Taylor Yon: Eyeing an FBI career

By Sebastian Germosen
Archbishop Molloy High School

Taylor Yon wants to perfect her journalism skills and use them for a career in the FBI.

“I have always had a passion for writing, and I enjoy putting all of my thoughts on paper, and journalism gave me the opportunity to write in a way that could be read and informing,” said the 16-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Taylor’s experience in high school, scene of a massacre in  February, has driven her desire to become a part of the FBI.

Though she has no role models in the journalism industry, Taylor admires and respects The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian. She also watches CNN for news and inspiration for her writing.

Taylor has achieved academic success in high school, where she has taken advanced classes such as AP World History and French 2. This year, she will take AP Biology, AP Psychology and AP Language Arts. She said that these subjects will help “broaden my horizon.”

Taylor writes for her school newspaper, Eagle Eye. She is active in health and fitness clubs and enjoys many hobbies and activities, including soccer and tennis, taking hot yoga classes with her best friend and reading.

Taylor’s friends describe her as very outgoing and adventurous, due to her love of trying new  things. Her friends go to her for help with all academic subjects except for math. Taylor’s family [Note: all, who?]  describes her as a person who loves to travel and broaden her horizons by learning about different cultures.

Despite her interest in writing, Taylor wants to attend the University of Maryland or Penn State and major in criminal justice to achieve her goal of becoming an FBI agent.

Attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas — where a gunman killed 17 students and faculty — hasn’t been easy for the students, including Taylor. She has used the shooting as an opportunity to expand her interest in journalism and writes stories beyond the scope of her school.

“The whole world was looking to us, and journalism was an outlet that showed the world we are more than a school shooting,” Taylor said.

When asked about her stance on gun control after the shooting, she said her belief is that people should not have access to assault rifles unless they are in law enforcement.

“I am not anti all guns,” she said. “I strongly believe in the Second Amendment as well, but assault rifles to me are a weapon of war and all they do is cause mass destruction to our country.”

Taylor sees the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists as a great opportunity for her to showcase her passion for journalism and to learn new things about the industry. Taylor learned about the program when her newspaper adviser, Melissa Falkowski, told her and her friend Zoe Gordon about it.

“I was and still am so excited to learn and grow from this program,” Taylor said. “I want to learn as much as I can while I’m there.”

Christian Miller: A journey through filmmaking

By Nijha Young
Baldwin High School

Christian Miller has showed interest in film since he began shooting YouTube videos on a friend’s channel in seventh grade.

Christian, a rising senior at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, was responsible for creating scripts and directing short comedy videos for the channel.

The oldest of four children, Christian has continued cultivating his interest in film throughout his high school years. On top of balancing a class schedule consisting of Creative Writing, Speech, AP Literature and U.S. History, among other courses, Christian contributed to the school’s newspaper and broadcasting department for the past three years.

Though Christian’s early film work focused mainly on comedy, his style expanded to various genres and perspectives over time.

“He goes through a variety of different things,” explained Andrea Miller, his mother. “Sometimes he’ll write from more of a historical, social studies, even current events nature and then it’s a little more straight-laced.”

Although Christian hopes to continue working on comedic movies in the future, Mrs. Miller said that he is also the type of person who is often willing to “try anything new.”

The West Islip teen’s experience, however, is not limited to what goes on behind the scenes of a production. Christian has also acted in a number of short films in addition to school productions like “The Music Man.”

The next step for Christian is deciding where to pursue his aspiration. At the moment, he is interested in attending Hofstra University or the University of Rhode Island. Whichever college Christian chooses, his field of study is not in doubt.

“I decided to stick with filming just because it made me happy when I did it with my friends,” Christian said.

Lauren Nicks: Writing to make a difference

By Emily Bishop
The Stony Brook School

Acting was Lauren Nicks’ passion through middle and high school. However, during preparations for her eighth-grade performance in “Bye Bye Birdie,” she realized that she wasn’t as interested in acting as she was with the popularity that it offered.

