ASST. HEAD COPY EDITOR
Heads spin when fourth-year English major Jennifer Merino lists off the many roles she has filled here at Whittier College. “I’ve been the Opinions Editor, the Media Council Representative, a KPOET DJ, a VPS writer, a Library Student Assistant, emotional support for WCSN, and, most recently, an Athenian,” said Merino. Merino feels that her involvement has been the highlight of her education here at the College. “By offering so many different venues of experience,” said Merino, “Whittier has really prepared me for the future.”
Just like at the College, Merino has been a part of a few places around California. “It’s really complicated. I guess I have two hometowns,” she said. “I grew up in mid-city Los Angeles and then moved to Hacienda Heights.” She said that it was the friendly feel of the campus that brought her to Whittier. “I feel like the Whittier community is really accepting, loving, and caring of one another,” said Merino. “I’ll definitely miss that. I always had someone to study with and to help when I needed it.”
It seems that one of the best places to find that sense of community and helpfulness for Merino was in the Quaker Campus office. The QC was where Merino spent many long production nights, but she says that was what made it so worth it. “I’m going to miss production nights, for sure. Especially at that one point at 2 a.m., when everyone is tired and delirious — those are the moments I’m going to miss,” said Merino. The welcoming atmosphere of the QC really made it worth the while. “It’s a combination of both the people who you write a newspaper with, who become your really cool friends and stay up late on Wednesday nights with you,” said Merino, “and the learning, too, because there’s this environment where, when you’re lost, you’re guided.”
Merino cited her time as Opinions Editor as being her most gratifying experience on campus. “The first week of the Spring semester, I pumped out my first opinions layout and exported all on my own. That was the most gratifying thing, but it was also a lot of work. I really needed help.” Luckily, Merino got that help from third-year Co-Opinions Editor Maggie Harvey. “I was really happy that our then-cartoonist and now-Co-Opinions Editor took an interest in the Opinions section. She was a blessing, for sure. I was also eager to hear that one of my fellow sisters (fourth-year Hannah Martin) took an interest in the Opinions page and wanted to learn more about journalism. She came on as Assistant Opinions Editor in February, around the same time that Maggie became Co-Editor. They both really blessed me.”
Now, Merino is looking into her future, though things still are not completely set-in-stone. After graduation, Merino said, “I’ll just be watching The Handmaid’s Tale season two — just kidding, I’m going on the May Term trip with the amazing [Professor of English and Philosophy] Wendy Furman-Adams and the equally amazing [Professor of Philosophy] David Hunt. We’ll be visiting both Italy and Greece, which is exciting. After that, I don’t have anything secure. I’m just applying to a bunch of different places with the hopes of working in the gaming industry.”
A lifetime of gameplay and an English major with a Creative Writing emphasis has prepared Merino for a career in the gaming industry. “I’ve always played video games, as far as I can remember,” said Merino. “I love the concept of world-building — the whole creating something out of nothing. That really draws me in.” She is hoping to bring her ideas to life through the storytelling aspect of video games. For now, though, finishing up her last few essays is her main objective.
Fourth-year Hannah Martin will soon leave Whittier College, but not without making a difference for every student as an Associated Students of Whittier College senator. Besides her work as a senator, she has also been a member of the Athenian Society and founded the Women’s Leadership Association.
Martin enrolled at Whittier College without knowing that a liberal arts education would lead her to change her original major and find her passion for political science. “Whittier has been exactly what I needed,” said Martin. Martin’s original major was Biology and she was on track to go to medical school, but after several internships in healthcare, she decided it was not for her.
The most important thing to Martin is helping people. “Politics makes me feel like I could be closer to people and help them,” said Martin. “[I want to] find that connection of politics to people and try to see where the change comes from, to help people create more of a world that people want to live in through politics.”
Besides interning for John Chiang’s governor campaign, Martin has had valuable experiences in student senate that has influenced her during her time at Whittier. She served as Residential Hall Representative her second year and as Secretary on the Executive Cabinet her fourth year. “That has had an immense impact on my time here,” said Martin “I think [Senate is] the biggest thing that has contributed to my perspective of leadership and what that looks like for different people … I’ve learned a lot about myself and who I am in leadership roles.”
Martin is passionate about empowering women and exemplified that passion by founding the Women’s Leadership Association, as well as advocate for a gender equity center on campus. The idea for a gender equity center on campus came to Martin when she travelled to South Africa for a JanTerm class with Assistant Professor of Political Science Sara Angevine. “The conversations we had there were so inspiring about the importance of space,” said Martin. “The [equity center] will be intersectional and inclusive.”
The Athenian Society has also been an integral part of Martin’s experience at Whittier College, and she said the organization is what keeps her going. “I think being surrounded by empowering women has really been the biggest contributor to what shaped my experience here,” said Martin. “If I didn’t have that strong group of women to keep me grounded at all times, I don’t know where I’d be at Whittier. That has absolutely been the thing that has kept me going.”
In her final year at Whittier, Martin decided to join the Quaker Campus as Assistant Opinions Editor to learn more about the ins and outs of journalism after taking a journalism class with Assistant Professor of Journalism and New Media Joe Donnelly. “This is the written proof of what’s happened here and how do we create that archive? There’s factual things, but journalism is also more about the experience of it,” said Martin. “[I was] interested in how that written record of experience could bring about change.”
Martin has been fortunate to have had many professors in both the Biology and Political Science Departments that have supported her. Fletcher Jones Foundation, Professor of Molecular Genetics David Bourgaize, Associate Professor of Biology Erica Fradinger, Assistant Professor of Political Science Sara Angevine, and Professor of Political Science Mike McBride are just a few that Martin named as some of her mentors.
She will also miss the friends that have influenced her during her Whittier experience. “The friendships I’ve had have helped me support myself personally,” said Martin. Her friendships are the reason she’s sought out so many opportunities during her time at Whittier.
One of the things Martin will miss most about Whittier is the community. “I’ll miss the community the most,” said Martin. “No matter what happens at Whittier, there is always someone standing next to you.”