself doing for hours, which I’ve never really done before. I always thought that what I first said was good enough. I still believe in “spilling your heart” in writing, or free-writing as much as you can, but polishing is good and necessary. You always want your message to be clear.  

My sources came from people I thought would give me good insight into the different aspects of what skiing is in Utah, at different levels. The biggest obstacle I faced was scheduling time with my sources. When I think about it now, it’s actually very reflective of my experience learning how to ski for the first time. At times I felt frustrated because I thought it would be much simpler than it was. I wanted to scrap the whole thing and find something else to do. However, in writing and in skiing, persistence is key. Even if you lose your balance, you’ve got to just get back up, because it’s the only way to get down the mountain.

ABOUT ME:

biopictureI am a communication major with an emphasis in strategic communication at the University of Utah. I grew up with a love for the performing arts, film, and photography. I also enjoy writing, and took COMM 1610: Intro to News Writing to gain a different kind of writing experience. After graduation I hope to travel to new places and work in a communications field, either marketing or public relations. I plan to graduate Spring 2021.

Utah musicians discuss struggles for work and appreciation from residents

Story and illustrations by NATALIE ZULLO

Upon graduating from college, professional musicians look toward their careers with hope. But outside of the campus, they worry about their careers due to the lack of professional opportunities available.

Hallie Mosteller, a violin teacher in the Sandy, Utah, area and member of the Orchestra at Temple Square said, “I maybe thought I would have a little more option. But I have found that I’ve had a lot of opportunities that I never thought I would have, like the Orchestra at Temple Square.”

Joanne Andrus, owner of Andrus Music, agrees that there are a lot of opportunities in Utah for music. She said, “I think the thing that’s great about living in Utah is that that there are a lot of avenues, a lot of venues, that you can use to make money.”

But opportunities to share music on the professional level do not come to everyone. “I think if you have a talent level, there is a lot of work out there,” Andrus added. “But you have to be the best of the best to have those kinds of opportunities.”

Those musicians who are not “the best of the best” worry about their financial future.

In a previous interview, Kasia Sokol-Borup, assistant violin professor and director of the String Preparatory Division of the University of Utah’s School of Music, said, “When people think that what we do is just this constant inspired magical moment, they feel that we should feel lucky when we’re asked to do that in front of other people.”

Mosteller, violinist in the Orchestra at Temple Square, said she gets asked to do a lot of performances for free. “Especially in Utah, you get asked to do a lot of church things like performing in church. It definitely takes a lot of work to be able to make a living performing. It’s tough. I’m a little worried about it.”

To help make ends meet, many musicians have turned to teaching children and owning their own studios. But they fear that their rates are an issue for parents.

“I do feel like music is highly valued and the arts are very import to our culture,” Andrus said. “But I do feel like people don’t like to spend a ton of money.” Andrus charges $25 per private lesson but has had experiences with parents who refuse to pay her rates.

Mosteller, who is both performing and teaching, said she worries about her future as a teacher. “I feel like you hit a brick wall teaching. I probably would need to get another job.”

Sarah Affleck, Utah mother of six, feels differently about the rates musicians offer. She said in reference to hiring private music instructors for her children, “Price was never an issue for us because we were happy to invest in that for our children. I would pay their prices because I know how genius they are.” No matter how high the price of the musician, Affleck said she feels that music is a long-term investment for her children. It is a skill that can be taken with them throughout their lives no matter their age.

Affleck’s children have been privately taught piano, guitar, voice, cello and composition from instructors around the Salt Lake Valley. When asked if Affleck hired an instructor based on a music degree and skill, she replied, “Their background in music education was less important to me. What was important to me with the instructor was how well they interacted with children. That was probably the number one over degrees or skill.”

Mosteller has felt in her performing career that her degree is not as important to employers as her skill and experience. She said, “I feel like experience is definitely more valued, like with the Orchestra at Temple Square.”

Musicians tend to take up other musical careers to help with finances giving private lessons, including teaching the arts in school orchestras, choirs and bands. But musicians are seeing the loss of music in the education system.

Sokol-Borup said, “I think the fact that people ask for so much music and [desire] it shows that music actually is a basic human need, which when you look at the way our education works, it’s as if it wasn’t.”

In reference to the current school system, Andrus said, “It’s not just STEM it should be STEAM. It shouldn’t just be science, technology, engineering and math. We need to throw the arts in there. Because that’s what makes our children people. That is what humanizes all of us is the arts.”

Leslie Henire, concert mistress of Sinfonia Salt Lake, also has noticed the lack of arts in the lives of children. “It’s necessary for us as humans to have beauty and art and culture in our lives. I just don’t see any other way. It’s a necessity and it’s becoming less and less,” she said.

Affleck feels strongly about music in the lives of children. She wants her own kids to be involved in music “for their own self-expression and creativity. Music is a powerful brain tool.” She added, “It can be used for education. It stimulates the brain.”

For many Utah musicians and parents, music is crucial in school curriculums and individual lives. Andrus said it is also a crucial part of humanity.

“That creative part of life gives a huge reason to get out of bed every day and if we lose that, we lose part of our culture, part of our humanity and we lose all the benefits that come to our brains by creating and being more than just robots,” Andrus said. “We have things that we can accomplish that are so much bigger if we include the arts in our curriculum for our kids and in our lives as adults.”

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Tucker Scott

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

The way I developed my enterprise story was by finding a topic I thought I could relate to and also have it be an interesting topic for the people reading my story. While doing research on some of the ongoing things happening in the Salt Lake area I stumbled across the stadium expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The way I located my sources was by asking my football coach to be interviewed along with the former head coach of the University of Utah, Ron McBride. I have a previous relationship with both coaches considering the fact my dad played for both of them during his collegiate career, so it was fairly easy getting in contact with him.

I felt like these two sources primarily were the best sources because they are the face of Utah Athletics. Although there are other coaches and teams I personally feel like they are the most well-known people in the state of Utah. I enjoyed the writing process throughout the whole assignment.

I feel like if I struggled on anything it would be the AP style which I am getting better at. Another thing I ran into was I wanted to interview the new athletic director but he never got back to me until the assignment was due. He was in California dealing with PAC12 issues.

I really enjoyed learning about the history behind the stadium. Growing up always attending the games and then eventually playing in that stadium it blew me away the amount of rebuilds that have been done and how old the stadium actually is. Overall it was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed becoming a journalist. 

ABOUT ME:

I am a former student athlete at the University of Utah. I played football there for two years until getting a career-ending injury. I started to follow my other passion for photography and videography and decided to stick around the team and help out with creating content and helping run the different social media platforms.

Over the summer I interned at STANCE at the corporate office in San Clemente, California, helping create content and also helping run the social media. Now back at school I currently do a lot of freelance work for a variety of different companies.

Throughout this journey I have learned a lot of new things with working with people. I have had to produce work in a timely manner in order to make deadlines. I have learned to work as a team and learn to have patience with some of the companies that I work for.

I also do real estate photography for a specific team in Salt Lake City. My goal is to end up doing commercial photography for large corporations and eventually one day run my own business. 

Charlene Rodriguez

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

When initially given the enterprise story assignment details, I thought the assignment seemed pretty straightforward and simple enough. This proved to be a little harder than I expected as I got further into the project and realized just a small portion of what journalists have to manage when crafting and publishing a story. 

I knew I wanted to present an idea around arts and culture so I played around with the theme in my head for a few days until I remembered Sundance plays a huge role in Utah/Park City culture. While the actual festival is well known, the Institute and what it offers for new, emerging filmmakers as well as locals was pretty vague. 

I started contacting sources at the same time that I was conducting research. I knew the best sources would probably be individuals involved in local government and within the Sundance Institute itself. I sent out interview request emails and luckily got responses back pretty quickly from there. 

