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, recapped sports games, hit the streets of Sacramento seeking people’s health care stories 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. Last year, my story unveiling a leaked report about Harvey Mudd College, which criticized the school’s overly demanding workload, caused classes to be canceled for two days 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.
Right now, I’m spending the semester 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. During the school year, I’ve been a reporter, news editor and managing editor for The Student Life, the newspaper of the Claremont Colleges. I also cover local news and write features for The Claremont Courier, the city’s local paper.
Here, I’ve compiled some of my best work throughout my time in journalism. Enjoy.