For those of you who don’t know me personally, I wanted to take the time to share what led me to the San Francisco Bay Area. This means telling you about my job.
I have the privilege of spending my 9-to-5 hours during the week at Stanford University, where I work as a writer in the Office of University Communications.
Working at any university is enlightening. But working at a university like Stanford is like sitting in the front row of a parade of revolutionary, transformative changes.
And I don’t just get to watch. I get to talk to the Stanford’s faculty and students who pioneer those changes and write about them and their work. It’s truly the best part my job.
Over the past several months, I’ve gotten to write about some very cool stuff. Here are a few of my stories:
- The day after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, I wrote a story after talking to several Stanford experts about the political divide in the U.S. and their views on what it may mean for the country’s future.
- A new interactive Stanford website launched to provide access to previously unexamined data on federal programs that aid local governments in the American West. These programs were created because the federal government owns like 47 percent of land in 11 Western U.S. states. Over 80 percent of Nevada’s land belongs to the U.S. government. That’s something an East Coast-Midwestern girl like me had no idea about.
- A group of students recreated a 5,000-year-old beer based on a recipe discovered by their professor earlier this year. This story was picked up by NPR’s “All Things Considered” after I wrote about it. Let me emphasize that a bit more — yes, I fangirled, and yes, I am a nerd.
I also get to be a witness to and a recorder of pretty epic events.
When our office found out that Nobel Prize-winning Stanford economist Kenneth Arrow died last week, I had the honor and the challenge of writing an obituary about his life and accomplishments.
And when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to campus in early February, I got to be in the crowd. I was a bit awestruck and tried my best to remember and hear every word said by this inspiring, 83-year-old woman, who stepped onto the stage of Memorial Church in heels. So badass.
“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community, something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you,” Ginsburg said during her speech. “That’s what I think a meaningful life is — one lived not just for oneself but for one’s community.”
Anyway, it’s been great to have the opportunity to learn and write about a slew of different humanities and social science-related subjects. I almost feel like I am a student at Stanford in a way; but instead of stressing out about exams or tests, I write stories after learning something interesting and cool.
People on campus definitely take me for a student wherever I go. That lady at the cash register at the food court I frequent during lunch will probably keep asking me if I have a student ID card for a while…
But all of this is a privilege I am grateful for.