After getting a response from the Institute, a source shared with me more information on the fellowship programs and directed me to LaraLee Ownby, who is the assistant director of Utah Community Programs. She was an excellent source for information about local screenings and different outreach programs the Institute offers both during the festival and year round. 

Jenny Diersen, who is the special events and economic development manager for Park City Municipal Corporation, was also a great asset to my story. She shared specifics on how Sundance is contributing to the growth of the arts and culture scene in Park City. Diersen also shared a lot of statistics with me about how many people the Institute reaches and explained how Sundance is ingrained within the culture. 

The most difficult part of this process was probably the scheduling and managing of different sources. Attempting to be persistent with communication while respecting schedules and response times became hectic. I had a few sources who were all set to go on record, but for outside reasons backed out pretty close to deadlines. This was stressful as I had to cut out and restructure portions of my story and reach out to new sources asap. 

I knew I wanted a source who could comment on the effectiveness of the fellowship opportunities as it would make that portion of my story a lot stronger. I decided the best source I could get was someone who’s been through the program themselves. This led me to reach out to my last source, Maya Cueva, a current Ignite Fellow. Cueva was able to give me the personal experience with the Institute’s programs that rounded out my story nicely.

In terms of the actual writing process, I found it difficult to sit down and just write. I was overanalyzing my writing style and not sure how I wanted to organize my story so it felt cohesive. It wasn’t until I forced myself to go to the library, set aside all other distractions, and poured out all my ideas onto a page that I was able to get a good draft going. 

This actually helped me learn that at least for me, the best way to start drafting is to simply “word vomit” on the page and then start organizing and refining from there. Although this project was stressful and frustrating at times, it did help me grow as an emerging professional and writer and ultimately has been a rewarding experience. 

ABOUT ME:

Charlene Rodriguez was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and at 3 years old, moved to Park City, Utah, alongside her parents. Growing up in the small ski town, she enjoyed spending time with her friends and family, serving the local community and learning about society and culture. 

As she grew up, she found herself interested more and more in understanding multiculturalism both within her community as well as a part of her identity. In attempting to better grasp her cultural identity of balancing both the Guatemalan and American aspects of her identity, she joined Latinos In Action. 

Latinos In Action is a community service based elective offered in various high schools throughout the U.S. aimed at developing, encouraging, and engaging young Latinx students through education, leadership, and social advocacy.

She participated in the program for five years from eighth grade through her senior year of high school, during which she was president.

Beginning college at the University of Utah, she initially went in with the idea that she wanted to pursue a degree in business. After her first semester taking entry-level business classes, she quickly found this just wasn’t the exact match. From there, she switched to a communications major with an emphasis in strategic communication. 

This was a simple call for a number of reasons. Firstly, this career path would run in the family as her father has a background in advertising. Secondly, the topics covered and discussions had in communications classes mirrored her interests in analyzing society and culture. Throughout this time she also decided to further pursue an interest in social psychology, a subject she found particularly intriguing since her AP Psych class in high school and made this her minor. 

Now a junior at the University of Utah, she is looking forward to making the most out of her remaining time on campus before graduating from the U in the spring of 2021 with her first bachelor’s degree under her belt. 

While still debating whether or not to attend graduate school right after, she aims to secure a job position at either a PR/advertising firm, or within the media relations departments of larger production companies. She looks to find employment within companies whose core values include promoting positive representations of women and people of color. 

She’s excited to continue growing and learning in both her personal life and career as she navigates the complexities and joys of being an immigrant women of color entering the professional world. 

Taylor Scott

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

While developing a topic for my enterprise story, I tried to think of topics that would stand out here at the University of Utah. Due to my current affiliations with Greek life on campus, I decided to address the concerns around how Greek life affects students. In order to develop a story idea, I talked with my classmates and they helped me on my decision. I chose to write about how Greek life allows students to become more successful on and off campus.

Due to the popularity of Greek life, I felt that my story will help explain a little bit more of what Greek life entails. I started off by visiting the University of Utah’s Fraternity and Sorority Life website and reaching out to potential interviewees. Without much time I had many members from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life staff and Interfraternity Council reaching out to me.

Prior to interviewing my sources, I thought that I had already known a good amount about Greek life but I was wrong. I had constructed a long list of questions for the individuals whom I was interviewing in hopes to gather information on every topic I wanted to write about. During the interviewing process I quickly found out that there was a lot of information that I didn’t know about. While interviewing Walker Nasser, it made me think of a plethora of new questions that I was able to use on my next interview. This then led me down different topic paths that added more information to my story than I had ever imagined.

As a result of this experience, I have pushed myself to always dig deeper even when I feel content with my knowledge.

ABOUT ME: 

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 2.24.55 PMAction sports are what make me.

I grew up in a small surf town in Southern California and spent most of my time surfing, skateboarding, riding dirt bikes, and snowboarding. Growing up I was always busy running around the small town of San Clemente trying to make the most of every hour of sunlight. I was always motivated to be the best at every sport I took part in and competed as much as I could to test my skills. Once it had become time to graduate high school, I decided it was time to try something new.

I decided to ditch sunny California weather for the frigid snowstorms Utah has to offer. I decided to try something new and enroll in the strategic communication major here at the U. Ever since I have been improving upon my writing skills in hopes to become the best at what I do here at school. Growing up I have become aware of the importance of trying your hardest at everything you do, and I have transferred that over to my studies.  

 

Christopher Stenger

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

When I heard about this assignment in the beginning of the year, I was very nervous because I have never written a story in an attempt to have it published. I was inspired to write about the electric skateboards and scooters on the University of Utah’s campus because I often ride the electric scooters on campus to get to class when short on time. I also have many friends who have the electric skateboards and ride them every day on campus for transportation. These personal transporters are unique and are improving constantly and help students and faculty get around campus, especially when they’re in a rush.  

However, I do believe these personal transporters are not creating the best image for the U. The electric scooters are being ditched all over campus and not in designated locations like bicycle racks. I think hub locations would really help solve this image. If all the scooters were to have a central or a few spread out smaller hubs on campus, the bad image would disappear and they would actually look more organized. 

Another problem with the electric scooters and skateboards that I believe needs to be discussed is the speed of these devices and the hazard they create when students are walking to class. The sidewalks get crowded on campus and it makes it difficult for these skateboard and scooter riders. People can get seriously injured with these devices going up to 20 mph, when the U’s policy is to not exceed 10 mph. This also applies to bicycles and non-electrically scooters and skateboards. I don’t think I really encountered any problems with writing about this topic, but was surprised with what I learned from my sources on campus. 

I interviewed a few students on campus and was actually surprised with how the people who do not ride these scooters or skateboards don’t really have serious issues with them being on campus, but do agree that hub locations would be very helpful. Lt.  Terry Fritz of the U’s police department was very helpful to interview as he really cares about the U’s students and joined the department right after the tragic deaths of students we had on campus the last two years. He showed a lot of concern for the scooters and skateboards as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. Ginger Cannon, active transportation manager at the U, seems to be on track to have the hubs in the future. In the meantime, we have to be very careful with these devices and those who ride them on campus should try to stay in the bike paths and not the walking sidewalks, including myself.

ABOUT ME:

I have wanted to become a real estate agent and sell homes since I was in high school.

My mother was previously a real estate agent in Pennsylvania before my family moved to Utah in 2017, when my twin brother and I graduated high school. I would often help my mother set up open houses or stage homes and would feel a strong connection to real estate when seeing different unique homes and their interior layouts.   

