Help me fund my trip to Jerusalem, Israel, where I'll get to work alongside professional journalists who have reported extensively on the Middle East; this is my passion. Where do I see myself in 5 years? In Jordan - or somewhere nearby.
As a junior in college focusing on a career in journalism, I've risen to become editor-in-chief of my college's newspaper; I'm currently pursuing internship opportunities with the Philadelphia Inquirer and, possibly, the Christian Science Monitor.
I've developed a genuine passion for the Middle East, as is showcased in some of my relevant coverage: the al-Qaeda attack in Benghazi; the experiences of a colleague of mine, who is a 22-year-old Iraqi refugee; the need for federally-funded international development assistance, especially in areas like the Middle East and North Africa which are facing not only a torrent of debilitating drone strikes, but also governmental, societal and economic instability.
After I graduate college, I plan to join the Peace Corps and, ideally, to serve in Jordan, the only country in the Middle East which the Peace Corps presently operates. My dream is to work toward developing a community in Jordan through my practical skills in journalism, perhaps even starting up a community newspaper.
I consider myself a self-starter. The dynamic, competitive world of journalism is my playing field. Help me navigate it.
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The picture I chose for this campaign is emblematic of a turning point in my life - and my young professional career.
For my spring break in 2012, I traveled to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, as part of a service-based immersion trip. This was my first international experience, and my first taste of real America.
Did you know that Latin Americans consider themselves Americans? We're, by their terms, "North Americans." Which makes sense - and was a humbling, and eye-opening, experience into the world of Guatemala.
Simply put: My first international experience wasn't in London; it wasn't in Paris, or Berlin, nor Cancun or Montreal. It was in a third-world country - and I paid to go, instead of paying to spend my spring break relaxing on a beach.
This is what sets me apart from many on here. I am motivated, and I don't have my heart set on a life of luxury, nor one of 100% guaranteed safety or comfort. I constantly step outside of my comfort zone, outside of that which I know - and know well - and I go after my dreams.
That's the significance of this photo, taken in Guatemala the day I helped assemble a wood-burning stove for a family of indigenous Mayans.