Connected to Buckeyes ‘even half a world away’
This alumna connects with a current student on their common ground of journalism, the pandemic, Ohio State traditions and day-to-day life.
When my former journalism professor Nicole Kraft put out a call on Twitter asking people to volunteer as subjects for her students’ semester-long project, I immediately offered to help. Sixteen months after graduating from Ohio State’s journalism program, I found myself stuck back home in the Philippines, my life — like so many of yours — upended by COVID-19 lockdowns.
In December 2019, I had come to visit family for the holidays, thinking I would return to my apartment, car and job in Columbus within a few months. Then the virus shut the world down.
Soon after I volunteered for the project, Janie Eyerman, a third-year journalism student, contacted me and asked if she could chronicle my COVID-19 experiences in the Philippines. I was excited to connect with and help a fellow budding journalist.
Beginning in August 2020, Janie and I spoke over FaceTime every few weeks. From the start, our conversations were more like the kind you have with friends rather than a formal interview. She liked hearing about my life during lockdown, and I enjoyed learning about her experiences as a student in Columbus dealing with the pandemic. We bonded over our favorite Buckeye traditions.
Janie and I have concluded our interviews, but we still swap updates by text: She was excited to hear about the fundraiser I organized after a typhoon hit the Philippines. (Several of my Ohio State classmates donated.) She told me she might add another major. We made plans to meet up for coffee in post-pandemic times.
I was excited to see how Janie portrayed my pandemic experience, and as you can see in her story, she did a wonderful job. I’m so grateful for our conversations. They made me feel closer to the Buckeye community, even half a world away.
Since she and I conversed for her assignment, I have taken a job as a culture and outdoors reporter for The Arizona Republic. As a member of an all-woman team, I am writing about Southwest culture and history with a focus on indigenous and Latin American communities and public lands. There are so many opportunities to tell all kinds of stories, and I welcome fellow Buckeyes to read some of mine. Arizona is awesome. I feel like I belong here, and I’m happy to say that I have already met some fellow Buckeye alumni.
Connect with students
The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Office of Volunteer Relations offers alumni a range of ways to pay forward to current students and reap the rich rewards of helping others. Virtual opportunities allow you to volunteer wherever you are.