I grew up in Philadelphia for most of my childhood and was able to see 100-year-old homes as well as 1-month-old homes and saw the different styles of interiors. Whether the house was old, new, large, or small, each house has its own unique feature to it. The difference in the types of houses really intrigued me and made me more interested in real estate as I saw more houses. 

When I am driving around Salt Lake City, I pay attention to the small details of homes I drive past for sale and brainstorm ideas of how they could be improved. It’s important to pay attention to the small details in and out of homes and not just the large ones because it could deter a buyer.  

Currently, I am finishing up the first half of my junior year at the University of Utah. When I came to the U, I started off as pre-business and found myself struggling constantly with my classes and started to lose interest. I found my way to the Department of Communication from a friend who was in the same situation a year ago. I couldn’t be any happier to now be studying strategic communication and to actually enjoy my classes.  

I hope to obtain my real estate license in the next year and to start building my reputation as a licensed agent for future clients or buyers all around the state of Utah. 

 

Griffin Bonjean

MY STORY:

MY BLOG: 

Before I started writing about Simply Açaí, my class was given an assignment to walk around campus and find a topic for a story. I made my way to the Lassonde Studios on campus at the U, and had never seen the açaí trailer before. I decided to ask one of the workers some questions about the business and knew I had found a topic for the assignment. After pitching two separate story ideas to the class, I chose Simply Açaí and the company employees to be the topic and sources for my story. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3d0Locating my sources didn’t come with much difficulty. The first time I visited Simply Açaí, Reid Lanigan and Seth Neelman were the two employees working. I asked the two if they would be willing to go on record. Through a reference from Lanigan, I was also able to connect with another employee named Grayson Goodyear to be my final source.

I wanted to interview Neelman because he could give me the best information for my story. As the owner of Simply Açaí, he started the company and had all of these experiences to guide him toward that accomplishment. Lanigan and Goodyear were both qualifying candidates because they answered my questions that I had about business tactics. The process of finding the best sources came straight from the employees at this new company. 

From the beginning I wanted my topic and theme for the story to be focused on the startup of Simply Açaí. What happened before opening and the early stages after opening. This made it easier to focus my interview questions on the company and how it started. This helped me greatly in the writing process.  

My writing process was different for this story. I feel that I usually excel in formatting, but the AP style formatting proved difficult for me. I also have a tendency to write a lot without reading back over what was written. This requires me to make plenty of simple corrections forcing me to give myself extra time to write the material. 

Although my process changed, I truly enjoyed writing this story and experiencing what it is like to write an article. I am glad that I got to write about Simply Açaí and meet some amazing new people. 

ABOUT ME:

I grew up and lived my whole young life in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Participating in as much physical activity as possible was typical for me when I was younger. I started skiing at the age of 3, playing lacrosse at the age of 7, and snowboarding at the age of 8. 

Since the day I watched my first NCAA Lacrosse game, I always dreamed of playing lacrosse at the collegiate level. I was able to make that dream a reality in the spring of 2018 when I signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at the University of Utah. I played only my freshman year, but I had to take an entire ski season off. Even though I no longer play for the school, it was an amazing experience. 

Although I only knew that I was playing lacrosse freshman year, I had no clue what I wanted to major in. The spring 2019 semester is where I decided I would pursue a major in strategic communication and a minor in business.  

I am currently finishing the first semester of my sophomore year at the U. The knowledge and experiences that I am gaining will hopefully continue to guide me toward graduation and my career in life. I cannot wait to see where these upcoming years take me!

 

Natalie Zullo

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

When considering topics for my enterprise story, I was inspired by my car radio. In search of a good song on my way home from class, I was led to a classical music station. Listening to the genius of the professional musicians brought peace to my mind after a stressful day. It was then that I realized I wanted to write about professional musicians in the state of Utah and their careers.

Research was tricky as I needed to find high demand professionals around the state of Utah. With the help of friends and family, I was led to three sources. One source was a performer in the Tabernacle Orchestra at Temple Square and private violin teacher. The other was the owner of her own after-school music program and studio. The last source was a world-famous violinist in the Utah Symphony.

The interview I was most excited about was the Utah Symphony musician. But difficult encounters came up during my interviewing process. The world-famous musician from the Utah Symphony became suddenly unavailable due to travel demands of the orchestra at that time. Although this came as a surprise, I did find a third source. Instead of interviewing another professional musician, a Utah mother of six musical children agreed to speak with me. I would discover later that she played a crucial role in my final article.

As I started to gather information and quotes, I quickly realized that my story seemed to be writing itself. Each individual I interviewed had such a different opinion and voice that my story became a discussion between each of the sources. I was worried at first that my piece would turn into an argumentative piece, but the voices fit together perfectly to construct a final article.

I was surprised that my final story didn’t turn out the way I had first envisioned. I had walked into this assignment with a very specific idea and process for my story. But the people I interviewed seemed to write the story for me and lead me along a journey of discovery and curiosity.

ABOUT ME:

ME 2.JPG

Music has always filled Natalie’s heart.

Natalie Zullo was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a deep appreciation for the violin. She is a Spring 2020 University of Utah graduate studying strategic communication and violin performance. She currently is the owner of N-Z Violin String Studio and works as a dental assistant in Murray. In June 2019, Natalie married the love of her life in the Salt Lake City Temple and currently lives in Draper.

In her spare time, Natalie can be found on the nearest running trial, skiing with her husband and baking sweets in the kitchen. She writes and arranges music in her spare time and loves gatherings with her friends, family and sweet husband.

Natalie plans to continue developing her violin studio in the future and work as an event planner.

Gwen Trapp

MY STORY: 

MY BLOG:

As I was looking into the different topics for my enterprise story, I decided that I wanted to write about something I knew I was passionate about. Since I have been highly involved on the University of Utah’s campus and have seen the benefits of doing so, I felt that diving deeper into campus involvement would be a prudent topic.  

After thinking about what specific area I wanted to focus on for my piece, I gathered my sources according to who I thought would be the best fit. I originally wanted to target three students, all of different ages and who were all a part of different organizations. However, after receiving feedback on my topic, I thought it would be a good idea to include an alumnus from the U who was also highly involved during their undergraduate career as well.  

I was particularly interested in how being involved could impact one’s leadership journey and future outlooks, so I interviewed individuals who hold high leadership positions on campus. This led me to interview the executive director of the Union Programming Council (UPC), the student body president, and the student programs manager of the Bennion Center.   

Austin Matsuura, the executive director of UPC, was a great resource in my story because he showed how being involved can help one to discover their true passions. He was able to give a positive insight on how to create future goals through involvement as well.  

I also interviewed Anna Barnes, the current student body president, because she plays a crucial role in ensuring that student voices are being heard. She was able to express how not all leadership journeys are the same and how unexpected challenges can rise along the way.  

Bryce Williams, the student programs manager, was deeply involved in campus activities throughout his undergraduate career. By being involved as much as he was on campus and in the Bennion Center, it led him to his current job. He was able to show how being involved could help you to achieve future jobs and careers.  

After gathering all the pieces that I needed for my story, I was eager to begin writing. I wrote about the two U students and then concluded it with Bryce Williams’s comments. By writing my piece in this format, it shows the audience what the outcome of being involved could potentially lead to. 

ABOUT ME:

rsz_fullsizeoutput_1c1cI was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the year 2000 along with my sister and brother, making me one of the unusual triplet births of that year. I attended Salt Lake City public schools and graduated from Skyline High School in 2018.  

My strong determined personality led me to decide to pursue a major in strategic communication and minors in leadership studies and business management. I have been highly involved on campus and have found a true passion in wanting to grow myself through leadership opportunities at the U. 

Some of the student organizations I have been a part of include the Union Programming Council, the Associated Students of the University of Utah, Greek life and the University Ambassador Program. I have been able to meet excellent student and adult leaders and have gained a variety of essential skills along the way.  

