Erika working at TKS. #


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Erika Riley '19

Stony Brook, New York

Major in Creative Writing, Minor in Journalism

Erika used her Mellon Fellowship to fund her internship in Manhattan, where she was an editorial intern for New York Spaces.

Erika working at TKS.

What are you doing as a Mellon Scholar?

I'm using the funding to intern in Manhattan this summer. I'm working as an editorial intern for New York Spaces, which is an interior design magazine. I'm mainly writing web content for their new magazine Exuberance, which focuses on the New York LGBTQ+ community in terms of art, design, lifestyle, events, etc. I'm also volunteering on one of my days off at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, which is the storefront for 826NYC. 826 provides free tutoring and workshops for New York City students, and everything sold in the store (which has some awesome gadgets and a super cool cape tester complete with fans and spotlights) benefits the nonprofit.

How do you think this will influence your future?

When thinking about what I want to do in the future, I've always been in between publishing and journalism, so I figured magazines would be a good in-between to try out. The writing style for magazines is very different from news writing, and the focus is still mainly on print for a lot of magazines. Writing about products and events is very different from writing news, and there was definitely a learning curve involved. I think that I'd like to do more arts and entertainment writing in the future, and this is helping me gain experience in that. On the other hand, I'm also really starting to miss writing news, so that's pretty telling!

What's the most important thing you've learned at Knox outside the classroom?

I think the most important thing I've learned is to do things I'm afraid of and get outside my comfort zone. This winter, I traveled to D.C. to attend the Women's March and cover it for The Knox Student, and had to work through a lot of nervousness and uncertainty for the sake of the paper, and ended up having such a great experience. I've constantly been inspired by my editors at TKS, who go above and beyond at their jobs at TKS or at internships across the country. Hearing about one of my editor's experiences abroad inspired me to apply to a journalism program in Morocco for next spring. It makes me more nervous than staying in Galesburg all year would be, but at Knox I've learned I have to push myself to grow.

What surprised you about Knox?

How much is going on on this campus. Because it is small, I think we're more aware of what's going on, since it's possible to have friends from all corners of campus. I'm always really inspired by how hard Knox students work and how much passion they have, and they always make me want to do more.

What activities do you participate in on campus and how have they influenced your experience?

I'm currently the editor-in-chief of The Knox Student, which has helped me grow the most out of anything I've done at Knox. Working tirelessly with such great people who all care deeply about journalism and Knox has been a hugely rewarding experience. Even when things are stressful, I love my job and have learned so much about journalism from it. The people on quiz bowl quickly became some of my best friends, and some of my fondest memories from Knox are driving all over the Midwest for tournaments with them in the way-too-early morning. Both groups have become like families to me, and I can't imagine life at Knox without them.

Erika Riley '19, a Mellon Scholar, is the editor-in-chief of The Knox Student and a member of Knox's Quiz Bowl team.

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Printed on Monday, March 19, 2018