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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

    Bodell: To those who believed in me

    Jacob Rice
    Mackenzie Bodell is the senior reporter for the Iowa State Daily.

    If there ever comes a time in my career where I find myself winning any sort of award, I know the two people I would thank within the first sentence. While the future is uncertain, and I have a long way to go, I think thanking them here will mean more while I have the chance. 

    I came to Iowa State as a theatre major, confused about what I wanted my life to look like. I didn’t make the friends I wanted my first year and felt very alone on such a big campus. I made it all the way through freshman year before deciding to enroll in a journalism class for the upcoming fall semester, just for an “easy” minor. 

    Spoiler: Journalism was, in fact, not an easy program. 

    Brenda Witherspoon taught my JL MC 201 class, reporting and writing for the mass media. I didn’t know too much about journalism, but I found myself really enjoying the class, even reading the textbook out of curiosity.

    Brenda is one of those professors who really pays attention to her students, and I firmly believe my 201 class still remains her favorite (ask her about it, she’ll tell you.)

    When I started to express interest in a journalism career, Brenda was there after every single class to answer every little question I had. She encouraged my writing and provided me with even more resources for when I exited her class that winter. She helped me make connections in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication that would continue to build more and more as the years went on. 

    Brenda is absolutely the reason I am where I am today. She is the reason I joined the Iowa State Daily and have been able to write as the senior reporter for the last two years. I would not have switched my major and changed my whole future (for the better) if it wasn’t for her guidance. 

    Thank you, Brenda. I will never forget your kindness or your passion. 

    The second person I would thank is Gary Sawyer, who met me in his JLMC 302 class, where I would not shut up. Gary’s class was one step above Brenda’s, and I was genuinely really excited to explore my new major. 

    Anyone who has ever taken one of Gary’s writing classes can vouch for his, for lack of a better word, strict grading. I was not great at AP style, which showed in my first few articles. However, with many assignments, I slowly got better at the little things. Gary received plenty of emails from me that semester (and would continue to receive more as the years went on.)

    During the second half of that semester, I worked with Gary and wrote two stories that I still use on job applications to this day. Gary answered every single one of my emails almost immediately, and the advice he gave me always worked. He sat with me in his office multiple times going back and forth about small things that really do matter when it comes to journalism. 

    Gary gave me a lot of his time, and he went above and beyond for my education. Every time I am in his class, I remember why I love journalism and why it is important. 

    Anyone would be lucky to have Gary as a professor. He has a wealth of knowledge to give and the effort he extends toward his students is so incredible.

    Thank you, Gary. Your classes were always my favorite and I will never forget the laughs. 

    Both Brenda and Gary are the reason I am getting to graduate and go do the things I’ve been dreaming about for years. Thank you both; you are phenomenal educators, and I am grateful for you both. 

    Thank you to the Iowa State Daily and all the friends I have made through my time writing. Being a student journalist has been my favorite part of college, and luckily, I get to keep doing it for, hopefully, a long time. 

    Congratulations to all of the seniors on their graduations, and good luck in the “real world.” Make it everything you dreamed it would be. 

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      Megan | May 1, 2024 at 9:55 pm

      Very nice & well written. You will go far for sure!