I hope to one day be able to take what I have learned in communication and pursue my dreams of going into a significant leadership role. I believe a successful leader is someone who is inspiring and is able to reach a common goal with the support and ideas of others.  

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending my time with friends, family and eating as many dark chocolate desserts as possible.  

Asia Bown

MY STORY:

MY BLOG: 

I began research for my story under the impression that I’d be able to execute a hard-hitting expose on Planned Parenthood’s decision to reject Title X funds. This decision was made in opposition to the Trump administration rule that doctors at centers accepting these funds would be prohibited from referring patients to doctors who provide abortions. It could have any number of negative consequences: understaffed centers, undersupplied offices, the inability to keep many of their services free of charge, etc. I hoped that during my research and interviews, I’d be able to understand just how much of an effect this decision might have nationwide by analyzing its effects on the two centers in Salt Lake City. If there weren’t so many far-reaching effects, I’d have taken my idea in a bit of a different direction by evaluating the decision through the lens of a social and political advocate. This approach, however, never came to fruition. 

As I researched sources, I figured that my best options were the managers of the centers, the media/press hotline, and people using Planned Parenthood’s services, which of course would be their prerogative. Unfortunately, after many visits to both centers and various inquiries, I discovered that Planned Parenthood employees aren’t permitted to give interviews, which is understandable given the current conservative attitudes toward Planned Parenthood and the protests that happen daily at centers around the country. This proved particularly fatal for my original story idea. 

How could I write a full story about Planned Parenthood and how a significant decision impacts its centers without input from Planned Parenthood? It was then that I chose to shift my focus to the accessibility of sexual and reproductive health resources for students, which was always going to be a part of my story. Instead of making it the main event, I decided to use Planned Parenthood as an example of a sexual health resource in my new story. 

For this new idea, I found my sources quite easily. I went to the Center for Student Wellness and talked to one of the educators there about my story. She referred me to the sexual wellness educator, Maya Jolley, and told me about the ACES Peer Health Education Program. In my interview with Jolley, I learned more about the program and got in contact with two of the students involved with the program, Elnaz Tahmassebi and Linda Derhak. I interviewed both students and got their take on sexual health education for students and their roles in the program. Once I had all three interviews done, it was relatively easy to work them into my story and make sense of the narrative I was trying to write.

 It was important to me that anyone could read my story and understand why sexual and reproductive health resources are incredibly important for students, so I made sure to write clearly and explain the issue in depth. Even though the topic is relatively taboo and negative, I wanted to make sure that it was something people could talk about with hope, so I ended the story on a positive note.

ABOUT ME:

rsz_1rsz_1img_2615My first story was a retelling of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” My first favorite book series was Nancy Drew. And my first favorite magazine was National Geographic. I fell in love with the written word at a young age. I’ve never wanted to do anything with my life that didn’t involve writing. Initially, my heart was set on becoming a novelist, though, as I aged I grew to appreciate other types of writing and I broadened my horizons. In high school, writing for the school newspaper coaxed out a love for journalism that I didn’t know existed and prompted me to consider it as a possible career, switching gears from my aspirations in criminal law, which in all honesty mainly stemmed from years of watching “Law and Order: SVU.” 

In my first year at the U, I decided to combine my international interests with my journalistic interest and tack on an international studies major with an environment and sustainability emphasis. Now in my sophomore year, I’ve gleaned more information on possible career paths and as of right now, I hope to use my international studies degree to build a more solid world view so that I can write more effectively about international and environmental issues and maybe even pursue a career abroad. 

 

Andrew Luras

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

When taking this class I already expected some big assignment that would require us to work on it throughout the semester. I had thought of the things I wanted to talk about already ahead of time, waiting for confirmation on what was approved. I had an idea for the LGBTQ+ community but nothing really planned out until our professor mentioned she’d want something to do with Utah or the U. So I decided upon the LGBTQ+ community at the U, as I figured it’s an ongoing topic that is talked about daily throughout our lives, especially in the U.S. where we strive to solve LGBTQ+ issues.

I located my first source through a friend’s professor at Westminster College. The instructor backed out but recommended I talk to Clare Lemke, the director of the LGBTQ+ resource center at the U. I already planned on speaking with her but didn’t know how to go about it. After that Lemke referred me to Whit Hollis, the director of the Union, who happens to be gay himself. 

My friend referred me to another friend of hers who was attending the U while also being a part of the LGBTQ+. However, she wanted to go unnamed, which I respect and would probably do as well. I felt as if they were the best sources because one is the director of the resource center at the University of Utah, and the second is the director of the Union. He has been here since 2001 and knows more about the history of the resource center. The third source shared personal experiences.

I encountered some obstacles with sourcing, because people backed out at the last minute, causing me to do my interviews pretty late in the story. It was also hard to get hold of Hollis because his schedule is busy. I was able to fix everything and address these obstacles, it just took me a while to find new sources. 

I tried to let the reader understand the history of the resource center, first with Hollis and what it was like to be someone who was LGBTQ+ then compared to now. I then decided it was appropriate to fit in experience from the resource center’s director and try to go over what the resource center is and why it is there. Finally, I thought it was a good idea to end on a personal experience from someone to show what it was really like to be here at the U as an LGBTQ+ student with no filter or bias. 

I found it pretty surprising that there is such a big presence here at the U for LGBTQ+ acceptance and that I was able to actually become friends with the unnamed person I interviewed and we’ve hung out a few times. I’ve learned that I really am pretty shy until I start talking to someone, especially if it’s something I care about. I had great conversations with my sources during and after the interviews, and I remembered why I used to get in trouble all the time in class as a kid, since I really do run my mouth and won’t stop talking about something I’m passionate about. 

I hope this contributes positively to my ongoing future as a journalist and I really hope to continue writing about the things I am passionate about for future writings such as this. It felt nice to finally go out and do something that made me feel like I was writing an actual news article instead of just the same required essay for every class. I enjoyed what I did and this just further fuels my ambition to become a journalist.

ABOUT ME:

I don’t think I could ever permanently leave Utah and I didn’t think I’d ever say that.

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, thinking this city was boring as a kid. I saw myself as an artist, writer, cosplayer, video game fanatic, music enthusiast, collector, etc. all the while continuing to think I’d go nowhere if I continued to live here. I constantly sought out traveling to different states in recent years to find some sort of “inner peace” and to finally answer the question of “where do I want to be” soon learning that many of the places I traveled to made me homesick. I started to make traveling a side hobby, but only if I have the money to do so, while still retaining this mindset that the corny line of “there’s no place like home” was true in my case. I found this out in the recent years of my life that Utah was my place to be and if I wanted to go anywhere else it’d only be temporary. 

I made it my goal to become a better writer when I started college. I had attended Catholic school up until college constantly criticizing my own work and never thinking I could make a career out of it. I used to hate writing papers in school after it felt like a task to write about things I had no interest in. College has changed my mindset, especially the University of Utah. I found classes giving me the option to write while incorporating my own interests. My passion has become writing about video games or music. I love writing articles on these two favorite hobbies of mine. With that being said, they have become so ingrained in my life that I want to make some sort of career out of it.

Video games and art in general are a big part of my life. If I’m not working or doing school work, I’ll usually find myself playing a game, drawing, listening to music, or somehow trying to do all three at the same time if it’s possible. I plan to always make time for my hobbies no matter how busy I get in the near future. At least I know that when I’ll be able to retire, I’ll have plenty of free time to do so, but only if I’m able to retire. I never really thought of making writing a hobby of mine but when I incorporate these other interests of mine, I feel as if writing has become so much fun that if I can, I’ll try to write about a recent piece of news or game. 

