Rollins

Finding a Voice

December 19, 2023

By Rob Humphreys ’16MBA

Student in WPRK studio
Photo by Scott Cook.

On the first floor of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, four student-run media outlets are paving the way for professional success in myriad roles and industries.

“Alone, you go faster. Together, you go further.” Musenya Ngoma ’23 lived by this motto while serving as station manager of WPRK 91.5 FM.

“The station was more than a place of work,” he explains. “It was a united family brought together by a common goal of reaching greater heights.”

It’s a sentiment that encapsulates the spirit and purpose of the first floor of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, where four student-run media outlets—WPRK, The Sandspur, The Independent, and Brushing—provide students with applied learning experiences that complement their areas of study.

Take Ngoma, for example. The computer science major leveraged his coding skills to develop a mobile app for WPRK that live-streams content and offers access to featured podcasts. Or English and theatre double major Allison Wilson ’20, who parlayed three years as submissions editor at Brushing to land an editorial assistant role at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Research shows that students who engage in these types of programs are able to better connect their academic experiences with their goals and interests in life after college,” says Micki Meyer, Lord Family assistant vice president for engagement and dean of Rollins Gateway.

Kathleen W. Rollins Hall is a central hub for melding the ethos of a liberal arts education with high-impact programs that teach leadership skills and open doors for productive careers. Student media, in particular, has advanced the cause with collaborative spaces and tech upgrades like a screening room and podcast studio that provide students even more opportunities to apply their skills in hands-on settings.

Students working on The Sandspur at KWR
Photo by Scott Cook.

The Sandspur

Ellie Rushing ’19 fondly recalls how she “worked tirelessly on the student newspaper” for two years as editor-in-chief, “bringing news and investigations to the forefront and revamping its digital presence.” Leveraging that hands-on experience helped land her on a desk at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she now reports on issues of criminal justice.

WPRK 91.5 FM

“The best in basement radio” has given scores of Rollins DJs a launchpad to careers in radio and media. “My time at WPRK was crucial to my career development,” says Maria Paz Gutierrez ’16, a former associate producer at NPR who now works at Radiolab in New York City. “It helped me develop my own voice as a creative person in audio production and journalism.”

Student holding The Independent
Photo by Scott Cook.

The Independent

Three years as a writer and editor at The Independent, Rollins’ student-run magazine, prepared Emory O’Malley ’21 for his current job as an editorial specialist at meal-delivery company Purple Carrot. “Helming The Independent taught me so much about fostering a creative, collaborative community of thinkers,” he says. “Now, I get to develop the same positive culture with my teammates.”

Brushing

The student-run Brushing arts and literary journal helps students gain skills in visual and verbal communication while nurturing their creativity and critical thinking. “My tenure as editor-in-chief propelled me down a path to becoming a better storyteller fueled by passion, positivity, and purpose,” says Siobhan Cooney ’22, who now works as a communications associate at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

Rollins students walking to class.

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