Shania is a rising high school senior who spent the summer exploring journalism, creative writing, and podcasts.

Shania (Class of 2027) is entering her senior year of high school with big goals in mind. Her favorite activities are reading and writing, and she hopes to become an author or journalist. This summer, she found ways to develop these passions.

Truth in Journalism

Shania recently completed the Young Women’s Leadership Institute at Barnard College. It is a three-week summer program that explores different topics through the lens of feminism. In her class Writing Harlem, Shania researched the history of the Black women of Harlem’s so-called “crime scene.” She argued that crime is more complicated than just right or wrong, and that often, these women’s acts were necessary for their survival.

Shania uses projects like this to explain her motivation for wanting to be a journalist. “Journalism can be used to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves,” she said. “History is often written by those who are in charge. It’s up to us to find the truth or even just hear the other side of the story.”

Leadership in Action

Shania took another course at YWLI called Leadership in Action. Her classmates discussed what it means to be a leader in today’s world and how to solve issues that are important to them. The issue she focused on was quality education for students of color in NYC.

Being a leader also means looking at an issue from all sides. A solution to an issue may not be accessible to everyone who needs it. “Sometimes you get so wrapped up in trying to solve the issue that you don’t consider the different [perspectives],” Shania explained. “Leadership requires creativity.” A few solutions she came up with to improve education equity were increased funding for public schools and more extracurricular opportunities for students.

Preparing for College

Shania is taking what she learned at YWLI, like how to advocate for herself, wherever she goes next. For example, she had wanted to join a spoken word club at school but felt like she wasn’t good enough for it. She is willing to give it a try during senior year. “I’m realizing that it’s okay if you don’t know what you’re doing at first,” Shania says. “You learn as you go.”

Shania is starting the college application process and visiting campuses this fall. She sets her sights on majoring in English, journalism, or creative writing, and possibly interning at a newspaper. She also plans on starting a newsletter or podcast to build her portfolio. Overall, she has a positive outlook on her future. “No matter what you do in your life, you have to start somewhere,” Shania said. “There’s no need to rush or worry about not feeling like you’re good enough.”

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