With knowing all this, I plan on staying in Utah for as long as I need to, unless somewhere down the line I figure I want to find a new place to reside in. Making writing my career in Utah is my main goal while trying my best to make my hobbies a part of it. There’s nothing wrong with having fun in my career and if it’s something I plan to stick with for the rest of my life, I might as well find the joy in it instead of dread each day walking into a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job that I don’t find any interest in, rather I’d love to have passion in what I do.

Ashleigh Thomas

MY STORY: 

MY BLOG:

When I began to write my enterprise story, choosing a topic was difficult. Most of the topics I had chosen were too broad and vague. I needed to focus in on “a piece of the pie.” Originally, the most appealing topic I wanted to write about was the ski culture in Park City and how it has changed over the years. You can image how complex this story would have been, so I narrowed it down. I chose to write about the newest development in the Park City ski industry, the Epic and Icon passes.

The Epic and Icon passes interest me because of the way they are changing Park City. This new development has impacted local life in Park City immensely. I am also involved in the Park City ski culture and have many connections to people with strong opinions about the matter. Therefore, finding people to interview wasn’t difficult.

One challenge I ran into while interviewing and photographing for this story, was the fact that it is off season for the resorts. Many people are out of the office or on vacation, so I was not able to interview in person. Luckily, I got hold of a couple contacts and interviewed over email.

I got great information and many different points of view from these email interviews. The thing I was lacking was the personal face-to-face interactions. I find it is the best way to interview and write a story. Many of the people involved in the ski industry are out of the office or on vacation before the season starts, so it was hard to organize face-to-face interviews.

I learned so much from not only this writing exercise but also how Park City locals are reacting and adapting to the Icon and Epic passes. Park City is my home and is close to my heart. Therefore, it is something I am protective of and care to learn about. This is a story I am going to continue to research and learn more about.

ABOUT ME:

Ashleigh Thomas was born and bred in Park City, Utah. Ashleigh loves to laugh and enjoys children’s movies. She has lived in Utah her whole life and has a passion for skiing and the outdoors. Ashleigh has traveled all over the world and enjoys experiencing new cultures and ways of life.   

She is a senior studying strategic communication at the University of Utah. Her love for skiing and the Utah mountains kept her in Salt Lake for her undergraduate degree. She has done internships at Cole Sport, HEAD sportswear, and Park City Municipal working in communications, merchandising, special events and economic development. 

After graduating from the U she hopes to move to New York and pursue a second degree in fashion business management at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With a degree in communication and fashion business management she hopes to move to Europe and start her career!

 

 

Tanner Faust

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

I could say that my story started when I first traveled to Peru with my dad. He is a health and safety auditor for mines all over the world. When I was with him I saw massive environmental damage being done. At the time I just internalized it. However, when I heard about the reduction to Bears Ears, I immediately thought of a similar thing happening to Peru. This piqued my interest in the conservation effort of Bears Ears National Monument. IMG-1436 (2)

Two of my sources came about because of my research into the area. I reached out to both organizations for their input on the topic. My third interviewee was Daniel Tso. I met Tso through my grandma. She lived very close to the Four Corners National Park and Tso was a friend of a friend of hers. I met him at a gathering near Four Corners about a year and a half ago. Recently, I thought he would be a perfect person to interview regarding the harms of industrialization of sacred lands. 

The biggest moral dilemma I faced was bias. I wanted to create a story that outlines the entire political happening of Bears Ears National Monument. However, it was very hard to find facts and quotes that were not slanted one way or the other. Many times, I had to break down the information and then interpret it myself.

At first, I was overwhelmed by the information. There was a ton of it and it all said a million different things. I decided to focus on the political argument going on around the Monument as that seemed to be what most people were interested in. I decided to do a sort of back and forth between the two arguments as there is truth in both sides. I started simple with a hard news lead. Once I got past the initial information I began to lay out the controversy in a more spelled out manner.  

One thing I was surprised about was the validity of arguments for reduction to the monument. I still believe we should favor the environment over the economy. However, the benefits that these operations bring are undisputable. Power and electricity are provided to many more homes than before. Mines and other operations bring jobs and work to the local economies. There is an honest and good argument as to how the reduction can help thousands of people. 

I found myself questioning my predispositions toward this monument controversy. My ideals were challenged. I wanted to translate that for everybody to read and experience. Like many issues nowadays, there is often truth in every argument, it is just a matter of bringing it out.

ABOUT ME: 

Tanner Faust grew up in Johnstown, Colorado, a small farming community in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Before moving to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah, he took an interest in business. He started to create small businesses in his small town selling anything from painting services to programming help. 

After moving to Salt Lake, Tanner took an interest in entrepreneurship. He pitched business ideas all over campus to different organizations. Some were sponsored by the U, such as GetSeeded, while others were private and nationwide. 

Tanner also took an interest in marketing. After leaving the business school due to a distaste in its degree, he transferred to the Department of Communication. Strategic communication provided him with a more sound degree in the topics that interested him. 

He began to create marketing campaigns for fellow entrepreneurs in Utah and back home in Colorado. This was the beginning of his professional career. He always found passion in helping others create their dream while also creating the dream for himself. 

Taneon Rood

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

I was inspired to write about Zions Bank Real Academy because of the soccer culture that surrounds Utah. I wanted people to read my article, and be able to open their minds more than they have before and really see how much soccer means to Utah. 

I was born and raised in Utah, and I was on a few youth soccer teams when I was younger. That was one of the key elements that also inspired me to write this story. 

Dell Loy Hansen, the owner of Real Salt Lake, spent over $60 million on soccer facilities to ensure that Utah could become one of the greatest places in the country to develop soccer talent for the future. It’s been in Herriman, Utah, for less than two years, yet I still don’t see enough people giving it acknowledgment.  

The writing process for my piece was extremely simple since I follow Real Salt Lake heavily already. I already had an idea for what I wanted to tell my readers, I just needed the sources to help add credibility and accuracy to what I said in the article. 

I emailed Taran Meyer, senior manager of communications for Real Salt Lake, and he helped me find the other two people I interviewed for my article. 

Academy Goalkeeper Coach Mirza Harambasic and Zions Bank Real Academy President Jacob Haueter were the other two people I chose to interview. I feel like I did a very good job at finding credible people to interview for this article. My second option that I had in mind if I couldn’t find three people who worked or were associated with the academy was to ask somebody from a Real Salt Lake supporters group about how they felt about the soccer academy. However, this unfortunately never ended up being implemented into my story, but could’ve been useful since it gave a point of view from a fan. 

I encountered zero obstacles when putting my article together and I credit this a lot to the people I was interviewing. They cooperated very nicely and made the experience have no stress whatsoever. Gaining access to the facilities to take photos for my article came easy since they gave me a tour around the facilities. 

There is definitely a lot of information that I gave to the reader in my article, and it might be really confusing at first. However, my goal was to help everybody understand what the soccer academy does and what its purpose is. I feel like I truly did my best when it came to explaining everything. I admit that I covered a lot of themes but this is because I wanted people to fully be informed. 

I had recorded over 22 minutes of interview audio, and it was really difficult for me at first to choose what quotes I would use. But after time passed and I gave things more thought, I eventually found what quotes deserved to be in my article over others. 

What surprised me was how successful my article ended up being. I don’t mean this in a bad way, either. I just thought that it would be much more difficult to get people to interview when it comes to covering a story on professional sports. I definitely feel like I was very fortunate in this aspect of my experience, and the fact that I’m a diehard soccer fan made it even better. 

I personally hope that the Zions Bank Real Academy continues to develop the best soccer talent in North America and that one day there will be more people who will give the academy the credit it rightfully deserves. The academy is definitely taking the right procedures to become one of the best going forward. 

