What resonated the most with me was a line from one of Managing Editor Stephanie Kuo’s first emails: “It truly takes a village.” I did not understand what she meant until the first day of Next Generation Radio, and I kept thinking about that all week. 

Interviewing a person like Marentes, who has spent most of his life advocating for others, only reinforces my love for journalism and helps me better understand my role in my community. We all have to do our part to create a better functioning community. Just as Steph said, “it truly takes a village.” 

I am not going to lie, I was very nervous on Sunday night, “What if I don’t understand anything or if they regret choosing me by Monday morning?” But everyone in the project was so NICE, humble, helpful, and most importantly, everyone shared their best tips to get things done better and faster – which I think is incredible. It goes back to the core mission of this program: learning and creating the next generation of storytellers.

At times, it gets overwhelming, but by the end of the week, you walk away with so much knowledge – not only the “technical stuff” but also the stuff you learn from just being and working around others. 

I think something that inspired me to apply this year was the topic. I myself still can’t make up my own definition of what it means to be American. I am not quite sure, especially as an immigrant, working to stay in this country through constantly applying for visas, changing status, etc. Still, I am confident that this program made me more confident of what I am capable of, and I hope one day I can help someone apply just as a mentor did for me.