Published Articles

Many of my published articles were lost when the two statewide newspapers in West Virginia merged. However, I was able to track down some of them as reference to what my work was like during my high school journalism days.

West Virginia Gazette’s FlipSide Articles:

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/arts__entertainment/dylan-gardner-has-adventures-in-real-time-with-music-career/article_559d3129-c72c-59fa-8071-3d447785650d.html

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/tragedy-on-the-hill/article_1acceec8-f836-5779-8bf2-4322b3cf6eef.html

https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1P2-38695261/gw-students-close-to-completing-harvard-program

https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1P2-39406911/gwhs-gets-kooky-with-the-addams-family-musical

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/words-words-words-gw-graduate-reflects-on-career-writing-for/article_fff8ca0a-de92-5d15-8d14-9f72cff28970.html

Enterteenment News Articles

https://enterteenmentnews.com/fifthwave.html

https://www.enterteenmentnews.com/sloane.html

Context Statement:

This post provides a basis for my high school writing. My writing has developed so much since then, but it’s important to show items that I’ve had published to show that even when my writing wasn’t great, I did do a lot of it and it was published. Having it on my portfolio is vital for graduate schools as well as potential employers to see that I’ve been published before and what my writing is like.

Work Experiences

Team Member of the Atlanta Falcon’s Grassroots Marketing Team, the Bird Gang (June 2019-Present)

Marketing Intern for the Office of Internship & Career Development at Agnes Scott College; former Academic/Career Ambassador (September 2016-Present)

Staff Writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s FlipSide (August 2011-May 2016)

Staff Writer for Enterteenment News (May 2015-May 2017)

Intern for the West Virginia Department of Highways (May 2018-August 2018)

Sales Associate at Bath & Body Works (May 2017-August 2017)

 

 

 

Context Statement

These are highlighted jobs I’ve done in the past and jobs I’m currently doing. They’re in chronological order, showing where I was at different parts of my life. This is important for me to have on here, so someone doesn’t have to pull up my resume to see what I’ve done. It’s less detailed than a resume to be straight forward and to the point.

Rising Up with the Bird Gang

When people ask me what my favorite job I’ve done is, I usually tell them that I loved working for Bath & Body Works. It was a fun job that I always left smelling pleasant and the environment was always bubbly and bright, even on days when the sales made working there insanely crazy, it was still a wonderful job. It wasn’t until this past summer that my favorite job has changed to my most current one: being a part of the Bird Gang for the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons Bird Gang table at one of the numerous festivals around the metro Atlanta area. Photo by: Samira Shahbandy

Most weekends, I can be found at any number of events across the metro-Atlanta area at festivals or bars, representing a team that I only recently found myself supporting. (Note: This does not in any way mean that I enjoy the way they’ve been playing lately.) In any case, whether the team wins or loses, it’s always a great time to get out in the community, meet people I never would’ve met otherwise, and bond with my coworkers as we play cornhole and giant Jenga or toss footballs into an inflatable football toss. I never leave smelling nice as we spend most of our time in the blaring Atlanta heat, but it’s given me the opportunity to connect with people more than standing behind a cash register or helping someone find a fragrance that fit them best ever did.

Context Statement

This page highlights my job this semester. It’s helped me really develop a voice and has helped me to meet so many people in the metro-Atlanta area. This has helped my personal and professional growth by allowing me to use the voice I’ve developed while at Agnes Scott.

The Dove of Peace Mural in Derry, Northern Ireland

"The Dove of Peace" mural in Northern Ireland that represents peace. Photo by Samira Shahbandy.

Context Statement

This is one of my favorite murals in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland. I wanted it to be on my portfolio, because it means so much to me, as my Northern Ireland studies have been such an important aspect of my undergraduate studies. I've also been able to create copyright for the photo, which I previously didn't know to do.

The Kelly File

The Kelly File Powerpoint

Megyn Kelly: A Case Study

Up until August 2015, a lot of people didn’t really know Megyn Kelly’s name. She first came into light as being one of the commentators on the first 2016 Republican Presidential Debate. Being only one of three commentators wasn’t a big deal. It was when she asked Donald Trump about his attitude toward women that put her in the spotlight. From that moment on, she’s been branded with one of the most memorable moments of the 2016 Election. Although that’s what has put her in the public’s attention, she has done so much more in her career. To just identify her by that one moment in her career, would be an injustice to her. Kelly uses her role as a broadcast journalist to shine light upon issues regarding women. She discusses controversial issues and doesn’t stop pressing her interviewees until she gets answers. That in itself makes her a strong leader.