ABOUT ME:

Taneon Steven Rood is an aspiring young writer, looking to make a significant impact on how we view soccer in the United States through his storytelling. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City and grew up playing soccer and basketball. His interest in writing grew when he would stay up late at night and write poetry and diaries based on how he was feeling during his high school years.

TaneonRoodHe enjoys traveling to other countries around the world as a form of leisure and his favorite place to go is Mexico. Taneon has been learning the Spanish language since he was 6 years old and has been practicing the language ever since, although he says he isn’t fluent yet. In 2015, Taneon became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

After becoming the youngest person to graduate from Salt Lake Community College in 2019 at the age of 17, Taneon decided to transfer to the University of Utah for his bachelor’s degree.  In the summer of 2019, Taneon did a one-month internship with the Harvard Business School start up company called Zubale in Mexico City. One day he wants to open youth soccer leagues for children in communities that are underdeveloped around the world.

Madisen Gates

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

This story was initially very intimidating. When I started thinking of topics for my enterprise story, I first spoke with my friends, classmates, and professors to get an idea for what to write on. After speaking with one of my classmates, I quickly found a great, and somewhat shocking, story idea. However, the day before story pitches were due, my main source decided she did not necessarily want her name attached to this story and backed out. I really needed to find an alternative, and fast. I began browsing local events on the University of Utah campus to get started. Shortly into this endeavor I found a link to an event called, “Inspired!”

At first, I did not think much of the event. The description only mentioned artwork on display at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. It caught my eye and, through research, I found out how truly incredible the staff and artists are at HCI. The event turned out to be much more than artwork. The Artists-in-Residence program aims to heal patients, caregivers, and staff members through expressive painting, drawing, and many other creative projects.

Following the link on the events page, I found the email for Donna Beluchi who is one of the staff members on the project. She referred me to my main source, Shelly White, the program director. White then suggested going to one of the art sessions to meet the current artist and speak with the attendees.

I was inspired by White’s passion for the program and dedication to continue these programs. It did not take long for me to find a patient, Caren Pinson, at the art session who was very excited to share her experience on attending this program. These three sources gave me detailed perspectives on what it takes to implement a large program like this, continue to run it, and what it feels like to experience it.

During this project, I was able to meet with so many creative and caring individuals who truly helped my story progress. Once I had completed interviews, an article that was very challenging at first become rewarding and fun to finish. I was so inspired by this experience that I did not need to do an outline to start writing. My sources really guided my writing as I tried my best to stay true to their experiences, feedback, and hopes for the program. They also became my motivation to make my story excellent — to do justice to the wonderful people and programs I was lucky enough to experience.

ABOUT ME:

I am a storyteller.

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed telling, reading, and writing stories. Originally from Ogden, Utah, I eventually moved to San Diego, where I graduated high school and entered the International Baccalaureate or IB program.

photo

During my time in California, I really began my journey as a writer. The IB program helped me develop my own writing style by studying authors such as Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Naguib Mahfouz, and many more.

In addition to this, the beautiful scenery and the diverse environment of people made me much more inspired to create stories. I remember lying on the beach, laughing with my friends, experiencing so many different things that inspired at least a hundred stories.

My journey continues in Utah where I am a Strategic Communication major expecting to graduate in Spring 2021. I hope to then help build businesses with my technical writing skills and creative perspectives. Most of all, my greatest hope is to one day grace the “New York Times Best Sellers” list.

Willow Galvan

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:

When I began searching for topics to write my enterprise story on, I was greatly inspired by an acquaintance of mine, Dallin Wilkins. Wilkins suffers from severe hearing loss and has worn hearing aids since he was 18. From what I knew before interviewing him, he had lost a significant amount of hearing due to not using ear protection. At the time, I had never spoken to Wilkins about his hearing loss. After reaching out to him, he was more than happy to let me interview him and learn more about his hearing journey.

Wilkins was truly the driving force in my story. He shared with me how his hearing loss journey began, what his daily struggles entail, and how he advocates to other young people how devastating hearing loss is, and how it can happen to anyone. Not just your grandparents.

After I learned more about Wilkins’ story, it was like I fell down a rabbit hole. I spent hours researching hearing loss and how many young people it affects. I learned more about the topic than I would have ever imagined. But I was still missing my other sources. It was then that I reached out to my grandpa’s audiologist, Dr. Liz Hankins.

Luckily, she was quick to accept an interview with me. It was through her that I got most of the factual information used in my story. She gave me statistics that would do a great deal in my story. She also told me a plethora of ways that people damage their hearing and warned others that it isn’t just older people who are affected.

She was also kind enough to connect me to another source, her husband and hearing care specialist, Josh Hankins. He provided me with all the final information my story needed. He gave his advice on what people should and should not be doing when it comes to protecting their ears. He was also the person who informed me about the new Apple iOS 13 update, which includes the Health app having a new hearing health section. This became a large part of my story.

I would be lying if I said that I was not immediately overwhelmed with the information I had retained from my interviews. However, when I began writing, it all started to piece itself together. I guess it is true what they say, starting is the hardest part.

I quickly realized my story was becoming more of a service piece than I had originally thought. The focus of my story went from being about Wilkins and his personal hearing loss journey, to being a piece about warning and informing others about what they can do to protect their ears and hearing health. Through writing this story I learned a lot, and I can only hope that readers will too.

ABOUT ME:

IMG_4102I’m a Utah girl, born and raised. My entire family, extended and all, have always resided here. I grew up closer to my family than most. They are my everything, and up until a few years ago, I could get to any of them in a five-minute drive. Then, my life changed.

Everything I knew was uprooted when most of my family moved to North Carolina. Originally, I was going to head out there too, that was until I got accepted at the University of Utah.

Making the decision to stay in Utah, when most of my heart moved across the country, was one of the hardest choices I have ever made. I make the trip out there as frequently as I can.

Utah also has some of my heart. Everything I grew up loving is here. Including the University of Utah. Currently, I am a junior and am majoring in strategic communication. 

After graduation, whether it be here or on the East Coast, I hope to go into a career in marketing or public relations. 

 

 

Hailey Danielson

MY STORY: The Writing Center at the University of Utah

MY BLOG:

I became interested in the Writing Center because I was recently brought on as a new tutor there. During my training, a lot of questions started to come to mind. Why don’t a lot of students at the University of Utah make use of this free resource?

I had to start looking inward, and I realized that I never wanted to visit the center because I was afraid that people would think that I was a bad writer. So I wanted to know if other people shared this fear and if there was some sort of a stigma against visiting the Writing Center.

So I decided to start my story by asking some fellow students about their thoughts on the Writing Center. To my surprise, the students I interviewed didn’t feel that there was a stigma per se, but rather there couldn’t even be a stigma because not enough students even knew that the university had a writing center.

I had to shift gears, I went to the director and coordinator of the center to ask them about what they believe that the student body thinks about the center. Anne McMurtrey and Abby Christensen were great sources because they had first-hand details about how they market the center and data that I could get on student visits.

But during my writing and interviewing, I did find some moral and ethical hurdles when it came to the fact that I am a paid tutor at the Writing Center. I had trouble ensuring that no bias came through in the article. In the end, I think I was able to keep a level head while I was writing, without adding in my own opinions and thoughts.

As I began writing, I found it difficult to make sense of all the information that I had gathered, I just wrote everything down in the way that my mind made sense of the order, answering the questions that came to my mind in the order that they appeared to make the story come across the most logically. But it is true that that style mostly relies on the basis that everyone else’s brain functions the same way mine does, which is a bit of a gamble.

