Julie Ham: Prolific Writer, Passionate Journalist

By Shruti Vadada
Herricks High School

Julie Ham has always had a profound interest in writing.

Although the rising senior at East Brunswick High School in New Jersey loves math, playing the piano and violin, baking, and coding, her passion for reading and writing has always stood out. 

“I first saw Julie’s interest in journalism shine in freshman year English class, when I was able to see Julie take command and let her skills strike out,” said Mary Farag, one of Julie’s closest friends.

Julie has been a writer for her school newspaper, The Clarion, since her sophomore year and works on movie reviews, screenplays, and short stories. “My work in the school newspaper is exhilarating,” she said. “I learned to write cohesively, structure articles, and properly interview people.” 

Julie especially has a passion for expressing her opinion through deep analyses after watching films and reading books. “My favorite movie, ‘Sing Street,’ is beyond its time, and the novel ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ was an eye-opening experience and also my first encounter with philosophy,” she said.

Aside from literature and film, Julie said she is a big fan of The New Yorker. “I find it fascinating how intellectuals can write ten-page pieces on one subject,” she said. She also loves to read The New York Times to keep up with current events.

David Ham, Julie’s father, relayed how she, “has always had a curious mind, and when pursuing the truth, she would not stop until satisfied with her discoveries. Julie is always eager to try different challenges and expand her boundaries.” 

Her father and other loved ones have always motivated her to work hard and follow her dreams. Julie’s friends and her history teacher, Mark Granito, encourage her writing and offer constructive criticism. “Growing up, my grandparents consistently instilled a hardworking and motivated mindset in me,” she said. Another important role model, she said, was Daniel Pearl, former South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, who died while pursuing his craft.

Along with these personal motivations, a big turning point in Julie’s journalistic path was being accepted as an intern at The Stanford Daily, the student-run newspaper at Stanford University. During this internship, which started at the end of June and runs through August, she has been writing movie reviews, satirical pieces, and feature stories on subjects such as dormitory resident assistants.

“It’s an experience that pushes me to pursue journalism and thrusts me out of my comfort zone,” Julie said.

While looking for additional summer opportunities on Google, she came across the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. “With the help of this program, I can refine my skills, hone in on improvements I can make, and get a glimpse of working in the field of journalism,” Julie said.

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