Although Kelly is not a feminist, she has frequently spoken up for women on broadcasts. Even though her moment with Donald Trump is quite significant in defining her as a leader or role model, she started her fight long before then. Throughout her career, she has worked to establish her voice in the world of journalism. She has worked to have her voice heard. Her battle to even become a journalist is admirable, because she never gave up on her dream—even after years of working in another field. Her fierce interviewing skills help her to be able to get answers that people want, and when they misspeak or say something that is not true or relevant, she interrupts and corrects them. Much like the work of Nancy Grace and Barbara Walters, Kelly gets serious with the issues. She discusses many difficult things, but her interviews are always full of detailed content that gets the stories told.

After Kelly graduated high school, she attended Syracuse University. She wanted to go into Public Communications, but wasn’t accepted into the program. Instead, Kelly decided to try her hand at Political Science. In 1992, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She went on to attend Albany Law School and planned on becoming a prosecutor for the district attorney’s office. However, she found herself in Chicago, working for Bickel and Brewer, a law firm, as an associate (“Megyn Kelly”). After her marriage to pain physician Dan Kendall in 2001, she began working as a corporate litigator for Jones Day, an internationally devised law firm, in its Chicago office. It wasn’t until Kelly moved to Washington, D.C. for her husband’s job that she realized she despised her job as a litigator. She knew her real dream was to be a journalist. Instead of simply sending in resumes to anyone that would take them, Kelly took it upon herself to record a news demo and call news stations to get her name, and her work, out there for people to see (“Megyn Kelly”). Finally, she was hired as a freelance reporter for a local D.C. TV news station. That opportunity led her to covering the 2004 Election. The experience mixed her two passions—political science and journalism. Later that year, she transitioned to working at FOX News, her first national news job. In 2006, she was moved to FOX News’s New York station, where she did Kelly’s Court, a show where she mixed her political science knowledge with journalism. In that time, she’d gotten divorced and remarried; she married novelist Douglas Brunt, with whom she has three kids. Two years later, FOX News had Kelly anchor America Live. The new show gave her the opportunity to establish herself as a journalist. The opportunity proved to be a lifechanging experience for Kelly. In establishing herself, FOX was impressed with her skills; Kelly could interrogate unlike any other news anchor. She had developed a fierceness that hadn’t been seen from a female news anchor. After doing that show for three years, FOX News gave Kelly her own show: The Kelly File, which airs every weeknight (“Megyn Kelly”).

On her show, Kelly shoots question after question. She refuses to take any disrespect from anyone. When people, particularly men, talk over her during her show, she politely attempts to speak over them until she’s able to be heard. Most people know Kelly for her mediation of the first Republican Debate of the 2016 Election, where Trump got offended by her ‘unfair’ questioning (Wattles, Stelter). While that was quite an important moment in her career, it’s not as dominating as her recent interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The interview, which took place this past October, was a very lively interview between the two.  In the interview, Gingrich claimed that Kelly was ‘fascinated with sex’ (Sinderbrand). For a moment, she was stunned. The look of pure surprise on her face clearly shows her surprise by the comment. Kelly then responded that she was not, but she was fascinated by ‘the protection of women’ (Sinderbrand). Gingrich continues bombarding Kelly with accusations, ranting about having President Bill Clinton back in the East Wing, how he’s a ‘predator’ (Sinderbrand). Over and over again, Kelly tried to interject that she has discussed that on a previous episode of The Kelly File, but Gingrich is on such a tangent, he doesn’t stop. Upon realizing this, Kelly simply stops; she doesn’t fight or shout. She straightens her posture, says, “He’s not on the ticket.” Then, to top the fiery interview off, Kelly confidently says, “…you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here” (Sinderbrand). The interview itself may simply look like a hissy fit, but it is so much more than that. In the brief, less than two-minute interaction of an interview, Kelly speaks out for women and points out that President Clinton was not on the ticket—his wife was—and he would just be a husband in the White House, which is something that had been quite controversial during the election. This moment is monumental, because a woman stood up to a former Speaker of the House, a man of power, on national, live television. More so than that, she was telling him that on a predominately Republican news station. Telling a conservative to work on his anger issues on live television on a Republican station is a very bold move, especially for a woman to do.

