A strong returning Rocket staff has the new Editor-in-Chief (EIC) excited for the 2015-16 academic year.
Janelle Wilson, communication-journalism major from Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, was hired as the 2015-2016 EIC of The Rocket and previously served as the Assistant Campus Life Editor. She plans to bring a new modern format to The Rocket.
“I am going to try and bring a BuzzFeed style segment that will include things like quizzes and stories labeled ’10 reasons why,'” Wilson said. “I think students are use to reading and digesting information in this fashion and if we promote it through social media I think we can reach more students than we have in prior years.”
Wilson expects the seven returning members to have just as strong of a commitment as they did when they came into their positions last year. Previous Editor-in-Chief, Kevin Squires, a senior Biology major from West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, believes the new staff is on track to help The Rocket flourish, especially with the creation of a copy/web position.
“The number one thing that stood out to me about Janelle was that she always stuck around and asked if anyone needed help,” Squires said. “Having that willingness to see things go through and a commitment to learn will help the staff as a whole grow.”
Returning members to The Rocket include junior Haley Barnes, a communication-journalism major from South Fayette, Pennsylvania as News Editor, junior Amber Cannon, a communication major from Sharon, Pennsylvania as Campus Life Editor, sophomore Rebecca Dietrich, a communication-digital media production major from Plum, Pennsylvania as Photo Editor, sophomore Ryan Barlow, a communication-public relations major Girard, Pennsylvania as Sports Editor, senior Karleigh Santry, a communication-emerging technology and journalism major from Girard, Pennsylvania as Advertising Manager, and senior Shelby Stearns, a middle level English education major from Bay Village, Ohio as Copy/Web Editor.
The new staffers consist of junior Christopher Gordon, a communication-public relations major from Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania as Assistant News Editor, sophomore Cody Nespor, a communication – digital media production major from Mercer, Pennsylvania as Assistant Sports Editor, sophomore Emma Pfeifer, a communication-public relations and dance major from North Huntington, Pennsylvania as Assistant Campus Life Editor, and freshman Victoria Davis, a secondary English education major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as Assistant Copy/Web Editor.
Squires brought the ‘It’s Rocket Science’ column to The Rocket this year that won an honorable mention-column or commentary award. The Rocket received 46 total awards this year for website, stories, graphics, photos, layout and design.
“I saw the awards as a great achievement for The Rocket this year, especially with so many new staff members,” Squires said. “They represented a diverse range of different strengths.”
Squires will be attending graduate school in the fall at Ohio State University for molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Ohio State University. He doesn’t plan to do more writing, he didn’t even plan to join The Rocket, but he hopes to possibly write for a science magazine or journal and do reporting on science news in the future.
“I think that writing is a skill that everyone needs at some point and every point in their life,” Squires said. “The strengths and skills I gained from The Rocket are things that have helped me in everyday situations.”
Wilson hopes her staff will feel comfortable bringing new ideas and contributing with 100 percent effort.
“I am hoping they bring as much enthusiasm to the positions as I did when I was an assistant because holding a smaller position doesn’t mean you can’t step up and bring your ideas forward,” Wilson said.
She believes the addition of new hires will bring a lot of energy to The Rocket that they wouldn’t normally have had.
“A good thing about The Rocket is that it doesn’t draw people who aren’t committed,” Wilson said. “I’m excited for next year and I think that all of the returning staff will continue their capability and we will get fresh ideas from the new staff as well.”