I’m Kellen, a journalist from Davis, California, and a junior at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Throughout my five years of high school, college and professional journalism, I’ve eagerly pursued breaking news, dug deeply into the intricacies of school teacher salaries, hit the streets of Sacramento seeking people’s health care stories, interviewed senators in Washington, D.C., and covered a raging wildfire that surged through a Northern California town.
But the real reason I’m a journalist — as I told 6,000 high school journalists during a speech in Seattle in 2017 — is that I’ve seen the impact my stories can have. In 2014, I wrote an article detailing how a high school’s lack of a communal building to eat lunch in during rainy weather segregated disabled students; months later, the school board approved construction of a new $8 million building. In 2017, my story unveiling a leaked report about Harvey Mudd College, which criticized the school’s overly demanding workload, caused the administration to to cancel classes and pledge to address the curriculum after student protests. Stories like these inspire me to continue writing and reporting as I seek to give voice to the voiceless, monitor power and empower readers.
This summer, I’ll be an intern at The Boston Globe. But right now, I’m the editor-in-chief of The Student Life, the newspaper of the Claremont Colleges. I oversee our weekly print production, edit stories, make ethical decisions and manage our business team, all while working to cover five colleges and two sports teams. Last semester, I was in Washington, D.C., covering Washington state and Idaho politics on Capitol Hill for McClatchy. This past summer, I was a breaking news and local government reporter at The Sacramento Bee. In 2017, I wrote about health policy and politics for Kaiser Health News’ Sacramento bureau.
Here, I’ve compiled some of my best work throughout my time in journalism. Enjoy.