The interview is intense. It is a perfect depiction of what Kelly does on her show. It shows how she gracefully speaks up against injustices. She’s known for using her show to get the tough questions answered, no matter what cost. On the page with Sinderbrand’s article, she had posted a few tweets. They claim that Newt ‘won’ the battle against Kelly, but that doesn’t seem likely. Gingrich was corrected; his interview ended with a snide comment from Kelly. She let him say his share, but she countered him at every point he made—especially when they were incorrect points. Her condescending tone throughout the interview was steady, despite showing that initial moment of surprise when he made the accusation about her ‘fascination with sex’ (Sinderbrand). Kelly knows that men are dominating the field of broadcast journalism and that they are a rather large part of politics; they always have been, yet she doesn’t let that stop her. Whether it was against Gingrich or Trump, she made it clear that she would not back down from a fight. In both situations, she stood up for women and made a point to say that she was doing so. Unlike other women in her field, she focuses on the political aspect and she does it aggressively. She fights the stereotype that women in media are just pretty faces, because she’s got the brains and the willpower to defy the stereotype. Kelly has even acknowledged the gender gap in journalism by saying, “My fellow female journalists in particular are held to a different standard than our male counterparts. Tough questioning from a woman often leads to charges that she’s ‘shrill’” (Cotliar, Hamm). Yet she asks tough questions anyway. In the interview with Gingrich, she stood her ground and continued to ask the tough questions, because she needed and wanted answers. Had she been a male journalist, Gingrich probably would’ve listened to her. Of course, had she been a male journalist, the odds of her fighting for women on a Republican news station are a bit slim. Kelly has also mentioned that her husband and boss, both male supporters of her (Coltiar, Hamm). She has a support system, which is always a good thing to have—particularly because she’s a broadcast journalist who doesn’t back down from a fight.

Her fearlessness in her interviews, and especially in the interview against Gingrich, could be credited as a trait from her mother. Kelly’s father passed away when she was in high school. Her mother was raising three kids in school, two of which were in college, and she succeeded in getting by on what little income she had. Her mother is a motivator for her. If it wasn’t her mother that has influenced her incredibly powerful interviewing skills, it could be the bullying she endured in her childhood (Dickinson). Whatever the cause, whatever the motivation, Kelly has clearly used it to her advantage. She uses her interviewees’ displeasure as fuel for her interviews. When they attempt to knock her down, to silence her, she doesn’t quiet down. If she does, like she did in the interview with Gingrich, she speaks up after the interviewee is finished with a voice ten times louder, with a revived tone. Perhaps writing about it isn’t as effective, but watching her as she goes through her interviews is incredibly captivating. Her relentlessness is what makes them stand out, because they’re unlike any other journalist. Nancy Grace and Barbara Walters are two broadcast journalists that come to mind when thinking of women in journalism. Nancy Grace was tough, but she was just loud and obnoxious. Barbara Walters got her answers to questions by being strong in her questioning, but she also had an elegance about her. Combine those two women and you have an insight into what Kelly does.

She’s got the fierceness of Grace with the class of Walters. That will be her legacy. She will be known as the woman who countered Donald Trump, but she will also be known as an intelligent, determined journalist who knew how to get the job done. In doing so, she will be known for standing up for injustices, standing up for women. She was the voice of women in the 2016 Presidential Election. She will be known for interviewing some of the most powerful men in the country—and getting results in those interviews. Her style is a defining moment for women in journalism, because it shows that women can be strong, independent thinkers and that they can challenge even the most powerful men. Kelly is a strong female leader, because she uses her role as a broadcast journalist to shine light upon major political issues that most women in media wouldn’t go near. She discusses controversial issues and doesn’t stop pressing her interviewees until she gets answers of substance. Even though she may come off as a bit harsh, she is a brilliant journalist who uses her position to its fullest potential. By doing so, she’s taking another step to narrow the gender gap in journalism, because as long as Megyn Kelly is working as a journalist, there will be someone to put up a fight for women in the news.

 

Works Cited

Cotliar, Sharon, and Liza Hamm. “The Change Makers.” Good Housekeeping, Nov. 2015, pp. 42–53. Galileo, eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?sid=964c10ed-0cbc41e49704bcdcf934dffd%40sessionmgr4007&vid=8&hid=4105&bdata=jnnpdgu9zwrzlwxpdmu%

d#an=110125704&db=a9h.

Dickinson, Ben. “How Fox’s Megyn Kelly Got to the Top, and Why She’s Probably There to Stay.” ELLE, Hearst Communications, Inc., 29 Mar. 2016, www.elle.com/culture/careerpolitics/interviews/a12652/megyn-kelly-profile/.

“Megyn Kelly.” Bio.com, A&E Networks Television, www.biography.com/people/megyn-kelly-041216.

Sinderbrand, Rebecca. “’You Are Fascinated with Sex’: That Megyn Kelly-Newt Gingrich Showdown Was One for the Ages.” Washington Post, The Washington Post, 26 Oct.   2016, www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/25/you-are-fascinated-with– sex-that-megyn-kelly-newt-gingrich-showdown-was-one-for-the-ages/.

