The Collegian has provided a place for hundreds of students to hone their skills in writing, design and photography for the past 30 years.
Working on The Collegian has given staffers a variety of valuable skills—both professional and practical.
These skills, such as working under deadlines, collaborating on articles, conducting interviews and using Associated Press style, have given staffers many opportunities to build their resumes and further their careers.
Elena Hines Meadows, a 2002 graduate, worked as a staff writer for three and a half years.
“I enjoyed taking the proofs to the press and also remember waiting out behind the dorms for public safety to let us in when we would have late-night production weekends,” she said.
Meadows is the managing editor of the Three Rivers Commercial-News—a small paper in southwest Michigan where she uses editing, writing and photography skills.
Molly Jasinski worked for The Collegian as a staff writer her junior year and then as editor-in-chief her senior year. She graduated in 2010.
Now, as an associate editor for Taste of Home cookbooks, Jasinski appreciates the leadership skills she learned while on staff.
“Becoming editor-in-chief was a crash course in leadership for me,” she said.
Colin Landry, a 1997 graduate, was a sportswriter for The Collegian for the second semester of his sophomore year.
“Probably what I valued most about The Collegian was the friends I made while I was on staff,” Landry said.
He met his wife on The Collegian and said several other staffers were in their wedding. Landry is now a pastor in Boston.
Kelley Bruss worked on The Collegian for two years—one year as a staff writer from 1994-1995, the next year as copy editor from 1995-1996.
Bruss appreciates the relationships she formed through The Collegian, including her best friend.
“The closeness is one of the most important parts of college—being connected around the same thing,” Bruss said.
Bob Bierman joined the staff in spring of 1991—back when The Collegian issues were prepared and transported to the print shop on literal boards rather than digitally.
By January 1992, he was the editor of The Collegian. Bierman said the paper was a decisive part in getting his first post-college job.
He said, “[A PR agency] decided that in addition to my writing experience (thank you, Collegian), my skills in photography and desktop publishing were just passable enough to give me a job over a long line of other PR people who were begging for work.”
He has worked as general manager for The Washington Post Live.
Today, he advises media companies such as The Economist and AOL Tech’s Engadget Group, among others.
Samantha Nieves, who graduated in 2014, served on The Collegian for two years—one year as a staff writer and copy editor and the next year as editor-in-chief.
During the summer of 2014, she had the opportunity to intern with Revive Our Hearts at the ministry’s headquarters in Niles, Michigan.
“Hands down, my experience on The Collegian staff is the number one thing that prepared me for that internship,” Nieves said.
Today, she writes for social media, edits and writes titles for True Woman, and writes blog posts for the Lies Young Women Believe blog.
Brandon Hodnett started on The Collegian as a sports writer his freshman year. During second semester of his sophomore year, he became sports editor. He became editor his senior year and graduated in the spring of 2011.
Now, Hodnett works as the director of Athletics Communications at Swarthmore College, a highly ranked liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.
“Skills I developed while working on The Collegian have certainly been important for me professionally,” he said.
Some of the skills he learned include working under deadlines, conducting interviews, managing staffs, designing publications and using the Associated Press style.
Josh Frederick, a 2014 graduate, was a designer for The Collegian from February 2012 to May 2014.
“Working as a designer on The Collegian gave me the foundation to work on large projects involving many moving parts,” he said.
“I learned how to work and collaborate alongside people with other skill-sets to create a cohesive product.”
Frederick currently works as a design specialist at the BJU Press.
Brannon McAllister was recruited in early 2000 by his friend Jon Kopp, who was handling ad design at the time.
The Collegian needed someone to draw the cartoon, so McAllister filled the position as comic artist.
“My memories of The Collegian are a series of vignettes––my gray translucent iMac, coffee mugs, coffee stained papers, pizza boxes,” he said.
McAllister said he remembers being in the office on the night of the Bush-Gore election, listening to all the uncertainty play out on NPR.
Pam Banegas was a photographer for The Collegian before she graduated in 2008.
“The Collegian brought me out of my comfort zone,” Banegas said. “With a camera in hand I could talk to anybody without hesitation.”
Hannah Stanley graduated from BJU in 2013 and is currently a graphic designer at Frontline Education where she works on projects for the marketing department.
During her time on The Collegian, Stanley worked as a designer and became editor.
“The experience from being editor has allowed me to contribute copy and more than just design expertise to my work,” Stanley said.
“Collaboration and working on a team in The Collegian office was also an invaluable experience of being a team player and working closely with others to successfully complete projects.”
Former editor Ryan Fisher graduated in 2006 with a public relations journalism degree.
Currently, Fisher is a PR and Communications Manager at Leidos, a $10 billion science and technology company with 33,000 employees.
“In addition to my job at Leidos,” he said, “I’m a pastor at Redeemer Bible Church in Brighton, Colorado.”
Other staffers have benefited from their Collegian experience. Percy Chow is a creative director for ServicemMax. He majored in graphic design with a minor in business and graduated in 1992.
Don Harrelson, also a 1992 BJU graduate, is currently using his communication skills as an editor, Bible teacher and pastor.
Reina Perez, who graduated with the class of 2015, is now an event coordinator with marketing and events at the BJU Press.
“Collegian helped me learn how to talk to people, which helps me a lot in my job now,” she said.
Several former Collegian staffers are now working in news organizations.
Nate Cary is a reporter for The Greenville News.
Natalie Walters works at The Street, an online business publication in NYC.
Ariel Turner is a reporter with Community Journals, a 100 percent local publishing group in Greenville.