Yevgeniya Kopeleva

MY STORIES:Yevgeniya Kopeleva



THE CLASS: Life Learning Experience

Intermediate Reporting was more than just a class. It has been a life learning experience that I will forever remember.

The interviews and the long hours of perfecting my craft have not only taught me how to be a better journalist, but the experiences have also helped me grow as a person. 

All of the wonderful people I met and interviewed made me realize the importance of accepting others for who they are first. I have learned what it means to be a minority. I have discovered the adversity of inequality.

I truly respect and appreciate members and allies of the LGBT community, especially those who are fighting for social justice. 

I would like to thank my mentor, Professor Kimberley Mangun, for always being there.

I appreciate your dedication and perseverance to our class and your vision.  

Monday, October 15 | Intercollegiate Pride Dance

I wasn’t planning on attending the Intercollegiate Pride Dance, one of my best friends called and asked me to come. I was excited to dance the night away and to my surprise, I knew almost half of the people there. I was hoping to interact with students from other universities or colleges, but it seemed like most of the people who were there were from the U. I enjoyed mingling with friends and meeting others.

I think events like this definitely help and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. This also makes you realize what it feels like to be a minority. It’s something I don’t have to think about often, but it’s something the LGBT community faces every day.

Tuesday, October 16 | Media Essentials

Adam Bass, the Northwest Media Field Strategist from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) gave a presentation on the importance of the LGBT community in the media. I learned what preferred terms to use when writing articles, things to remember when thinking about your audience and how to write effective letters to the editor and opinion editorials. GLAAD, the third largest LBGT civil rights group in the U.S., seeks to find a common ground, localizes national stories, creates media conversations and strives to meet people where they are. 

I also learned the importance of taking action when an issue I am passionate about is being negatively portrayed. It’s great to know that there is an organization that creates awareness and educates individuals on how to appropriately depict the LGBT community in the media. 

The biggest and the most vital theme I learned from the presentation was finding and using personal stories.

Talk about stories to open hearts and minds!!!

Wednesday, October 17 | The Straight Ally: Putting the A in LGBTQ

When did you know you were straight?

I never question a person’s identity unless someone asks me about it or points it out. It’s not something I look for or seek to figure out. I respect the individual for who they are first.

This question was asked to the panel. A question that struck my understanding of who I am and how I identify myself. It is something that I never really thought about until one of my closest friends told me he was bisexual during our freshman year of college. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. I just had numerous questions for him as well as myself. I began to realize that not everyone is like me; not everyone is attracted to the opposite sex. Since then, my friend and I have become even closer.

I feel comfortable in asking or telling him anything. He has taught me to embrace differences and understand people where they are. I have learned to love people for who they are. I have discovered that the best thing one can do is to listen and be open, honest and empathetic. It’s truly about the unique personal stories.

I have realized how many things I take for granted. For the most part, everywhere I go, I feel safe. I don’t have to worry about getting a job or being criticized for my sexual orientation. Most people don’t take the time to think about what it means to identify as LGBT or the privileges that come with being straight. While many people don’t think about when they knew they were attracted to the opposite sex, numerous LGBT individuals are often asked when they came out or when they knew they were not straight.

Although I may never know what it feels like to be in my friend’s shoes, I strive to at least be educated on what LGBT means and be supportive.

Thursday, October 18 | Gay-la Dinner and Silent Auction

When my friend called and told me he had a free ticket for me to attend the Gay-la, I was elated! I wasn’t planning on attending due to the cost, but I was thrilled when he found a way to get me in.

The keynote speaker, Andrew Jolivette, was incredible and I wish I had a chance to listen to his presentation earlier today. I would love to hear his personal story!

It was great to see my colleagues and many U professionals supporting the LGBT community. I had the pleasure of sitting with representatives from the Office of Diversity and meeting Ed Buendia, the Director of the Ethnic Studies program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education, Culture and Society.

From Cathy Martinez’s welcome to the Salt City Kings, it was an amazing experience to be a part of such an essential event. I am thankful for the student initiative and numerous community and campus sponsors that made this event possible. 

Friday, October 19 | The Good Stuff: Art Gallery Reception and Fashion Show

I was looking forward to this event since Monday! I brought my digital camera and chose the best seat in the house: front row. John Spillman, a friend and the individual responsible for putting on the fashion show, introduced his unique clothing line. The show was split in two; the first part included 9 males modeling Spillman’s clothing to music while the second part involved the 9 models walking around the New Student Lounge with words painted on their bodies. These words (dirty, obscene, filthy, etc) expressed Spillman’s desire to create awareness of the importance of freedom of speech. It was a way to talk about the original Pride week posters and what they meant to him. Through words and artistic expression, he created a powerful message.

Thursday, November 15 | Debating Discrimination

I left the debate feeling frustrated.

I was speechless, yet I had so many things to say. 

I couldn’t believe how ignorant people were.

I wanted to cry.

I couldn’t imagine going to work and being afraid to be who I am.

I questioned why people didn’t understand the meaning of EQUALITY.

I wanted to know how long my close friends had to wait before they could have equal rights in the workplace. 

I wanted to cry.

The world would be a better place if people opened their hearts and minds.



My name is Yevgeniya Kopeleva and I am a junior at the University of Utah studying mass communication with an emphasis in news editorial. I never thought I would enjoy journalism until I took an Introduction to News Writing class last fall. It made me realize how difficult it is to write the ideal story and here I am, still striving to perfect my craft.

I love writing profiles because I am passionate about people and feel as though every individual has a story to tell. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in student affairs at a university and use the journalism skills I have gained to be a voice and advocate for the students.