At first, I had no idea what I was doing. But after a few very rough drafts, the flow of the paper really started to come to me. Suddenly I was writing, paragraph after paragraph, in a voice that was true to me, while also making the points I wanted to make.

I suppose what I learned from this story is that even if you are struggling don’t stop writing, because as long as you persevere, the story will come to you eventually. I learned a lot about my writing throughout this process. I had to separate the English major part of my brain and explore the journalist part. I ended up really enjoying writing this piece, even though it was incredibly difficult. The voice that I discovered within myself was very exciting, and I’m very proud of all the growth that I have made while working on this project.

ABOUT ME:

Hailey Danielson was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and moved around the state a lot in her childhood. When she was 13 she moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she finished off high school at San Marcos Senior High. When she started college she came to the University of Utah to pursue a degree in English with the Honors College. Danielson is a photojournalist for the University of Utah Daily Utah Chronicle and is debating whether or not to pursue a double major in journalism.

Danielson just completed her first course in journalism — Comm 1610, Introduction to News Writing — with her very first journalistic piece, “The Writing Center at the University of Utah.”

She wants to pursue a career in publishing, either books or print journalism and is considering a career in television news as well. Danielson is planning on graduating from the University of Utah in the spring of 2022.

Reflection Blog: Finding a balance when writing about harassment

By Emily Albrecht

My Story: In the Salt Lake Fire Department, it’s still a man’s world

When it comes to talking about a subject that can be as personal and volatile as sexual harassment, it’s hard to know where to begin. I have friends that work with the Salt Lake Fire Department, and I knew that there was a story to tell about the casual sexism that borders on harassment in such a male-dominated environment. I didn’t want to write a scandalous exposé of something along the lines of Harvey Weinstein, I wanted to highlight the ways that women are still seen as objects: even when they’re doing the same type of back-breaking work as the men around them.

The first and hardest part of developing this story was finding people who were ready to talk on the record. Everyone in this story has had their names changed for privacy. If they didn’t, no one would’ve been willing to come forward. I knew from hearing offhand comments that there was something there, but when your job is on the line if someone gets wind of what you’re saying, it’s quite the deterrent to speaking freely. My issue was this: I wanted a space for both the women and the men who have seen this type of behavior to tell their story, I needed it to be reputable so I didn’t look like I was making things up, and the people who gave their stories to my piece had to be protected. I struggled with how much information was too little or too much, whether I needed to focus more on reputability or safety. In the end, I came to a conclusion that defined my writing and the rest of my process: women will always be told they’re lying. Victims will never be believed by everyone, much as they may speak their truth. I had to put their safety first, and trust that people will believe the testimonies regardless of what they’re told about the speakers.

In the end, there were a lot of things that I wish I could’ve included that I couldn’t because it jeopardized the safety of my sources. For every story that’s happened to every woman on the force, there’s ten more that are incredibly personal and would give away the source in an instant to anyone who’d seen it happen. I think for some journalists, they’d err on the opposite side of me, and maybe that’s a mistake. But I stand by my decisions, and if nothing else they taught me more about myself.

In the Salt Lake Fire Department, it’s still a man’s world

By Emily Albrecht

SALT LAKE CITY — In the Salt Lake City Fire Department, women show interest but still seem to be on the outskirts of the “boys’ club” that’s been cultivated.

Part of this is historically, firefighting has been men’s work. This dynamic has real-world consequences, and those are becoming increasingly apparent. In order to survive in industries like this, women often adapt by distancing themselves from each other or trying to become ‘one of the boys,’ which furthers preexisting norms. One of the biggest issues, however, is sexual harassment. In a study by Pew Research Center, 62% of women in male-dominated fields said that sexual harassment was an issue in their industry, as opposed to 42% in female-dominated fields. In that same study, women in male-dominated industries reported 10-20% more discrimination on the basis of sex than those in other fields.

When it comes to the SLFD, it’s evident that there are stories to be told, but victims are too scared to speak openly about it. Of the five people that were approached to be interviewed for this story, only three were willing to talk and all of them did it on the condition that the interviews would be anonymous.

Liam*, a 25-year-old male firefighter, said part of it is a culture that punishes those that speak out. He’s seen many women forced to prove themselves in ways the men aren’t required to and has friends who have experienced sexual harassment or assault but don’t want to tell anyone out of fear of being “blacklisted.”

“If you haven’t had at least five years of experience, you aren’t expected to have an opinion on anything.” Even after that, he says it is nearly impossible to make real change, saying the system just “isn’t set up for it.” The men in positions of power are, for the most part, happy where they’re at. As long as they continue to benefit from the systems, Liam doesn’t have a whole lot of hope. “It’s not a system that’s based on change. There’s a lot of opposition, culturally and otherwise.”

For the women in the department, it is evident they love their jobs. When so few of them are women, it is something they have to love, or it wouldn’t be worth it. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2018, 33.9% of EMS personnel and 5.1% of firefighters were women. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why one EMT called it a “boys’ club” or, as Liam said, a “fraternity.”

As for the actual women in the department, they’re obviously competent and passionate about what they do. Katie*, 18, and Sarah*, 22, both work with Gold Cross as first responders, and therefore spend significant time with the firefighters on calls. Sarah feels like she’s built a rapport with the men, to the point where she’s not worried if they try anything with her because she knows she can tell them to back off, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t notice the differences between how they treat men and women.

When new people come on to the team, especially guys, she tells them that although she’s treated nicely, she “is a female, so that changes the way they treat us.” It’s not always a “creepy” kind of nice, she emphasizes, but it doesn’t happen with the men on the team.

Image by Emily Albrecht

Aside from that, there are more concrete incidents or actions that get brushed off out of practicality. She’s there to do her job, and although they know better than to give her a hug and “leav[e] their hands on [her] lower back,” she doesn’t have the time to do anything about it. It’s a matter of picking your battles, and she finds it easier to say “no” and expect them to listen. “It makes me uncomfortable and then I just leave it alone.”

That said, there are some things that can’t help but put a woman on edge. “[I] knew a specific crew that had little nicknames for every woman at Gold Cross,” says Sarah. Even if some of them weren’t derogatory, some of them were, which left her wondering “well what on earth were they calling me?”

This uncertainty is echoed by Katie, saying “I feel like I need to be on my guard” around the firefighters. She’s happy with what she does, and doesn’t feel like she’s in a hostile environment, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have reservations. It’s not just about the small comments here and there that could be construed as sexual, it’s also about the attitude towards women in general.

There’s one part of the physical exam to become a firefighter that is especially difficult, says Katie, one all of the men say “when they watch it, none of the females pass.”(?) It’s this type of attitude that’s frustrating for Katie, and part of what she called the “boys’ club.” Despite her own experiences with harassment, her hopes for the future are high. “In my career, I don’t want it to be ‘cool’ to be a female firefighter. I want it to be normal, not just nine out of 400.”

*Names have been changed for privacy.

Salt Lake City: Safe or Survival for LGBT Youth?

By Kierra Cable

SALT LAKE CITY — On April 4th, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints revised its controversial 2015 policy that stated that those living in same sex relationships are considered ‘apostates’. According to (According to the church, apostasy is characterized as when individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel. The church removed this policy from its records, allowing children of same sex relationships to be baptized and receive blessings. Instead of having the title of apostasy, same sex couples are now referred to as living in serious transgression.

Although serious transgression calls for definite consequences, removing the title of apostasy is a serious relief for same sex couples. However, the reversal of this policy has created a myriad of reactions toward the church.


