Michelle Paszek at the crossroads of STEM and journalism

By Jada Jackson
High School for Community Leadership

For Michelle Paszek, journalism is just one of her passions, along with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 

At first glance, these two fields seem like quite the odd pair. Yet, Michelle has found a way to intertwine her love of writing and STEM into journalism. 

At 14, the Kellenberg Memorial High School sophomore from Hicksville has already accomplished much. Michelle said her biggest accomplishments have been having two articles published in the Kidsday section of Newsday and becoming an editor for her high school newspaper. 

These accomplishments were the product of Michelle’s early interest in writing and active imagination. Michelle’s mother, Marzena Paszek, said, “Since elementary school, Michelle enjoyed writing poems and creating her own stories.”

Michelle added, “I always had a giant imagination and loved reading as a child. I was always changing the storylines and characters in my favorite works (because why not). That led me to take creative writing camps at local colleges. I later met my English teacher, Mrs. Villani, who encouraged me to join Early Bird [the middle school’s newspaper] and later continue on to Phoenix [her high school’s newspaper]. I also wrote for Kidsday and wrote some poetry.” 

It was a logical jump to the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists.

Michelle’s goals for the week with the Greene Team were clear. “I hope to gain a better/deeper understanding of the other aspects of journalism at this program,” she said. “I would like to use the experience gained from the Greene program to help me become a better editor for my school newspaper.” 

Michelle said that she does “plan on pursuing journalism after this program. I want to continue writing for my school’s newspaper throughout high school and later tie in STEM to journalism.” 

Although she loves writing, STEM is an even bigger passion for Michelle. In fact, her dream career is “being a robotic engineer at NASA.” Her mother also sees her “working for NASA programming robots and including more artificial intelligence in our daily lives. She may double-major in engineering and journalism to combine these two. She would like to write for a technical magazine in her spare time.” 

“In the future,” her mother said, “she will improve a lot of lives with some new discoveries and application of artificial intelligence. She has a curiosity about computer science and a big potential in any STEM field.” 

2 posts in 1 day

Day 4 of Greene: We ended really late, hence why I forgot to upload a blog post. It was hectic trying to get everything into place, so Friday would be easier for us. We got most done but I do want to mention that the speaker today was amazing. She was so inspiring.

Pushing through the tiredness

The first day of Greene week is over and I was not prepared to wake up earlier than 11am. Usually I wake up at 10 but my brain doesn’t turn on ’til about 1 pm!

I did however enjoy the speaker, Stephanie Brumsey. She was funny, charismatic, and so inspiring. Honestly the highlight of my day. The rest of the day went smoothly, but I was half sleep so that sucked. Once I had finished my work for the day I passed out. I also really enjoyed meeting my group. I can’t wait to work with them!

Mid-way through Greene

Day 3 today and boy, was I nervous. OK so first off, waking up early (at 9 am) wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. 🙂 I wish my nerves got that memo, though, because I was so anxious. I only own graphic tees, and newsflash (see what I did there) you can’t wear a graphic tee when delivering the news. Then I remembered I bought this white top like a month ago and it worked. So then I log on, scared —because I don’t mind public speaking, I actually really like it, but talking on Zoom is a completely different thing. Plus we’re all getting told how to put our camera. (btw I freaked out before because I realized, I read the script but I didn’t MEMORIZE it). Luckily I just pulled it up on my laptop.

After doing a couple of takes of the broadcast I concluded that broadcast journalism isn’t for me. It was fun, but maybe because I was nervous or because the audio wasn’t so great but let me tell you I DESPISE MY VOICE. Well, at least I know what my niche won’t be. This was a fun thing to say I did though.

After that, my team and I were scrambling to get people to interview because the people we emailed just weren’t getting us anywhere. Luckily, at the end of the day we managed to get some replies and one of my team members even pulled together and got an interview 🥳. Now we are just waiting to hear back from more people. Interviewing is my favorite part of journalism and I can’t wait to do it. I am SO excited.

Thinking about my niche

Once again, I have still managed to be deathly tired. Luckily, we were learning about how to properly shoot, which kept me up because I have no idea how to take pictures.

I mean, I can’t even take mirror selfies that I like! I learned a lot, and I can’t wait to actually shoot stuff using all the tips (the Google Doc with my notes from today is almost three pages). I also managed to memorize the mantra. Basically the types of shots (wide, medium, tight, extra tight, action, and reaction) 😎. Yep, I’m basically a natural.

Our first speaker today made me really think about what I want my niche to be, I really like politics but I’ve somehow realized that I have a love of feature writing! Who knows, maybe I will combine those to make a perfect niche. Anyways, my group is literally so amazing and sweet. Shoutout to my team coordinator, Ms. Cathrine Duffy! She really made me feel less nervous about sending an email to get an interview. As you can see, I suck at being formal🧍🏿.

OK, I’m going to go because I have to be up before 9 and, honestly, I’m definitely going to need some caffeine tomorrow!