Katie Sobalsky '08
Creating Change Through Writing
It is not unusual to see senior Katie Sobalsky walking around campus with a camera in her hands, ready for the next big story to emerge. As co-editor of The Mountaineer—the college’s student newspaper—Katie spends a lot of time observing the intricacies of campus life, not wanting to miss a single opportunity for a good story. Though her natural curiosity drives her, her love for writing and her desire to create change through the written word are what truly motivate her.
As a first grader, this Clinton, CT native made a decision that many forty-year-olds are still trying to figure out—she chose her future career. “I’ve always loved writing, so I just knew that I was going to be a writer,” Katie says. Her focus has been refined as she has gained experience. “I realized that I wasn’t as good at long term assignments,” she admits, “and then I saw how much of a huge impact news reports can have on how society views the world. The media gives you a lot of power to do good if your heart is in the right place.”
Thanks to these realizations, Katie has found her prime interest—journalism.
Though technically an environmental studies major (with only a minor in communications), Katie has pursued this interest throughout college. Katie’s work for The Mountaineer over the past three years has given her experience writing and editing articles, as well as formatting the newspaper as a whole.
Her internship with the local Rutland Herald has also helped her hone her journalist skills. Among other things, Katie has written a handful of articles on volunteers in the Rutland area. “I really enjoy doing profile pieces on people because it gives me the excuse to sit down with somebody totally random and just listen to their story,” she says. Katie has even launched her own blog for the paper in which she discusses environmental and community-related issues.
After expressing her interest in human rights issues to Professor John Nassivera recently, Katie got yet another opportunity to use her writing skills to create change. Katie will be working on press releases for the upcoming performance “Speak Truth to Power,” directed by Prof. Nassivera. This play is composed of the actual words of human rights activists worldwide, and will be raising money for the organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
“The idea is for me to write a few articles on international students on campus who have experienced human rights violations,” Katie says, “as well as to get the outside community to come and support the organizations.”
For an environmental studies internship this past summer, Katie traveled to Alaska where she blogged about her experiences and interviewed people in the community about a variety of issues, including the sustainability of fishing practices in the area.
In the future, Katie would like to continue this kind of work. Ultimately, she wants to explore as much of the world as possible as a freelance journalist, so she can better understand how people relate to their environments.