Like most students, Haley Gerken came to Wittenberg University unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. It only took one class with Associate Professor of English D'Arcy Fallon for Gerken to realize she wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
"I've always had a passion for writing because it comes easily to me, so I decided to take an English 180 class with Dr. Fallon and I was immediately hooked," Gerken said.
Her passion and gift for writing came at an early age. She credits her father for cultivating her interest.
"He was always inspiring me to express myself creatively," Gerken said. "He made it known to me that having your own distinct voice in this nation is hard to come by so he gave me a thesaurus at a very young age to help expand my knowledge and vocabulary."
With a simple gift like a thesaurus, Gerken has developed a knack for writing. She continues to hone her craft daily at Wittenberg, where writing skills are developed across the curriculum. She has taken her education further early in her senior year at Wittenberg, landing an internship as a staff writer for the Springfield News-Sun.
"I am a general assignment reporter, and I cover any and all types of beats," Gerken said. "It's been a great experience thus far. I have gotten a lot of good feedback on my writing, and I'm getting better every day."
Gerken had three stories published in the first two weeks of the internship, covering such topics as a community talent show, a spelling bee fundraiser and a vegetable garden at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is used to support those in need. Gerken will continue to write two stories a week for the Springfield News-Sun through the end of the semester.
When she's not pouring her thoughts onto paper and meeting deadlines, Gerken is very involved on campus. Gerken is currently the sports editor of The Torch, Wittenberg's student-run campus newspaper, and she is involved with the Tiger Sports Network, which broadcasts various campus athletics events. In addition, Gerken is a member of the Student Advisory Group for the Department of English and the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society, and she has earned three varsity letters playing for Wittenberg's softball team.
"I was always busy in high school and I carried that mentality with me to Witt," Gerken said. "I feel that the busier and more involved I am the more likely I am to meet more people, establish more connections, and ultimately be more successful."
Gerken plans to pursue a career in journalism after she graduates in May 2010. Her heart is set on attending graduate school at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, one of the most renowned journalism programs in the nation.
"With a career in journalism, you kind of have to start at the bottom and work your way up," she said. "I feel the more experience I get writing and working, the better chance I have to land a career with a prominent publication for the rest of my life."
- Written by Trent Brunic '10
- Photo by Erin Pence