News Engagement Day: Why I do what I do


Photo courtesy of Annelise Wells

“CALS in Uganda” was my first centerpiece for the Iowa State Daily.

Annelise Wells

I am one of many Iowa State students from the “outside of Chicago.”

So when I was thrown into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences beat at the Iowa State Daily my freshman year, I was more nervous than anything else. Being from a large suburb, I knew close to nothing about agriculture and was diving headfirst into a world of scientific terms and one of the biggest colleges on campus.

My editor helped me through the first few weeks and although I was still nervous, I started becoming more excited about each piece I wrote. I previously was co-editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, but writing for a college publication was still extremely intimidating to me.

For my first cover story, I interviewed David Acker, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, global resources systems, about the CALS program they offer in Uganda.

As I interviewed him, his eyes lit up as he raved about the new training center they were building. I saw his soft smile as he pointed to photos of Iowa State students working with Ugandan students that were on the walls of his office.

I remember walking out of that interview, reporter’s notebook in hand, thinking, “This is why I do what I do.”

As a journalist, I get to hear stories that people may not have told anyone before, and I gain a different perspective every time I walk out of an interview.

This year, I am serving as the news editor of academics. I learn something new every day about Iowa State as I talk with students and administrators. It’s been an adjustment, but seeing the work of my reporters as they learn and grow has been my favorite part of the job so far.

So it’s thanks to CALS, my wonderful co-workers, and the stories that every one of you has to share that keeps me writing. So please, keep reading the news, interacting with journalists and supporting student media. It’s more important now than ever.