“I started to look at acting as superficial, and I wanted to do something that would actually mean something to people and could actually help,” she said.

The 17-year-old senior at Baldwin High School looked to be a positive influence in her community. Friends and family suggested she consider becoming a journalist, so she began considering the possibility. The idea took hold while she was watching a news report two years ago.

“I was sitting at the dining room table, and there was this story on ABC News with Diane Sawyer,” Lauren said. “And she was in a different country, in the Middle East, and I was like ‘You know, I think I kind of want to do something like that. Go overseas, meet new people, and hear their stories.’ ”

Lauren was inspired to join her school newspaper, The Golden Wave, and eventually became a layout editor. There she not only developed her abilities as a photographer but also interviewed people and learned valuable listening skills.

“I’ve read her article on Black Lives Matter, and one thing I can say about her is that she is very involved in finding the truth and making sure often ignored stories are heard,” said her mom, Nakesha Nicks. She also praised Lauren’s curiosity and drive, qualities that she believes make Lauren a good fit for a career in journalism. Lauren says her parents have always supported her journalistic journey, as has her younger brother, Justin.

Lauren says that the main reason for her pursuit of journalism comes from her desire to connect with people and share their lives with the world. “What I really like is getting to know people, getting to hear their stories, getting to spread their stories, stories that need to be heard,” she said.

When one of her teachers set up a TV studio, Lauren was thrilled to be a part of that as well. Whether standing in front of a screen or delivering her school’s morning announcements for “Good Morning Baldwin,” she was delighted to be gaining more journalism experience.

Beside journalism, Lauren’s main interest is reading. As a child, she was mesmerized by the Harry Potter books and claims that reading those stories fostered her English skills and pushed her to become a better writer. She continues to search for books that transport her to different worlds and engage her imagination.

When Lauren learned about Stony Brook University’s Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, she applied because she believed it would improve her writing and networking skills.

Lauren knows she would like to attend New York University, but she is unsure about whether to pursue journalism in college. She hopes her week with the Greene Team will make her decision easier.

“I’m going to figure out if it’s something that I want to pursue later on,” she said. “Other people have been telling me that I was a good fit for journalism, but being here, I want to find it out for myself.”

Learning about conducting a perfect interview

Waking up at 6 A.M. today did not feel so good. However, after eating a quick breakfast, my brain finally had some power to push through the day.

We went to the newsroom for the first time this morning and began learning all things regarding interviewing. Something that caught my eye that I wrote down during the lesson was to always take notes during an interview so you don’t ever have to rely on your recording. Zach said recorders are not always reliable 100 percent of the time. Plus, it takes a good deal of time to transcribe recordings.

Another thing that I took note of was to always be a gracious host when conducting interviews. We watched a video on Katie Couric, a well-known and respected reporter, discuss how she conducts the perfect interview. She said that she always tries to act warm and friendly when meeting her subject. However, Couric said she changes her tone and the way she speaks depending on who the subject is.

An early start …

I love to sleep. I know it sounds weird but I can literally sleep off and through anything. To switch to a schedule where I wake up at 5:00 in the morning every day is totally different than what I’m used to, however it definitely has its perks. No one’s up. I can shower, get dressed and do everything else with no interruptions. No arguments over the shower, no moving my bags over for sink space. At 5:00 it feels as if the whole floor is mine. The first day with the Greene Team I felt so bad, because I was struggling to keep my eyes open. My sleep schedule was so messed up, but now that my body seems to be adapting. I feel up and energized for the day.

Anyway, if I had to rate my time here at Stony Brook so far out of ten it would earn a solid 9.2. I’ve learned so much in just one day. It’s funny how you think you know so much about a topic, but when you actually sit and talk with media professionals you discover you really didn’t know that much after all. I’m looking forward to the days to come, especially Wednesday when we visit Newsday.