Some angry members believe that it is too late. An article by Benjamin Knoll stated that the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-19 is suicide. His article Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context, tackles the possibility of a correlation between suicide and LGBT youth in the LDS church. During the period of 2015-2019, the church had large numbers of members remove their names from the church role due to disagreement, anger, and even those who took their own life

Unfortunately, suicide is not the only danger toward Utah youth of Utah. An overwhelming amount of youth living in homelessness raises the question: Is this also connected to the predominantly Mormon population? 40% of the homeless youth living in the Salt Lake area identify as part of the LGBT community.


Jayme Anderson of the VOA Youth Resource Center works to house thirty to forty youth every night. The Youth Resource Center provides meals three times a day to youth ages 16-22. The Youth Resource Center It prides itself on being an accepting and safe space for anyone. The staff truly reflect their mission of creating safety for all youth who come through.

“The youth we see are generally coming from a religious background. By identifying as LGBT, the youth assume that they aren’t safe in their homes. Whether that’s true or not, we see a large amount of youth just wanting to be accepted and loved,” Anderson said, “The stigma of LGBT youth in the church has caused a large amount of youth to become homeless.”


Bryson, a youth involved at the VOA, stated that “I didn’t feel safe in my house. When they released the new policy in 2015, my parents tried their best to almost knock the gay out of me. They didn’t want me to be an apostate. They were embarrassed by me, but I can’t help that. I am going to love who I want to love even if it means getting kicked out on the streets.”


When the reversal came about, Bryson’s parents attempted to reach out to him. “I didn’t want anything to do with them. They already had their chance. The church should never have done that to us. Reversing the policy is like putting a bandaid on the situation, it’s bull shit.” Although Bryson’s story is not uncommon, it’s not concrete evidence for of a correlation between homelessness and the LDS church.


With the new revision to the 2015 policy, church leaders are hopeful that this will bring LGBT members and allies back into the church. “The church embodies love, just like our Savior Jesus Christ would” stated Mark Lewis, a bishop of a South Jordan stake, “With this new revision of policy we rely on our Prophet Russell Nelson to guide us as the church. We believe that prophets speak directly to God and if we have faith, we can be guided by that revelation. This new revelation will encourage members of the church who struggle with same sex attraction to feel at home. Our church beliefs on marriage haven’t change, but the way we include others has. I hope that every member and nonmember can be reminded that they too are a child of God.”


Since the reversal of the 2015 policy, we have seen many different responses to the church. A large congregation is in full support of Nelson’s revelation. Another portion of the church is angry that the policy was introduced in the first place.  An article by The Salt Lake Tribune entitled, ‘It hurt people’s hearts’ — How the LDS Church’s now-rescinded policy affected these LGBTQ believers and why the pain persists, shows both ends of the perspective well.

“When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rescinded that policy earlier this month, anger accompanied their elation, hurt tempered their happiness, bruises scarred any healing” (Salt Lake Tribune). The battle of doctrine and gay rights continues to persist and damage as time goes on. The growth of this conflict will continue to push children out of their homes and even to take their own lives. With the possible correlation of LGBT homeless youth and religious backgrounds we can potentially anticipate an increase in numbers. As a community we can come to the aid of those who need a roof over their head and people to love them unconditionally.


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Teen nicotine use in epidemic proportions

by Emerald Barney

SALT LAKE CITY – Teen usage of electronic cigarettes is expanding, with 3.6 million middle school and high school-aged teens confirming their usage in a survey conducted by the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) in 2018. The overall number of users has increased by 1.5 million since 2017, making electronic cigarettes the number one teen used tobacco and nicotine product.

Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, or vapes, were first introduced to the United States in 2007. Initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes gained popularity among those trying to quit smoking. With the option to choose the nicotine levels in the products, e-cigs made cutting back on the habit a reality. After surviving bans on sales, regulations, and research, e-cigarettes have seen enormous commercial growth. Roughly 10.8 million American adults currently use e-cigarettes, with more than half of them being under 35 years old.

New products emerging on the market are offering smaller devices, rechargeable batteries, and new flavors. These products are appealing new consumers into the market – many of whom never smoked in the first place, creating nicotine addictions that weren’t there to begin with. Younger e-cigarette users are more likely to become addicted to nicotine and have greater difficulty quitting. They are also nearly four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than those who do not use e-cigs. But e-cigs are becoming more popular among teens, 2018 saw a 78% increase in high school users, as it is seen as a social activity. Logan Loftis, a 19-year-old student at Utah State University does not own an e-cigarette but will vape when she’s with her friends. “People make fun of the ‘vape kids’ in high school, even though everyone does it,” she said. “It is seriously stigmatized. I think they are fun to use once in a while. They are quite comical too, but overall they can be fun to do tricks and ‘shotgun’ with friends.” Loftis recognizes the possible negative effects and is thankful she isn’t addicted to using an e-cig.

Many teens underestimate how addictive nicotine is and have low risk perceptions of products like e-cigarettes. Teens are more likely to experiment with different substances in their youth, especially if they believe that e-cigs are safer than cigarettes. Tau Mamata, 20, has been using a variety of e-cigarettes since he was 16 and purchased his own when he turned 19. “E-cigs don’t produce tar on the lungs. You’re not as likely to have lung or throat cancer,” he said.  “I just think they are overall safer, especially since you can control the amount of nicotine you inhale.” The NYTS found that 17.1 percent of teen users believe that “they are less harmful than other tobacco products such as cigarettes.”

One of Tau Mamata’s e-cigarettes photographed in April 2019. (AP Photo/Emerald Barney)

E-cigarettes don’t contain the carcinogens that tobacco cigarettes do, encouraging the belief that they are the safer option. However, e-cigarettes are not without toxins. Vape aerosol can contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, acrolein, and acetaldehyde – which are found in cigarette smoke and can cause irreversible lung damage. Nicotine can potentially harm adolescent brain development, particularly areas that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.

Some brands that are popular among kids, such as JUUL, deliver especially high levels of nicotine. Users may be getting a higher concentration of toxins due to the frequency and depth of the inhalation. According to the manufacturer of JUUL, a single pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Teens are especially susceptible to addiction to nicotine. The risks and lack of research regarding long term use are at the forefront of the restrictions and regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state lawmakers.

The FDA has developed the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, targeting the prevention of youth access to tobacco products, restricting advertisements of tobacco products aimed at youth, and educating teens about the dangers of e-cigarettes. The FDA encouraged restrictions to be placed on all flavored products, excluding tobacco, mint, and menthol. The restrictions would limit flavored products to be sold in age-restricted, in-person locations, and if sold online, require strict practices for age verification. Data from the NYTS shows that 31 percent of teens who used e-cigarettes cited the availability of flavors such as candy, fruit, and chocolate as a primary reason for their continued uses of the products.

In the 2019 Utah legislative session, HB252 proposed by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield), would impose an 86 percent tax on vaping products. Ray has been trying for several years to get a tax on e-cigarettes approved to discourage teen usage. If approved, the tax could potentially generate $23.6 million each year. However, the bill failed to make it through the state senate before the 2019 session ended.

Lewie Lambros, co-owner of Vapor Dreams in Bountiful, Utah, is adamant that HB252 would be destructive to business and encourages lawmakers to enforce online sale bans. “If that bill went through it would put the vapor industry out of business,” Lambros said. “Kids have dispensable money; they don’t have bills like adults do so it’s easier for them to come up with the money.” Lambros determines that the bill would hurt business and the consumers that the products are helping. He stated that the way to eliminate teen usage to enforce punishments on teens who are caught using e-cigarettes and make access online stricter.

Teen tobacco use was nearly eradicated, but now national concern rises once again about the safety and health of the youth. Reports like those conducted by the NYTS show the concerns are justified. E-cigarettes can help encourage adult smokers to a less harmful delivery system, it just should not be at the expense of exposing a new generation to the addiction of nicotine.