Today we are continuing to profile notible Seelonians with International Journalist Extrarodinaire, Boston University Senior Jennifer Guay!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself, what sparked your interest in journalism?
My name is Jennifer Guay, and I’m originally from Montreal, Canada, but currently live in Boston. I’m a senior studying journalism and political science at Boston University, and am just finishing up an internship in the politics unit of NBC’s Boston affiliate, WHDH. Next semester, I’ll be working as a correspondent for USA TODAY College, and hopefully taking on another internship (I’m currently in the interview process), as well as frantically applying for post-grad jobs. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and all of the classes I’ve taken, activities I’ve participated in, and internships I’ve had have only reinforced that decision. I’m drawn to the fast-paced, spontaneous nature of the industry, and I love the notion that as a journalist, I could help keep the public educated and well-informed.
Q: I see you’ve had some experience writing for international magazines/newspapers, specifically in the Czech Republic and Ireland — how did you find these opportunities? What did you learn from them?
I’ve been fortunate enough to study abroad twice throughout my college career. At Boston University, most students go abroad their second semester junior year, but I didn’t want to wait that long to live in Europe. I began researching external programs sophomore year, and found a fantastic study abroad trip through University Studies Abroad Consortium. Before I went to Prague, I applied for internships at every English publication I could find. Most didn’t even know what the concept of an internship was–until I found The New Presence, a political affairs journal focused on Central Europe. The editor happened to be an American ex-pat and hired me without even meeting me, and I’m so grateful! I think that sometimes when American students go abroad together, they don’t make an effort to break out of their circle of friends and immerse themselves in the country’s culture.
Working at The New Presence was a way for me to meet Czechs and learn about their history and customs in a way I never would have in a classroom. I went to art exhibits protesting the status quo, lectures on Russian politics and economics, and hidden gay bars to interview men and women who felt marginalized in Czech society. It’s one of the most edifying internship experiences I’ve ever had. Last semester, I went to Dublin through Boston University’s study abroad program. I was lucky enough to get an internship at Hot Press Magazine, which is essentially Ireland’s answer to Rolling Stone. It was another wonderful experience that taught me a lot about conducting interviews under pressure and writing about all varieties of music.
Q: Looking at your work (on your Seelio and website), I see that you write about a wide variety of topics, from house music to cultural & international studies. How do you choose topics to write about?
I generally haven’t had much of a choice when it comes to the subjects I’ve written about. The Bloody Beetroots story was assigned to me, as were all the music-related stories I’ve written. I wrote “Everyone’s a critic,” a story about the effect of online review websites on small business, for a Business & Economics journalism class I took last year and submitted the story to a local paper for publication. The story featured in The New Presence was inspired by an American study I read about while in Prague. It found that although Prague seems very open to promoting gay rights, Czechs are actually among the least tolerant of homosexuality in the world. I thought the story was fascinating; at the time, I had been living in Prague for a month or so, and had noticed that the Czech people live a life of quiet stoicism. To me, the effects of communism (which was only toppled in 1989) still seemed so ingrained in society, and the story only punctuated that idea. I pitched an in-depth story on the study’s findings to my editor, and she was kind enough to let me write the feature. I enjoy focusing on a wide range of subject matter, because I think that no quality is more important in a journalist than a broad perspective, but ‘The myth of Czech tolerance’ is the type of writing I’d like to do in the long run.
Q: Dream job?
My dream job would be working at a publication like The New Yorker, where writers are allotted enough time to craft exceptional, thorough stories. I’d also love to work at a large-scale news organization like CNN, and get a taste of working under the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle.
Q: How did you hear about Seelio?
Over the summer, I worked at an office that houses a lot of tech-oriented companies, and I heard someone mention Seelio as a new way to present your work and resume online. I was immediately intrigued.
Q: How is showcasing your work on Seelio different than on other platforms or on a traditional resume?
Seelio is an excellent tool for visual-oriented people who would prefer that the work they do represent them, rather than relying on a standard, one-size-fits-all resume to sum up what they can offer an employer. Our generation’s work experience doesn’t necessarily fit into the single page, black-and-white resume convention anymore, so Seelio is a great tool for people working in media, design, the arts, technology, etc. to showcase what they’re proud of.
Q: What work on your Seelio are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my story published in The New Presence–in case you couldn’t already tell! Just a few days ago, I received an e-mail from a man seeking for help for his Czech friend, a professional sports figure pursuing asylum in the United States. He has a small public following, and no longer feels comfortable being openly gay in the Czech Republic. In the e-mail, his friend asked for my help to provide research corroborating his case. It’s a great feeling to know you can help someone out with your writing – even in a small way!
Q: How do you hope Seelio can help you in the future?
I hope that Seelio continues to attract employers, and that they continue to post more job opportunities on the site. I think that Seelio has the potential to grow and become an optimized version of Linkedin, where employers and potential employees can interact more authentically: when you upload examples of work you’ve done, an employer knows what he or she is getting. Resumes can be exaggerated and enhanced, but the work you post transparently reflects who you are and what you are capable of doing.
Q: If you could tell every student at your university about Seelio, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that I think Seelio is a fantastic new way to showcase yourself to employers for all the aforementioned reasons, and that they should give it a try!