Wattles, Jackie, and Brian Stelter. “Megyn Kelly: I Didn’t ‘Attack’ Trump at the GOP Debate.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 9 Aug. 2015,        money.cnn.com/2015/08/09/media/megyn-kelly-donald-trump/.

 

Bibliography

“Donald Trump Tries to Defend His Offensive Rhetoric on Women,” director. New Republic,2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy0wxd9g_dg.

“Megyn Kelly.” Fox News, FOX News Network, www.foxnews.com/person/k/megynkelly.html.

Peretz, Evgenia. “Blowhards, Beware: Megyn Kelly Will Slay You Now.” The Hive, Condé  Nast, 4 Jan. 2016, www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/12/megyn-kelly-fox-news-cover   -story.

Rutenberg, Jim. “The Megyn Kelly Moment.” The New York Times, 21 Jan. 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/magazine/the-megyn-kelly-moment.html

Setoodeh, Ramin. “Megyn Kelly.” Variety, vol. 331, no. 11, 5 Apr. 2016, Galileo, eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=14&sid=964c10ed-0cbc-41e4-9704bcdcf934dffd%40sessionmgr4007&hid=4105&bdata=jnnpdgu9zwrzlwxpdmu%3d#an=14312326&db=f3h, pp. 54–55.

Context Statement

This assignment was from my first semester at Agnes Scott. It allows my progression of writing from my first semester to my most recent, which is something I want seen on my portfolio. I only edited the post by removing a photo that didn’t have proper copyright.

My Leadership Narrative

Leadership is often seen as leading others in a task. In some cases, that’s true, but it’s not true in every situation. For me, leadership is being able to have enough confidence in yourself and others to be able to support others as well as yourself.

When I reflect on my personality, I can identify and recognize characteristics of leaders; I’m bossy, stubborn, and immensely determined. That being said, I wanted to write about a time I showed leadership, but I can’t think of any time in my life that I considered myself a leader or in a leadership role. That may be clouded by the fact that the word ‘leadership’ is often associated with the concept of being someone who leads. Through StrengthsQuest I learned that I do have leadership skills, but my problem is using them. I identified with having a couple of the skills the test gave me, but I didn’t really see them as leadership skills; however, I would like to put those skills to action and become a leader.

Although the StrengthsQuest gave me my top five leadership skills, I would like to develop more. In my journey, be it at Agnes Scott or in life in general, I would like to develop optimism. One of my StrengthsQuest leadership skills was being an achiever, which is me all the way; I will get the job done at any cost. The downside to that, however, is that I’m quite pessimistic. I tend to obsess over tasks—even after they’re finished. I always think I’m going to do the worst job in the world, which is a very limited notion. I would like to be so optimistic that I could work better with others, that I could take a breath and believe everything will work out for the better. Optimism is a key leadership quality, because leading requires positivity and encouragement not just for those being led, but for the leader as well.

Optimism would help me to become a solid, inspiring leader. My goal is to become a human rights attorney, because I want to change the injustices I’ve grown up witnessing. In order to fight injustices, I would have to be optimistic; I would need to believe that it is possible for injustices to be rectified. If I could make a difference in at least one person’s life, I would be in content. That’s all I want, which sounds incredibly cliché, but it’s true. Helping one person in a difficult or helpless-feeling situation is better than not being able to help anyone.

It could be argued that human rights lawyers do in fact change the world, that they are heroes in the eyes of many. It is possible to be a human rights lawyer that changes the world. In that aspect, I typically think of Amal Clooney, because she’s done so much in the field, including fighting Armenian genocide. She’s a strong female leader involved in cases in countries where women don’t have many, if any, rights; sometimes, she’s not even allowed in the countries, but she continues the fight. She’s a determined, well-spoken and well-rounded lawyer. I don’t want to be her, but to be like her would be a life goal of mine.

In my eyes, a liberal arts education is the best way to achieve that. From what I’ve witnessed through my short experience with Agnes Scott, liberal arts colleges don’t just believe in a certain curriculum, they believe in their students. A liberal arts education can not only help students see their leadership skills, it can help students develop and use them. Liberal arts learning can give students a strong sense of leadership and show them how they can use that later on in life. In my case, that would be taking my stubbornness and determination to represent a person or cause, to help someone who wouldn’t know how to stand up to their government or help themselves.

I’m not much of a leader at the moment, but I endeavor to become one. I want to learn how my leadership skills can strengthen, how I can develop more of them, and how to put those skills to use. I don’t have many realistic dreams in this world, but making a difference in this world by becoming a human rights attorney is one of them. It’s been my dream for quite some time now, so I’m hoping that by becoming a leader, I’ll be one step closer to achieving my dream.